Homeowner Insurance Tips for a Vacation Home

21 Apr
Tips on Your Vacation Home Insurance Coverage

Did you know that in almost all circumstances, your vacation home is going to carry higher risks than your permanent one.

Shopping for a second home can be exciting. Sitting out on the deck drinking wine and taking in the beautiful views while getting away from the hustle and bustle of your regular life is a dream for most of us. It doesn’t matter if it is a beach home in Naples Florida, a lake cabin or a ski condo, your homeowners insurance needs are going to be a bit different on your vacation home compared to your primary residence. In some cases, you may end up paying a bit more on your vacation pad.

When shopping for a vacation home it is important to take into account all of the expenses it will bring. While your mortgage will usually be the biggest expense, you also have to factor in possible HOA fees as well as the cost of insuring your new getaway.

In almost all circumstances, your vacation home is going to carry higher risks than your permanent one. You are not there as often, making it a target for thieves, it many be located on the water or in an area that is prone to wildfires or other natural disasters. While it is sometimes possible to add your vacation spot to your current homeowners policy, in most circumstances, it is best to get a separate policy.

Additional Risks with Vacation Homes

Regardless of whether your second home is on a beautiful beach in Savannah, Georgia or Tampa Bay, Florida, it’s going to carry more risks as far as your insurer is concerned. Here are just a few things to consider:

It sits empty…a lot

The majority of vacation homes are often empty. Insurers don’t like empty houses, not only are they more likely to be burglarized, there is no one around to put out fires, or detect gas leaks. All of this means that your second home is at a much bigger risk of getting damaged or destroyed and that is going to cost you.


While your dream house in Mendocino California may not be all that isolated, your cabin in the mountains could be way off the grid. Your insurer is not going to love the isolation the way you do. A long drive for the fire department combined with the lack of hydrants means your second home is more likely to burn to the ground. Isolation also ups the chance of burglary.

Renters and Friends

Vacation homes tend to be used by friends and family. In many cases they are rented out to help cover the costs. All of this ups the liability risk of someone falling, slipping, and getting hurt. You insurer is not going to like those odds so your liability costs are going to be higher.

How to lower your costs

Just like the insurance on your primary home, there are ways to drive the costs down. Here are a few tips on making sure the premiums on your little spot of paradise stay reasonable:

Install an Alarm System

It’s possible to shave 20 percent off your premium if you have a monitored alarm system installed in your vacation home. In some instances it is possible to control the thermostat, lights and even the locks remotely.

Sprinkler System

While they can be expensive, a sprinkler system will not only save your house in the event of a fire, it will drastically lower your premiums. Insurers love sprinklers, especially at rural, frequently empty houses and are willing to hand over a big discount as thanks.

Bundle Polices

If possible, insure your vacation home with the same insurer as your primary residence. Bundling can result in big savings. Shop your insurance around if they are unwilling to discount your policies.

Consider an Umbrella Policy

Umbrella policies can dramatically increase your liability coverage for a very reasonable amount of money. The majority of experts recommend at least a $1 million umbrella policy for people that own two homes. This is especially true if you rent your second home out.


If you rent out your home away from home frequently, expect to pay more for homeowners insurance due to the increased risk. Regardless of the increased costs it is imperative to inform your insurer of your intentions to rent it out. There can be exclusions in standard policies that could cause problems should a renter damage your home.

Finally, make sure you are carrying the proper coverage for your particular piece of paradise. A waterfront Marco Island, Florida property will require flood insurance, a house in Palm Springs, California should be covered by an earthquake policy and a beach house in Hatteras Island, North Carolina should be protected by additional hurricane coverage.

Safety Tips

The best way to keep your premiums low is to avoid a claim. Here are a few safety tips to keep your vacation home claim free:

  • Do not keep valuable items or jewelry at your vacation home.
  • Be sure to leave local emergency numbers in an easy to find place for renters.
  • Maintain a checklist and inventory of the contents of your vacation house.
  • Check on your second home often or hire a management company if you can’t get out there often.
  • Keep stairs and walkways clear of clutter.

For more helpful information about home insurance, please visit our homeowners insurance tips page.

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