Many of our clients own rental properties in California and around the country, and there are some things they need to know about their properties’ insurance policies.
Insurance contracts are pretty much set from year-to-year. The terms, coverage grants, conditions, and exclusions, are what they are. HOWEVER, policy terms, coverage grants, conditions, and exclusions do change over the years – they are not set in stone forever.
The newer vacancy provisions are a good example of this. The Safeco Landlord policy has altered its vacancy provisions to reflect the standard New York Fire policy, which provides the template for what most companies use. With its use, Safeco’s vacancy clause has changed: Damage by Fire is excluded if the fire is due to vandalism & the property has been vacant for more than 60 days.
We’ve been advised by Safeco that it is rare for this provision to actually kick in, as a fire must be the result of Malicious Mischief or Vandalism for this exclusion to affect the Fire insurance coverage. And, when the property is being remodeled or upgraded, the "clock" is suspended and does not re-start until the repairs are completed (then, the 60-day countdown starts over).
Still, we advise that you remain aware of this issue, as it could affect your coverage if your property is sitting vacant for over 60 days. There are ways of addressing this issue; and if your property may be subject to being vacant near or over 60 days, call us (562-594-6541 x15) or tweet me (ocinsuranceguru) whether or not you are insured with us. Or, go to www.landlordinsuranceusa.com for additional policy information or to contact us. We may be able to help.
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Huggins Dreckman Insurance