As beach season ends in most of the nation, many sunbirds will head home for the winter. But for those who’ve decided it’s time to purchase their own beach house, there are a handful of considerations to tackle before diving in.
A condo can be easier in terms of maintenance and insurance. You will want to cover theft, damage to the interior, and loss of your possessions. If you are going to lend it out or rent it while you are away, you will need to get special coverage for just that purpose. But the structure of your building will be insured by the condo association, and you will have many protections that accrue from having neighbors in the units near yours: early fire detection and response, building security, maintenance staff to notify you if there is a water leak, etc.
If you choose a duplex or single-family beach house, you could have more work in terms of securing the property for the off-season. Your insurance policy will likely need to include a vacancy provision, since there is a limit under homeowners policies for how long a residence can remain empty without losing coverage. You will almost certainly need flood insurance, and you might need to buy a separate windstorm policy, depending on your location.
If you rent your place out to cover some of the costs of ownership, you will need to talk to your agent about adding to your coverage, since a standard seasonal-home policy won’t include damage caused by renters or injuries to them.
Having someone you trust keep an eye on your property while you are gone is crucial since undetected problems—such as mold from leaks or vermin intrusion—won’t be covered by insurance. With good insurance and proper risk management, you will have a wonderful investment and nice getaway for years to come.