As the president of ARPOLA, I talk to rental property owner, landlords and property managers quite a bit. I thought I’d share some of those conversations through a series of blog posts so all of our members can benefit from the discussion.

I have found  if one member has a question many more have the same question, as well. And if one member is benefiting from a product or service then the rest of our members need to hear about it.  I will not name the members out of respect for their privacy.

A member called saying he had two properties that had been vacant over a month and both of them had the AC unit stolen. The sad part was his insurance wasn’t going to cover the claim because they were vacant past the time allotted in the policy. Unfortunately, this isn’t unusual.

Many insurance policies will cover for vacancy, but only for 30 to 60 days then you are on your own. Some cover only for loss of the building and not if the claim is for theft. The lesson is to be sure you have the coverage you need with the risk level you are willing to take. Please don’t stick your head in the sand and not bother to find out what coverage you have and precisely how you are covered when the property is vacant.

There is a reason insurance companies don’t want to cover for extended vacancies and those that do cover you increase your rates when the property is vacant. Their claims rise dramatically when a property is vacant. While my information is anecdotal, I understand  in this current market and economy there has been a significant increase in theft at vacant properties. Of course, this means many companies will raise their premiums.

I’ve told the following story several times because it drives home the point. It took me personally 18 months to negotiate an insurance program for ARPOLA members. Yes, it took that long to find the company and get all the coverage and terms we know our members need.

Remember, ARPOLA is not an insurance company and our members may get their insurance wherever they wish. But, what isn’t acceptable to me is for our members not to know the differences in coverage in the market and be well informed, so they can make an informed decision. As a member, you can get a complete analysis of your insurance coverage from an informational and educational perspective – no sales pitch. It’s better to know and plan than not know and pay.