The housing slowdown has led to a lot of vacant homes in the Tri-State and that poses major problems when it comes to homeowner insurance.
A local man says he learned the hard way that he didn't have the coverage he thought he had.
Mark Bollhauer, of Bright, contacted me because he wants to share with others the insurance problems you can face if your house becomes vacant.
MARK BOLLHAUER: "For people that have houses for sale and they don't realize this, they're living in a new house, their other house may not be covered at all."
Bollhauer used to live in a house here in Riverside, and now rents it out.
BOLLHAUER: "Sometimes somebody will move out for a short time before the next person moves in. Usually in that time I let my insurance company know the house is empty until I get the next tenant. They send you a different policy but you're always under the assumption that you have insurance on this house no matter what.>" Said his landlord's package insurance policy was replaced by a residential fire policy when the house was vacant-- and it didn't give him the same coverage.
BOLLHAUER: "In my case somebody did some damage. They broke in, he took some of the copper plumbing and I found out that's not covered."
After not covering the loss, his insurance company dropped him.
Bollhauer says when he got his new insurance policy he went over everything with the agent, spent 2 hours with him to make sure he knew everything in the policy. He found out that among other things he has earthquake coverage but doesn't have any hillside slippage coverage. He says its important to know everything.
I've learned the longer a house stays vacant, the more insurance coverage you lose.
BOLLHAUER: "I think most people don't know that because its probably back in your policy in small print."
Bollhauer says he was told if it looks like he'll have a hard time renting the house, move a bed and some items into it and stay there at least once or twice a week.
Then he won't lose his full insurance coverage.
I've checked and learned that's a very good idea.