Unoccupied Property Insurance

What is unoccupied property insurance?

An unoccupied property is often classed as being without a tenant for more than 30 days. This includes properties that have been inherited, holiday homes, vacated homes that are up for sale, vacated homes that are being renovated and homes that are left unoccupied whilst the owners are away on business or an extended holiday.

If your property is unoccupied, you will need to notify your insurer and arrange specific cover. Providers consider an unoccupied home a higher risk as there’s a greater chance of damage, break in and vandalism due to no one being there to alert and spot any issues.  When looking for unoccupied property insurance you should make sure it covers natural damage, escape of water and oil, theft or attempted theft, vandalism, legal expenses and public liability insurance. These additions will give you peace of mind and allow you to lock up and leave your home.

How much is unoccupied property insurance?

On average, the cost to insure a property that is unoccupied for 31-60 days is £150. The precise cost can be lower or higher depending on certain factors such as;

  • Property location – if there’s a high crime rate or the area has a high chance of flooding, the likelihood is your policy price will go up
  • Property maintenance – ensuring that your home is well insulated and taken care of will reduce the possibility of issues such as burst pipes
  • Property value – expensive homes can mean more costly repairs which will be reflected in the price
  • Property security – many people choose to add extra locks and video surveillance to keep their property secure

However, when you compare home insurance for unoccupied property, it’s important to look further than the price. Cheap unoccupied property insurance isn’t always the best unoccupied property insurance. You need to carefully consider what you want cover for and check whether the policy is comprehensive and includes those features as standard. If not, you can normally pay extra to have more unoccupied home insurance cover.

What does unoccupied house insurance cover?

Typically, insurance for vacant properties covers:

  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Storms
  • Theft or attempted theft
  • Vandalism
  • Damage caused by water or oil

However, it’s important to remember that this will vary depending on the insurer and the policy you take out. Once you’ve decided on an unoccupied building insurance policy, you should thoroughly read the terms and conditions so that you know exactly what you are and aren’t covered for.

How long does empty home insurance cover your home for?

Most homes don’t tend to stay unoccupied for lengthy periods of time. Generally, most insurers will offer insurance cover for unoccupied homes in policies that last either three, six, nine or 12 months. Most insurers will allow you to extend your vacant house insurance if it will be empty for longer than you originally planned.

What if you forget to declare your home empty to your insurer?

If you fail to take out unoccupied property insurance, you risk invalidating your standard home insurance policy and won’t be able to make a claim. Also, if you do take out home insurance for your unoccupied property but leave the property empty for longer than the time set out in your policy details, your insurance will become void.

Things to consider

  • Install extra security
    By installing extra security measures you can lower the monthly premiums of your empty property insurance.
  • Second home insurance
    If you take out home insurance on your second home make sure you tell your provider that it isn’t your main residence. If you don’t, you might be going against the terms and conditions set out in your policy.
  • What isn’t included
    If you leave doors and windows open and a thief gains access to your property, your empty house insurance policy will become void. Some insurers won’t cover the property during major building works. Similarly, many insurers won’t cover damage made by contractors, contractors should always have their own insurance.

Unoccupied property insurance

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