Got a 2nd home? You probably need two separate insurance policies.

By Bob Plunkett and Richard Sherwin of Digital Family Advisor and Wachs Media.

One homeowner’s insurance policy is usually not enough if you have two properties. However, insuring your second home can be tricky if you don’t understand exactly what is needed.

  • Chances are, there is no one living in your second home year-round. This means that there are long periods of time where no one is there making it more vulnerable than your primary house, since any accidents that may occur will go unreported for longer.
  • Also, many second homes are in more rural locations – and may be far from the closest police and fire departments so you may need extra coverage that goes beyond the standard.
  • If you rent out your second home and you use it as a guest house or investment property, it is important to get extra liability protection since you are liable for anything that happens to your tenants and their guests.
  • Due to the increased risks associated with your vacation home, it is wise to invest in umbrella insurance.
  • Also be reminded that many of the so called national insurance companies will NOT insure your second or third home if they are not in the same state. So snowbirds from the Northeast or Bi-coastal owners will have to get separate insurance for each home which can raise your prices for all your insurance without the multi-home-car discount.
  • Also be extra careful of your independent insurance agent. While many are talented multi-region, multi state experts, many we found during extensive interviews did not know the local rules for home insurance or car insurance, so you could wind up getting your policy cancelled when they discover when or where you live in your primary home.
  • And be extra careful of the TV, radio, print and Internet advertising toll free insurance experts like Geico, Progressive and Chubb. Our experience  with those behemoths results in the most inaccurate or devastatingly dangerous and underpriced offerings.
  • And finally, if you are really due to the last minute still don’t overpay. The State of Connecticut Insurance Department, for example, advises residents to double check crossover coverage – where insurance on your primary home might also cover somethings on your vacation property.

Insurance departments in every state regulate insurance and can for a valuable resource on any policy.



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