Transitioning into assisted living or nursing home care can be a very stressful process for a family. Typically, the family members making the transition have come to the realization that they are no longer able to safely live independently due to physical and sometimes mental limitations. There is a lot to think about when making this big of a decision. One issue to deal with is what to do with the home. Do you sell the house? Are the loved ones making the transition willing to sell the home? Whether you choose to sell the home or keep it, something that is often overlooked is that most homeowner policies drastically limit coverage, or even cease to offer it altogether once a home has been vacant for a specified period of time.
The reality is that vacant homes are more prone to be damaged by vandalism, arson, thief copper, water damage, fire, and other types of damages. When it comes to liability, vacant properties are more likely to be a nuisance. It is not uncommon for trespassers to claim they were injured on a vacant property and for them to seek damages. Typically, after a period of 30 to 60 days homeowner’s policies will cease to cover your property from any cause of loss leaving your home completely uncovered.
So, if your homeowners policy is not intended to cover your vacant property what can you do about it?
- Speak with your insurance agent to find out the amount of time you have until your homeowner’s policies vacancy clause kicks in. There is no need to change anything until you have to as covering a vacant home is most likely going to be more expensive.
- Ask the insurance company to issue a Vacancy Permit Endorsement. Not all insurance companies are willing to offer this endorsement, but many times for a specified period of time your insurance company will grant coverage on the vacant dwelling. This endorsement will most likely have the same exclusions as a vacant home policy such as vandalism and glass breakage, but it will also most likely be more affordable than obtaining vacant home policy.
- If your insurance company is not willing to offer you a Vacancy Permit, you will need to obtain a Vacant Home Policy. There are a number of carriers that offer vacant home policies. They will most likely exclude vandalism and glass breakage. It is important that you review the coverage and compare different vacant home policies as the coverage varies drastically. For example, one carrier we work with for vacant homes will only off Actual Cash Value on your home if you have filed a claim in the past three years, where another carrier we work with will offer full replacement cost.
- You will also want to purchase a renters insurance policy to cover your property and liability at the nursing home or assisted living center. Renters insurance is very affordable and there should be no shortage of carriers willing to offer this coverage.
- What if you decide to make the house into a rental property? Although this isn’t a big deal you will need to obtain the proper insurance as a homeowners policy is inadequate. You will need to obtain an insurance policy designed for a rental dwelling that not only sufficiently covers the property, but provides coverage for you as a landlord.
- There are also other things to consider when transitioning to Assisted Living or a Nursing home. What if one spouse is permanently transitioning and the other spouse is staying home? Ask your insurance agent to offer an Assisted Living Care Endorsement on your Homeowners Policy. If the company refuses, simply find one that will accommodate you. The Assisted Living Care Endorsement will cover the personal Property and provide liability coverage to a specified relative and a specified location of residence. It also should give you coverage for items like glasses, hearing aids, contact lenses, false teeth or dentures, medi-alert devices, walking aids such as walkers or cane, and wheelchairs. You can get similar coverage by obtaining a renters insurance policy, but many times the Assisted Living Care Endorsement is a more affordable option.
Transitioning your loved ones into assisted living or skilled nursing facilities can be a very stressful time. The last thing anyone needs is to find out that 70 days after they moved out that a fire or busted pipes isn’t covered on your vacant dwelling. Give us a call at Beacon Insurance Group, we have access to over twenty insurance carriers and we will find the best option for your home and possession when you move to assisted living.