When a person dies or moves into a long-term care facility, often the former home becomes unoccupied. This can create a tricky situation if there are no relatives who wish to move into the home or the family wishes to sell it. Your homeowner’s insurance policy may lapse if someone does not move into the home or stay there regularly. Some policies will continue coverage in this situation, but you must be very careful. This is a time when you need to read your policy. While some insurance agents will claim to cover you, they cannot override the explicit terms of the policy. Insurance agents lack the authority to ignore the provisions of an insurance contract. If your homeowner’s policy lapses, then the insurance company will return your premiums, despite any promises that your insurance agent may have made. In the best case, if there is no coverage when the agent told you that you were covered, litigation is often required; everyone loses with litigation.
Finally, it may be possible to find fire insurance for your home in lieu of homeowner’s insurance, which is often more expensive and ultimately provides you with less coverage. Fire insurance is good for unoccupied homes, as unoccupied homes are more likely to burn down than those that are occupied.
If you need advice about long term care planning for your loved one, or if you have questions about government assistance programs such as Medicaid, Veterans Benefits, or other Special Needs programs, consider W.G. Alexander & Associates – we offer a unique blend of asset protection, Elder Law and estate planning. You can also attend our free seminars, learn more through our website at www.wgalaw.com, or call us at (919) 256-7000.
Attorney Bill Alexander discusses these issues and more every Tuesday morning on W.G. Alexander & Associates’ radio program, “Asset Protection Today,” on TalkRadio 850 WPTK (AM). Be sure to listen from 9:00-10:00 AM.