The whole point of a second home, be it a summer vacation retreat or a winter snow-birding destination, is to provide an escape from day-to-day worries, a place to recharge and have fun. But, of course, owning property is never all fun and games. And, when it comes to protecting your investment, seasonal homes can pose unique challenges. Challenges you’ll want to address through some careful insurance choices.
What’s Different About Insuring a Second Home?
You’ll need a separate homeowners policy for your seasonal home, and it might look a little different from your primary homeowners policy. Here are three reasons why:
Coverage: Different carriers cover second homes in different ways. Some offer the same broad coverage as a primary home policy – be sure to note any exclusions your policy outlines. Others cover second homes on a “named perils” basis, under which the home is covered only for events such as lightning damage, an explosion, theft or smoke damage that are specifically called out in the policy. The type of policy you want may impact the carrier you choose.
Occupancy: By definition, your second home is likely to be unoccupied for much of the year. That could mean an increased risk of burglary, and no one around to report it. Same with the threat of fires or leaks.
Location: The very thing that makes your getaway spot so appealing can also make it a bigger risk. Waterfront sites could be susceptible to flood damage, for example. Isolated, rural spots could be hard for police or fire agencies to reach in case of an emergency.
Issues like these will impact how much you pay to insure a second home, as well as the type of coverage your carrier is willing to provide. Plus, there are additional insurance considerations for your vacation home:
Personal Property: You’re certain to keep your vacation home stocked with a few necessities, whether sun loungers or snowboards, to help you enjoy your stay. And, you'll certainly want to cover as much of it as possible under your vacation home policy. So, create a separate home inventory for your second home and update it as you add new belongings. Knowing the value of your things helps you select an appropriate level of personal property coverage on your policy.
Flood Insurance: If the home is near the water, you’ll want to look into a flood insurance policy. Standard homeowners policies do not cover flood damage.
Umbrella Coverage: Umbrella policies give you extended liability coverage for a relatively low cost. This can be one of the most economical ways to guard against unforeseen expenses, such as a lawsuit resulting from an injury on your property. And, one umbrella policy could cover you at your primary home, your secondary home and wherever you may go.
Remodels: Is your getaway home a work in progress? Do you plan to add a pool or a new fence? With each change, be sure to check in with your insurance agent to help ensure your policy is keeping pace with your property.
Discounts: Features such as burglar alarms and sprinkler systems do more than help keep your home secure. They may help you save on your seasonal home insurance policy. You many find other ways to save, too, such as choosing a higher deductible or paying your entire premium at once.
Home Sharing: Making your seasonal home available to renters is an attractive way to generate some extra income while you’re not using it. However, your insurance carrier may not cover damage caused while the home is rented out. Before you list your vacation home for rent, be sure you understand whether or not you’re covered and purchase additional coverage, as needed.
Many of us aspire to own a vacation home. If you’re thinking about taking that step, or you already have, be sure to talk through your insurance options with an independent insurance agent. Then take some quality time to enjoy your seasonal home. You deserve it!
From our offices in Weatherford, Texas, we serve clients anywhere in the State of Texas, though the following areas are geographically closest to us: the counties of Dallas, Tarrant, Denton, Wise, Johnson, Parker and Hood and the cities of Arlington, Bedford, Brock, Burleson, Cleburne, Colleyville, Coppell, Dallas, Decatur, Euless, Fort Worth, Frisco, Granbury, Grapevine, Hurst, Keller, Mansfield, Millsap, Mineral Wells, North Richland Hills, Southlake, Watauga, Weatherford, and White Settlement.