A small clause in every homeowners insurance policy could cost you thousands. A Midstate woman is unfortunately learning that the hard way. 

Valerie Kibler listed her Old Hickory home for sale in September and moved out in November because new buyers were moving in. In the meantime, Kibler is living with her daughter. She says she was shocked when her insurance agent asked her if she's still living in her home. 

"I said no and he said well we can’t cover you if we aren’t living there,” said Kibler. 

News4 learned homeowners insurance policies have what's called a 'vacancy clause' that affects anyone whose home is vacant for 30-60 days. 

“As part of your end of the contract you have to remain living in your home and if you’re not they could deny the claim because you’re not fulfilling your part of the contract," said Michael Eilerman, who works for Nashville Insurance Services. 

There are specific policies to cover vacant homes, but it can cost up to three times as much. Eilerman says it's because vacant homes are a higher risk.

For example, “if you’re not home and there’s a fire, you’re not gonna be able to stop it out or call the call the authorities before it spreads," said Eilerman. “If you are home you’re gonna be able to get it under control and it’s gonna be a much much loss.”

Kibler plans to move back into her home Saturday. She's borrowing an air mattress from her daughter and plans to sleep there to qualify for the less expensive insurance policy. 

“If that’s what I have to do then that’s what I’ll do," said Eilerman. 

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Kim St. Onge joined the News4 team as a reporter in January 2017.

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