What Is Second Home Insurance?
Learn how to protect your vacation home – and what impacts your insurance rates.
If you have a secondary home that’s occupied six months or less each year, you’ll need second home insurance to cover it. That’s true if you have a lakeside cottage, a cabin near the ski slopes, or an ocean-view condo along your favorite coast.
Second home insurance offers the same types of coverage as your primary home’s HO3 policy. It will cover the structure of the home, other structures (such as fences, garage, greenhouse, etc.), belongings and furnishings, loss of use, personal liability, and medical payments. Its limits are simply adjusted to account for a vacation home’s unique risks.
From an insurance standpoint, a seasonal home tends to be “riskier” than your primary home because it’s unoccupied for a good portion of the year. Homes that sit vacant can be more attractive to thieves. It also means if the home experiences damage, like a leak or fire, the damage may be more extensive because it may take longer to notice and address.
That increased risk means some insurers won’t offer coverage for second homes, but Kin does.
What Second Home Insurance Covers
Why Your Primary Home Insurance Policy Can’t Cover Your Vacation Home
A single home insurance policy offers a variety of coverage, but you usually can’t insure two separate homes under the same policy. The policies for your home and vacation home may be packaged and paid for together, but you technically have separate coverage for each.
And that’s a good thing! This ensures each home has coverage tailored to its risks. So while your primary home may be in Ohio and not have a need for hurricane and flood coverage, your vacation home in Florida, which is at greater risk of hurricanes and flooding, is appropriately protected for those events.
How Much Does Second Home Insurance Cost?
Seasonal home insurance costs depend on where your vacation home is, how long it’s occupied each year (and by who), its age and construction, and its security measures. The types of coverage your second home needs will also impact your rates. For example, a seasonal home in Florida may need flood insurance to protect it from hurricane damage, and that will increase the overall cost to insure it.
Let’s look at some pricing variables in more detail so you know what drives the cost of your policy.
Second Home Location
Your seasonal home’s location is usually the biggest impact on the price of your policy. Generally speaking, homes close to the coast cost more to insure because they face a greater chance of experiencing a named storm or hurricane. These homes will also require flood insurance – a standard home insurance policy doesn’t cover damage from storm surges.
Increasingly, homes in California – especially those near canyons or places with a lot of trees or brush – may cost more because of their wildfire exposure.
If you use your second home as a vacation home, the time it sits vacant can be a real risk. Unoccupied homes face a greater chance of:
- Unaddressed damage, like fires, leaks, and infestation
- Liability from trespassers who are injured on your property
As you might have guessed, all these factors may increase your second home insurance cost. On the other hand, if your vacation home is in a secured community where someone is around to keep an eye on your property while you’re away, your rates may be lower.
If you rent out your second home when you’re not around, you may need a different kind of insurance altogether: landlord insurance. Your agent can help determine when this coverage is appropriate.
Age & Construction
Depending on how and when your seasonal home was built, your rates may increase or decrease. For example, homes built before 2001 in Florida may not be as resistant to hurricane winds, which can increase your premium. Homes built after may cost less to insure because they are built according to a stricter building code that prioritizes wind mitigation.
If your vacation home has a swimming pool, it may cost more to insure it. That’s because pools pose liability risks for a homeowner if someone is injured in or near them.
On the other hand, vacation homes that have security and safety features, such as a centrally monitored security system, water leak detection system, fire alarm, and fire and wind mitigation systems, may have significantly reduced rates.
Your personal history impacts your insurance costs, too. If you don’t have any claims and you have a strong insurance score, your premium may be lower.
Where to Find Seasonal Home Insurance
While not every insurance company offers coverage for second and seasonal homes, Kin is excited to offer insurance for vacation and second homes in Florida and California. When you apply for coverage, just note that the home is occupied for six months or less each year. We’ll make sure you get the appropriate coverage.
Here are a couple tips if you decide to shop around:
- Don’t compare on price alone – it doesn’t make sense to pay a little less for a policy that offers significantly less coverage.
- Invest in security features – it’s a great way to keep your second home safe and help you save on your insurance.
- Read the reviews – a good company will issue a good policy. A great company will treat you as though they were insuring a family member’s home.
Start Saving on Your Home Insurance