Will Condo Insurance Cover Your Massachusetts Condominium While You're Away?

Jun 2, 2017 11:50:45 AM

There are many preparations to make when going on a trip. In addition to packing, making travel arrangements, finding lodging and planning activities, it’s also important to check your condo insurance policy if you own a condominium in Massachusetts. You’ll want to make sure your condominium continues to be insured while you’re gone.Condo Insurance Massachusetts

Will My Massachusetts Condominium Be Covered By My Condo Insurance While I’m Away?

Limiting Coverage for Unoccupied Condominiums

Many condo insurance policies contain clauses that limit or void their coverages if a condominium is unoccupied for an extended period of time. Insurers include these clauses because the chances of something happening to a unit can increase if the condo’s left unoccupied. For example, criminals may be more tempted to break in when no one’s around, and fires may not be noticed as quickly if no one’s home. Limiting or voiding coverage is simply a way insurers can mitigate these increased risks. (This practice is also common among homeowners insurance policies.)

To find out if your condominium insurance policy has any such clauses, you’ll have to read through the policy’s paperwork. In the policy’s terms and conditions, you’ll likely find a vacancy clause that clearly states how long your unit can be left unoccupied before coverage is compromised. In most cases, this is between 30 and 60 days.

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(In the insurance industry, “unoccupied” and “vacant” are distinct from each other. If you’re leaving your belongings in your condo and plan on returning sometime, the unit is considered unoccupied. A vacant unit would not have any personal property in it, have its utilities shut off, and not have an owner who intends to return.)

Getting Condo Insurance Coverage for an Extended TripCondo Insurance Massachusetts

If your plans will leave your Massachusetts condo unoccupied for longer than your condominium insurance allows, you may have several ways to make sure it will still be covered.

The easiest way to obtain coverage is usually to purchase an endorsement from your current insurance provider. Most insurers let policyholders get endorsements for unoccupied units, and such an endorsement would likely give you the protections you need while you’re away.

Alternatively, you could try looking for a different condominium insurance policy that lets you leave your unit for longer periods of time. If your current policy’s vacancy limit is 30 days, and you plan on traveling between 30 and 60 days, you might find a policy that has a limit of 60 days. As long as your back within the new policy’s limit, you might not have to pay for an endorsement.

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Finally, you may be able to meet your current policy’s vacancy requirement by having someone come and stay while you’re gone. Policies often require that a person be in the unit, but that person doesn’t necessarily have to be you. Hiring a house sitter or having a family member come by for a night might be all you need to do. (Not all insurers will treat a family member or house sitter as meeting the company’s occupancy requirement. Some, however, view a home with anyone in it as occupied.)

Moreover, vacancy requirements often are for consecutive days. If your policy allows, having someone stop by for just one night in the middle of your trip might be enough to break up the number of consecutive days that your unit’s unoccupied. For example, if you have a condo in Springfield, MA and will be gone for 3 months (90 days), you may be able to have a friend or relative spend the night 45 days into your trip and avoid having your unit unoccupied for 90 consecutive days.Condo Insurance Massachusetts

Have a Massachusetts Insurance Agent Review Your Coverage Before You Leave

To make sure your condominium will be fully covered while you’re gone, have an independent insurance agent in Massachusetts review your condo insurance policy before you pack up and go. They’ll have the expertise necessary to explain what your policy’s requirements and help you understand how you can meet those requirements.

Edward J. Adamczyk

Written by Edward J. Adamczyk

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