Ward, Hayden

The Risk of Owning a Vacant Property

CBIZ Vacant Property Insurance

Owning a vacant building can pose serious liabilities due to it being more susceptible to vandalism, undetected repairs, fire and other losses. The insurance risks associated with owning vacant property can be extensive, and to ensure you are adequately protected, it's important to know the risks.

Potential Risks of Vacant Properties

Vacant properties are an obvious target for theft, trespassing and vandalism. In addition to any loss or property damage that may occur, keep in mind that the owner of a property can be held liable for criminal activities or accidents that take place on the premises.

In addition, they are more susceptible to undetected damages, such as fire, water damage, electrical explosions, wind or hail damage, and mold.

The Most Prevalent Risks to Vacant Properties:

  • Fire
  • Lightning damage
  • Explosion
  • Windstorm or hail damage
  • Smoke
  • Sprinkler leakage
  • Vandalism (no one is present to deter vandals)
  • Malicious mischief on the property and general property destruction
  • Presence of squatters on the property causing damage without the owner's knowledge


How to Mitigate Vacant Property Risks

In addition to extending their insurance coverage, there are some simple steps that owners of vacant property can take to limit their risk and liability.

Prevent vandalism: Notify local authorities of vacated properties so they can watch for criminal behavior. Maintain an “occupied” appearance to the property—mow the lawn, have mail forwarded or picked up regularly and install light timers and/or a security system.

Limit liability: Make sure the property is free from significant hazards (e.g., broken railings or steps, broken windows) that could cause injuries to anyone on the property—this could include police officers, maintenance workers, firefighters or even trespassers.

Avoid damage: Performing regular maintenance on the property can decrease the odds of sustaining damage. Here are a few ideas to have on your radar:

  • Regularly inspect it for damage or threats of damage
  • Install smoke detectors that are tied to a centrally monitored fire alarm system
  • Make sure the heating system and chimney are cleaned
  • Seal off windows and letterboxes
  • Have the plumbing system winterized to prevent frozen pipes
  • Install alarm systems that are triggered by intruders, fires or floods
  • Periodically inspect roof, insulation, attic, basement, gutters


Insurance Solutions for Your Property

Under certain policies, vacant property insurance protects against liabilities in the event someone is injured on your property and sues for damages. In some cases, it is required when a property owner dies and the property goes to an estate sale. It may also be a viable option if the property is in the process of being sold or if it is under construction and is uninhabitable.

Unfavorable incidents can occur, but vacant property insurance can provide the necessary protection. Begin a quote today to learn more. 

This blog may contain scenarios that are provided as examples only. Coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy issued. The information provided is general in nature and may be affected by changes in law or the interpretation of such laws. The reader is advised to contact a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.

10290 Rate this article:

Theme picker

About Us

CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance, a division of CBIZ Insurance Services,Inc., is the largest insurer of short-term vacation rental properties in the United States. As part of an $850 million New York Stock Exchange traded company (CBZ), we are the first broker to develop specific policy coverage to meet the needs for vacation rental properties and the amenities offered by these businesses. We have insured vacation rental properties since 2002.

The CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance team knows insurance, specifically the risks and exposures related to short-term vacation rentals.We won't confuse you with technical "insurance speak" ~ our representatives are well versed in explaining your coverage in plain English. With hands-on, personal customer service, we guarantee swift communication and a 24/7 claims team that is ready to respond to your call any time of the day. As specialist in the industry, we leverage our knowledge and passion to ensure you and your business are adequately protected.