The frenetic pace of trip planning, packing and securing a competent house sitter can demand so much of a traveler’s attention that essential details fall to the wayside. One of the oft-neglected aspects of engaging a professional house sitter is determining whether or not your homeowners insurance policy will cover them in the event of an accident, and your property should it sustain damage.
- Insurance and Your House Sitter – In most cases, the personal belongings of a house sitter are not covered under the terms of a homeowners insurance policy. While many professional house sitters carry insurance of their own, both to cover their belongings and to prevent them from legal action in the event that their negligence causes damage to the property, the intricacies of insurance policies and their lack of coverage for personal belongings for non-household members may need to be explained to inexperienced house sitters. Should you choose to allow a house sitter use of any vehicles that remain on the property, you will have to call your insurance provider and add the sitter to the policy in order for them to be covered. While determining homeowner liability for any injuries that a house sitter sustains during the course of their work can be difficult, some homeowners policies include a limited amount of coverage for medical payments, which may cover her a portion of her medical bills without investigations regarding who is at fault for the injury.
- Insurance and Your Home Under the Care of a House Sitter – Most insurance companies consider a home to be more secure when it’s inhabited than vacant, even if the current inhabitant is a hired house sitter. Provided that your list of covered contents is up-to-date and your premiums are current, your home and its listed contents should still be covered under your existing policy. It’s always best to check with your insurance provider or selling agent to be sure that your particular policy offers protection while you’re away from the home for an extended period, just to err on the side of caution. However, it’s quite rare for homeowners policies to reject a legitimate claim based solely on the fact that your home was occupied by a house sitter.
- Special Coverages – Depending on the length of your absence and whether or not your house sitter is part of your immediate family, you may be required to obtain a specialized policy, called a landlord policy, landlord-tenant policy or a tenant-boarder policy. In some cases, usually an absence of more than ninety days in which your home is occupied by a non-related house sitter, coverage may be lost if you fail to obtain a tenant-boarder insurance policy. This isn’t always the case, as coverage varies based on the terms of your specific policy. In the interest of protecting your home and its contents to the best of your abilities during your travels, it’s best to speak with your agent well before your scheduled departure.
As with any questions or concerns regarding your individual insurance policy, contacting your insurance provider or agent is the wisest course of action.