How to Adequately Protect a Vacant Home

vacant home

Do you insure clients who own properties that are currently unoccupied and might technically be considered vacant homes? If so, your client may need to take additional steps to protect the security of the property. Unfortunately, vacant homes can be a target for vandalism and theft, but taking proper precautions can help prevent those situations. Here’s how your client can adequately protect the vacant home even if they don’t plan to return and reside there.

Keep Up With Consistent Maintenance Even If the Home Is Not Currently in Use

Even when a home is not in use by its owner, the owner still has an obligation to make sure it’s properly maintained. Encourage your clients to keep up with consistent maintenance regularly. For example, they could:

  • Consider hiring a cleaning crew to go through and clean the home regularly for basic maintenance
  • Ensure the lawn is mowed and the exterior is properly cared for (i.e., regular weeding, power-washing, etc.)
  • Carry out any necessary repairs, such as replacing roof tiles or fixing broken doorknobs, in a timely manner
  • Check that all fire alarms and smoke alarms are working properly
  • Monitor the home regularly for weather-related damage, pipe leaks, and similar issues

Ensure the Structure Meets Local Regulatory Standards for Plumbing, Fire Prevention, and More

Another important piece in keeping a property safe while vacant is ensuring that the structure is still up to code. Have your clients check local regulatory standards for reference. Encourage them to:

  • Have regular home inspections conducted to check for potentially hazardous materials
  • Ensure the property is free of debris that could become a fire hazard, including stray cardboard, papers, and other combustible materials
  • Drain the plumbing before the period of vacancy
  • Ensure that the home is somewhat heated during cold waves to avoid burst pipes

Secure Thorough Insurance and Consider Installing Security Measures

As an insurance agent, you’re in an ideal position to walk your clients through the importance of finding the right coverage. For vacant homes, specialized insurance and added security measures can potentially make a world of difference. Your clients should:

  • Look for vacant home insurance that offers theft coverage, vandalism coverage, coverage in the event of certain natural disasters, and more
  • Avoid putting up “For Sale” or “Vacant” signs in the yard to keep potential criminals away from the property
  • Consider installing security cameras both inside the home and around the outside
  • Consider setting up an alarm system that automatically alerts the owner and/or calls the police if an intruder breaks into the property

Securing and protecting a vacant home is a serious matter, since vacant properties are often highly vulnerable to theft, vandalism, and other criminal activity. If you have insurance clients who own properties that are currently vacant, you can work through this list of basics with them to help them adequately safeguard the vacant home.

About Cochrane and Company

For more than six decades, Cochrane & Company has been proudly at the forefront of the insurance industry. Our experience has enabled us to innovate in powerful ways, reimagining the E&S market, and providing technology solutions that make it easy to do business with us. Licensed in all 50 states, we proudly serve clients across the nation, providing personalized and powerful solutions to help you become an even better partner for your clients. Speak to one of our experienced professionals today by calling (855) 967-0069.


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