Here's a full transcript of the episode.
Rob: If you like to take a vacation every now and then, or if you have a rental property or two, you should know the difference between unoccupied homes and vacant homes. And there are some rules involved. And joining us to talk about that, our insurance expert on "Ask The Expert," Greg Marcyniuk, from Heritage Insurance in downtown Moose Jaw. Greg, there are rules that go along. Even if I'm going on vacation for a couple of weeks, my house could be deemed an unoccupied home if I'm away for a certain length of time, right?
Greg: That's correct, Rob. And basically, the rule of thumb is, if you're gone for over three days, technically, under most insurance policies, you do have to have that home checked, unless you have a monitored home alarm system that monitors the temperature, water, and, of course, anybody breaking into the place. But I see a lot of times where there can be claims that are caused because of this and people aren't aware of it. And it's not just unoccupied homes. It's vacant ones as well. So, if your home is vacant, and not having anyone in there for, typically over a 30-day period, if you're renting it out or in those situations, you have to notify us prior to that, because if you don't, and there is a loss, it may not be covered.
And just best to keep that 30-day mindset and the number in mind. You know, whether you're buying a new home, or selling a home, or inheriting home, it's best that you let a broker know, or ourselves know, as soon as possible. And the biggest thing that you need to know is, whether it's a current family member, whether you're occupying it, or, again, if you are renting out. Any combination thereof can affect your coverages and affect your prices. So, very important that you know beforehand and talk to your broker on this. And, again, it's typically a good guideline, if you're owner-occupied, as opposed to one being rent out. And if you don't intend to move in for more than 30 days after you take possession, so if you buy a home, you have up to 30 days to move into it. But if you're doing any sort of repairs or renovations, then it's very important that you let your broker know that that is being done, because, again, that is a gray area in there.
Now, you gotta realize if you're renting it out, you definitely have to have either a rental home policy on there, or what they call a dwelling policy. And this protects only the property itself and extends around the property, but does not extend for the renter's belonging, which a lot of people think as far as, you know, if I rented out, their stuff is covered. It's not covered. They need a tenant coverage. And I normally really recommend that you do get a tenant policy for liability. And then also, there's usually tenants' legal liability that can extend.
Rob: What about when it comes to Airbnb homes?
Greg: They are not covered. And typically, any short-term coverage is not rental coverage at all. So, again, that is additional special coverage. So you've gotta have that in place. So, very important on there. So, if you do... You know, as far as when your property is vacant and empty, again, it's a really good idea to have it monitored. I always highly recommend that you have a secured monitoring system. And, again, keep the exterior of the home upkept, make it look like somebody's living there and, again, having motion lights and having lights on a timer in there as well. Again, if you're away for more than two days, I'd mentioned, as before, either have a friend check it on a regular basis, or again, if you do you have a monitored system that has your heat, water, and as well as any motion at all, you're okay. But, again, you're best to check with a broker on your particular policy on that.
Rob: There you go. So, if you're planning an extensive winter vacation this year, there are some things you gotta take into consideration. And Greg Marcyniuk and the people at Heritage Insurance will go over all these rules with you.
Greg: You can contact us here at the Corner of Fairford in First West and/or at heritageinsurance.ca.
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