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What type of policy you need to protect your vacation home depends on how often you’re there and how you use it. But no matter how you use your home, it’ll generally cost more to insure a second house than it does to insure a primary residence.
Depending on your insurer, you may be able to add coverage for your second home onto your homeowners insurance policy for your first home or you may need to take out a second policy. Contact your insurance agent to find out if your current policy lets you add on coverage for a second home.
Keep in mind that most standard home insurance policies don’t cover homes that are unoccupied for more than a certain length of time — usually around 30 to 90 days. So it’s important to be up front with your insurer about how often you visit your vacation home and how much time you spend there in order to create a policy that fully covers the home.
You’ll also be expected to keep your vacation home maintained even when you aren’t visiting. You can do this by having the lawn mowed, collecting or forwarding the mail and checking in on the home regularly.
If you rent your home out on Airbnb a couple of times a year or occasionally let friends use it when you aren’t there, you may already be covered by a standard home insurance policy.
But each insurer has different guidelines for how often you can rent out your home, if at all, before you need a special insurance policy. So if you plan to rent your home out occasionally, talk with your insurer to find out how it will affect your coverage.
A typical homeowners insurance policy won’t cover you if you regularly rent out your vacation home. This includes long-term or short-term rentals. Instead, you’ll need to take out a landlord insurance policy or a specialized short-term rental insurance policy to be effectively covered.
Think of these insurance types as extensions to your standard home insurance policy. They can offer coverage for:
Keep in mind that the coverage offered by landlord and short-term rental policies varies from insurer to insurer. When getting quotes, compare what each insurer and policy covers.
As Airbnb gets more and more popular, major insurers are beginning to offer specialized insurance for short-term rentals. Popular options include:
Landlord insurance policies are often designed for professional use by full-time landlords and vacation home managers, but can also used by people renting out their homes part-time.
Compared to short-term rental coverage, these policies will often have higher limits. For example, a short-term rental policy might only cover up to 12 weeks of lost earnings if your rental property is uninhabitable. A landlord insurance policy might cover up to 52 weeks, though specifics will vary by insurer.
If you’ll be renting out your property for extended periods, landlord insurance is often preferable to short-term rental coverage.
Short-term rentals are incredibly popular, and sites that facilitate them usually offer some level of coverage for hosts. But you’ll still want to tell your home insurer before you rent out your vacation home to avoid coverage gaps.
How you insure your vacation home depends on how often you’re there and how you use it. To make sure you’re fully covered, be up front and honest with your insurer about how you use your home. And to get the best deal, compare home insurers to find a policy that fits your needs.
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