Will Insurance Pay for a Condemned House?

Will insurance pay for a condemned house? If your house was to get condemned, would insurance pay for it? To answer this question, let us examine the insurance policies covering home ownership.

There are two different major types of insurance policies for homeowners.

Will Insurance Pay for a Condemned House?

One is a homeowners policy, and the other is an earthquake policy. The type of insurance coverage you need depends on where you live in the United States.

The first type is a homeowners policy, which covers damage to your home, its contents, and any structures on your property.

A homeowners policy won’t cover damage to third-party property like your neighbor’s home or their car parked in front of your driveway.

The second type is an earthquake policy, which covers damage caused by earthquakes and other natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods.

Earthquake policies also provide coverage for damages caused by landslides or mud.

Regarding insurance, payouts for a condemned house are not always as straightforward as they may seem.

This article will cover the basics of what you need to know about getting coverage for a condemned house.

What Does It Mean for a House to Be Condemned?

A property is considered condemned when the government declares it unsafe or uninhabitable.

This means that once a house has been condemned, you or anyone cannot live in it until the circumstances surrounding its condemnation have been resolved.

The government condemning a building doesn’t mean it is gone forever. Whether a house can be uncondemned depends on the circumstances surrounding its condemnation, and the process usually involves renovation and inspection by the authorities.

What Are the Reasons for House Condemnation?

Most homes are only condemned after they have been abandoned, and the owners or residents stop properly maintaining them.

According to statistics from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, there are over 10 million abandoned houses in the States.

Generally speaking, a home can be condemned if:

  • The house has been abandoned for a long period; this could be as few as 6 months.
  • If the house is dilapidated and/or degraded to the point of structural instability.
  • It is considered dangerous or unhealthy.
  • The house does not have basic utilities such as electricity, water, and sewer.

If a house is condemned, it is no longer habitable. If issues are not resolved within the specified time frame normally listed on the notice, the occupants will have to move out.

It is worth noting that a house can also be condemned when the government exercises eminent domain powers. This means that a good home that complies with regulations can be forcibly acquired and altered or, in some cases, even demolished – simply because of its location.

In eminent domain cases, the government may seize private property, such as houses and land, if it is located in an area designated for public projects. What this means is that if the state wants to build a highway or an airport in your backyard and you don’t want to sell, it can still move on your property, and you will be handsomely rewarded.

How Long Does It Take for a House to Be Condemned?

The length of time it takes to condemn a home depends mostly on its condition and the reason it was earmarked. Regulations tend to vary depending on the City.

But the process of condemning a house doesn’t just happen in a fortnight. It involves notifying the owner and occupants that the home building violates certain health and safety codes.

This usually means receiving citations for property violations, sometimes in a pattern that lasts weeks, months, or even years. If no repairs are made, the case of the property will usually be taken to court for a formal hearing, where it can be declared condemned.

Depending on the court’s decision, the owner could be given a specific amount of time, usually around 30 to 60 days, to correct violations, undergo new inspections, and obtain new permits before the property is declared uninhabitable.

In some cases, the process of condemning a house can be quicker. For example, if the property is structurally unsanitary, the resident can legally be forced to vacate the property.

Will Insurance Pay for a Condemned House?

Say the house has electric plugs that caught fire, mold in the house, and lead paint, and the house has been condemned.

Will the insurance cover the cost of tearing down and rebuilding the house?

The short answer to your question is it depends. The policy’s wording dictates what the insurance company must cover.

Your homeowner’s policy might not cover damages caused by a building unsafe or unfit for habitation. If your home was declared uninhabitable due to fire or water damage, you would have to file a separate claim with your property insurance company.

Even if you do have coverage, you should still take steps to make repairs before filing a claim. This includes having the roof repaired and any other damaged areas inspected for possible damage.

In some cases, if your home has been condemned and deemed uninhabitable due to structural issues, then you could qualify for a claim under your homeowner’s policy. In some other cases, the insurer can repair the damage and re-insure the structure at no additional cost to the insured.

So it’s best to review your policy and, if necessary, speak with an attorney familiar with insurance policies.


It is worth noting that insurance companies are prohibited from insuring a home where drugs, alcohol, gambling, prostitution, or fraud occur. Insurance will not provide coverage for the loss of the property if it is declared “condemned” by a court.

I hope this article was helpful. If you have any questions, please drop them in the comments; we’d like to hear from you.

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