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How to Manage the Hidden Insurance Risks of Vacant Properties

Property owners are often surprised to learn that standard insurance policies may exclude losses and liabilities that arise when a property is vacant. As explained at, prudent owners should explore vacant commercial property insurance to protect their assets.

Understanding the Risks of Vacant Properties

A building does not need to be 100% empty to be deemed vacant for insurance purposes. In fact, your property may fall into this category if 70% or more is unoccupied or unused for more than 60 consecutive days. These properties are subject to a greater risk of physical loss from hazards like fire, water damage, and vandalism. In addition, unsafe conditions resulting from disrepair or trespassing may subject you to personal injury liability.

When your building is vacant, you may find yourself with no or reduced coverage for a variety of claims that might otherwise be covered under your property and liability policies.

Managing the Risks of Vacant Properties

You can mitigate the financial risks associated with vacancies with a few practical steps:

  • Check your insurance policies for the definition of “vacant” and any applicable exclusions.
  • Consult with your agent about the coverage available for these properties.
  • Immediately advise your insurer if your property becomes vacant.
  • Take practical steps to monitor and protect your real estate to minimize exposure to claims for damage or injury.

Well-informed owners can avoid the unintended consequences of having inadequate insurance. Assess your portfolio, and talk to your agent about vacant commercial property insurance to ensure continuous and comprehensive coverage for your unoccupied properties.