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Homeowner's insurance and umbrella on occasional-use second home
Old 11-16-2016, 02:37 PM   #1
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Homeowner's insurance and umbrella on occasional-use second home

Hi all, we are likely to buy a second home in a warmer area to winter in. No plans to rent it out at this time. Are there any gotchas in terms of home owner's insurance if the place may sit empty for as much as 75% of the year? Is one able to get multiline discounts across different states?

How about umbrella policies? Clarification: I was asking about issues with umbrella policies, especially in situations where the second home is or has to be insured with a company other than the primary home and umbrella.

General information and any specific experiences and company recommendations solicited.
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Old 11-16-2016, 02:46 PM   #2
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Make sure you tell the insurance company the house will be vacant most of the time. Yes, your rates will be higher, but if you don't tell them and then later want to file a claim they can deny coverage because you weren't honest about what risks they were assuming by issuing the policy when they find out it was vacant most of the time.

For example, if a fire starts and no one notices it until flames are out the windows and through the roof they can rightfully claim that if someone was home the fire would have been detected sooner and caused less damage.

Re the umbrella policy, I think that's always a good idea. It's cheap insurance.
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Old 11-16-2016, 02:47 PM   #3
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If your winter home is in Florida, it is unlikely that you can get home insurance from the same company as very few insurers still write homeowners insurance in Florida... mine didn't.
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Old 11-16-2016, 02:48 PM   #4
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.....For example, if a fire starts and no one notices it until flames are out the windows and through the roof they can rightfully claim that if someone was home the fire would have been detected sooner and caused less damage. ...
Probably not the best example as the same thing can happen if someone is away on vacation or traveling at the time that fire starts.
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Old 11-16-2016, 02:50 PM   #5
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Should be no issues provided the 2nd home qualifies for the company's underwriting. The price charged will reflect the secondary use of the home, liability coverage will most likely be extended to the second location from your primary policy. The umbrella carrier will also want to know about the second home, and will likely charge a bit more for adding it. Multi-line discount may or may not apply to the second home policy, ask the company as they can differ on handling these type discounts.
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Old 11-16-2016, 02:51 PM   #6
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We received an awaking when we insured a second home. What I learned was both residences had to be insured by the same company. YMMV.

We were told the secondary home has a higher risk and no insurance would accept just the second. Since either the house or the carrier was new to us we couldn't really compare costs other than the new insurance costs 50% more on the old home. We had little flexibility on carriers as they both had to operate in both areas.

The umbrella was weird too. Maybe unique to our situation. The homes are in different states, so two agents from the same company. The provider of the primary has the umbrella for both policies.

This is a short term issue for us, hopefully. Perhaps other folks are aware of more flexible and affordable solutions.
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Old 11-16-2016, 02:53 PM   #7
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Probably not the best example as the same thing can happen if someone is away on vacation or traveling at the time that fire starts.
Perhaps but months at a time can make a difference, in colder climates water pipes bursting can be an issue as well.

Break ins too, yes someone can break-in at any time, but if word gets around your house will be empty for a few months bad stuff could happen.
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