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Corin Cook

By: Corin Cook on June 24th, 2024

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How to Insure a Vacant Property in Massachusetts

Individuals & Families | Business Insurance | builders risk insurance

Vacant properties are properties too! Just because there may not be any people in a property at the moment, doesn’t mean it is any less deserving of love and protection!

So whether you’ve inherited a property, bought an investment property to renovate, or have an unoccupied commercial property, you need to insure it to protect it from the many risks it’s exposed to.

At Berry Insurance, we’ve helped many clients get the insurance they need to protect their vacant properties, both personal and commercial.

And the first question these clients usually ask is “What type of insurance do I need?”

Our answer? … “It depends.”

There isn’t one and only type of insurance for vacant properties. The coverage you need really depends on the scenario.

In the following article, we’ll break down all the vacant property scenarios, and let you know the insurance you need for each type.

Insuring a vacant property (not under renovation):

Insuring a vacant home (not under renovation):

If you’re buying a property that will remain vacant for a period of time you will need to insure it with an unoccupied or vacant home policy.

Because vacant buildings are more susceptible to vandalism, it needs this specific policy designed to protect it from these risks.

Since nobody is occupying the property, a vacant home policy has less coverages than a standard homeowners insurance policy. 

These policies generally only include:

Dwelling: protecting the structure of your property from damage from a number of causes. 

Liability: providing coverage for any injuries that occur on your property.

Because of the risks associated with a vacant property, these policies are typically about 50% more expensive than home insurance policies.

Insuring a vacant commercial property (not under renovation):

Insuring a vacant commercial property that isn’t under renovation actually requires the same exact insurance as insuring a vacant home not under renovation: a vacant property policy!

A vacant property policy provides the same coverage as a vacant home policy, so if you skipped right to this section, read the section above!

Insuring a commercial property with some vacant units:

So what happens if you have a commercial property with some occupied units and some vacant units?

Excuse us while we use the typical vague answer: it depends.

If a small percentage of your units are vacant, you can have a traditional commercial property insurance policy. If a large percentage of your units are vacant, you would need a vacant property policy. Of course, we can’t define “large” and “small” here because it varies depending on the carrier.

Insuring a vacant property under renovation:

Insuring a vacant home under renovation:

If your vacant home is under renovation, then there is a different type of policy you will need: a builders risk policy.

Builder's risk insurance is an individualized type of property insurance, formulated specially for buildings under construction.

Also known as “course of construction" insurance, builder's risk insurance protects the property and homeowner from financial loss resulting from damage or loss of the project’s structure and materials during the course of construction.

For more information about builders risk, check out this article Do I Need Builders Risk Coverage for my Home Project?

Insuring a vacant commercial property under renovation:

Insuring a vacant commercial property under renovation isn’t all that different from insuring a vacant home under renovation: you will also need a builders risk policy.

It works the same as a builders risk policy for a home, but may have some nuances.

For example, there are different types of policies you can get if you’re working on a single building vs. if you will be working on several building projects throughout the year.

To learn more about builders risk for commercial projects, check out this article: Do I Need Builder’s Risk Insurance?

Keep in mind that if you have a commercial building with several units, but not all of them are vacant for renovations, you will still need a builders risk policy.

Protect your property, even when you aren't in it:

Insuring a vacant property is a big deal. Since you aren’t living on the property, you have less control and awareness of what is going on there at all times, so you want a policy that has you covered.

If you need help insuring a vacant Massachusetts property, contact your insurance agent here at Berry Insurance. 

Don’t have a trusted independent agent yet? Don’t jump to the first name you see. Do some research! Check out this article: What to Look For when Selecting an Insurance Agency or Company