Insurance for an empty (sort of) property

6 Replies

I'm dealing with an insurance question in San Antonio. The property consists of a SFR plus a "in-law cottage". The property is part of an estate and it will likely take a year or more to distribute the estate (I'm the executor). The SFR is currently empty and the cottage is rented. Previous insurance company doesn't want to insure the property anymore because the main dwelling is empty. What are my options? I know I could find a tenant for the dwelling and then get landlord insurance, but that is not preferred at the moment. Any thoughts?

Andrew,

The coverage for Vacant properties has improved over the past few years and the coverages available may not be a big drop off from standard coverage.   The big draw back Is the cost.   Generally 2-3 times the cost.  There are also generally more exclusions than a standard policy.  The occupied building on the property complicates the situation.  My guess is that you can find an Excess (aka Surplus) lines carrier for the Vacant building and the Liability.   You should be able to get a standard dwelling policy for the occupied building but not for the liability.  I would check around, because the property is partially occupied there may be a standard market that will take it.  Be very careful to review any application you sign to make sure it discloses the vacant building.  Good Luck

Originally posted by @John Mocker :

Andrew,

The coverage for Vacant properties has improved over the past few years and the coverages available may not be a big drop off from standard coverage.   The big draw back Is the cost.   Generally 2-3 times the cost.  There are also generally more exclusions than a standard policy.  The occupied building on the property complicates the situation.  My guess is that you can find an Excess (aka Surplus) lines carrier for the Vacant building and the Liability.   You should be able to get a standard dwelling policy for the occupied building but not for the liability.  I would check around, because the property is partially occupied there may be a standard market that will take it.  Be very careful to review any application you sign to make sure it discloses the vacant building.  Good Luck

 Thanks John!  Complicated!  I'm mostly worried about liability - there is no mortgage so the estate could "self-insure" the dwellings, if necessary, but the liability part scares me.  Do you know if anyone writes "liability only" policies for such situations?

Originally posted by @Sharon Powell :

Give Allen Jones Insurance in La Vernia a call. He takes care of my investments and is worth the phone call. You’ll see why. :)

 Thanks Sharon - sounds a bit mysterious :-)  -  but sure, I'll give him a call. Thanks for the suggestion

There is always the 2 policy method. One landlord policy on the occupied cottage + one vacant policy on the SFR with matching liability on both policies. A company like Foremost/Farmers should be able to handle that for you.

 Above you mentioned that coverage on the dwellings wasn't that important so if you wanted to keep cost down you could use the more basic DF1 policy (ask the agent down there) and market value for the dwelling coverage amount with a higher deductible and then max liability limits (probably $1 million). 

If that sounds like insurance gibberish it is... you could copy and paste all that into an email to the Foremost agent and they should be able to figure it out pretty quickly.  If they stumble hunt around until you find one who is familiar with landlord policies.

I'm not licensed for TX otherwise I'd be offering to set it up for you.

Originally posted by @Michael Norris :

There is always the 2 policy method. One landlord policy on the occupied cottage + one vacant policy on the SFR with matching liability on both policies. A company like Foremost/Farmers should be able to handle that for you.

 Above you mentioned that coverage on the dwellings wasn't that important so if you wanted to keep cost down you could use the more basic DF1 policy (ask the agent down there) and market value for the dwelling coverage amount with a higher deductible and then max liability limits (probably $1 million). 

If that sounds like insurance gibberish it is... you could copy and paste all that into an email to the Foremost agent and they should be able to figure it out pretty quickly.  If they stumble hunt around until you find one who is familiar with landlord policies.

I'm not licensed for TX otherwise I'd be offering to set it up for you.

 Many thanks!  I will explore this as recommended.  I have some time as the current insurance won't pull the plug until end of July.  Anyway, I'll post back when it's resolved.  Much appreciated!