Compare Unoccupied Property Insurance
It might seem strange to be paying special attention to an unoccupied building, but when it comes to your home insurance cover it’s important to understand what unoccupied means and the effect it can have on your insurance cover.
Why would my property be unoccupied?
It might not cross your mind if you’re insuring your home but, if you think about it, there are lots of reasons you might own a home that’s unoccupied. For example:
- You’ve inherited the property
- You own it as a holiday home
- The property is on the market but left up for sale after you’ve already moved into your new place
- You might be having it done up and have moved out while builders or decorators are in
- You’re going to be away for a while on business, or for an extended holiday
Can there really be many properties that are unoccupied?
Yes. According to Government statistics, there are 610,123 empty homes in England, with just over a third of them being vacant for more than six months. In Scotland, the figure is 31,884, while in Wales there are a further 23,171.
How does this relate to my home insurance cover?
In the small print of your home insurance policy you’re very likely to find a clause that states that if your home is unoccupied for more than 30 days you need to inform your insurance provider. You’ll need to tell them why it is unoccupied and how long you expect it to be unoccupied for.
Why do I need to tell my insurance provider?
Insurance companies consider unoccupied homes riskier than a home with people living in it. When you consider it, it that makes sense, really. The chances of water damage, vandalism or break-ins are likely to be higher when there’s no one at home to prevent them.
Every insurance provider will have a different view on unoccupied properties so you will need to speak to your insurance provider to find out about what level of cover they will offer.
What if I fail to tell my insurance provider?
Our best advice to you is don’t forget to tell them! You’ll run the risk of invalidating your home insurance policy if you fail to tell them. If the worst happens and you need to make a claim, you might find that your insurance provider refuses it.
What does empty house insurance cover?
It could cover you for:
- Theft or attempted theft
- Damage caused by water or oil
- Damage from impact
However, don’t think that all insurance policies are the same. There might be some things that are covered and there may be things on this list which some insurance providers won’t include – for example damage caused by an escape of water to any contents you have left at the property.
What does the cover cost?
It’s impossible to give a specific figure as every property is different. It’ll depend on the area the property is in and the circumstances that brings the property to be empty. You can find out though by comparing policies and prices – more on that later.
Is there anything I can do to get a lower premium?
Your insurance provider will ask you if you have locks on the windows and doors and if there is a burglar alarm. These security measures may help to reduce your premium. They’ll also expect that you keep your property well maintained. The best thing you can do is check your policy terms, conditions and exclusions and talk to your insurance provider. Some insurance providers count consecutive days you’re away, others class it as the overall days you’re away from your property over the year. You could ask friends or family to stay in your home from time to time so that it’s not classed as unoccupied, which could affect your premium.
I’m a landlord, is there a specific policy for me?
Yes, there is – as an unoccupied building means no rent coming in. For example, if you need to renovate, redecorate or knock a wall through, your property might need to be empty for a while. As with residential properties, if your property is vacant for more than 30 days it may well be classed as unoccupied, which might mean you’re not covered.
In this situation, one option is to buy unoccupied property insurance. This insurance type can give you short-term cover for about 60 days.
Does getting specific Landlord insurance help?
You might be concerned that your rental property will be empty for weeks or even months, leaving you to foot the bill for the mortgage because of the loss of rent. Landlord insurance is a bit like home insurance, but it’s specifically designed to cover rental properties. It will usually allow a home to be empty for three months, which can be very helpful as it can often take more than a month for a new
tenant to move in.
Comparing unoccupied home insurance
If you already have a property that is going to be vacant you might want to phone your existing insurance provider and get a quote. To make sure that that quote is competitive, it’s worth comparing quotes from a number of insurance providers to get the best price and cover you need. That needn’t be difficult if you use our comparison service. Try it today and make sure that your vacant property is covered.