Temporary home insurance

If you’re going on a long trip or moving out while your home is being renovated, you’ll need to protect your home while you’re away. Here’s how short-term home insurance could help.

If you’re going on a long trip or moving out while your home is being renovated, you’ll need to protect your home while you’re away. Here’s how short-term home insurance could help.

Chris King
Home insurance expert
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Posted 23 DECEMBER 2020

Why would I need temporary home insurance?

Going on a long trip or moving out while renovating? If your home is going to be unoccupied for more than 30 consecutive days, you’ll find that your home insurance policy may not cover you as standard.

You may be able to add on extra cover. And you’ll need to tell your insurance provider you’re going to be away. But if you don’t and something happens when your home is empty – the roof is damaged in a storm, say, or there’s a burglary – your regular policy won’t pay out.

Taking out a temporary home insurance policy can fill the gap, keeping your home protected until you’re back.

When might I need temporary home insurance?

There’s a few situations where you might need short-term house insurance, including if you:

  • take an extended holiday or business trip
  • take a short-term work contract away from home
  • move out while having renovations done
  • inherit a house and need cover during the probate process
  • have power of attorney over a relative who has gone into care.

What does temporary home insurance cover?

Short-term home insurance can cover the same things as standard home insurance, including:

  • buildings insurance to cover the physical structure of your property and its fixtures and fittings (like fitted bathrooms and kitchens). Make sure you get cover for the cost of rebuilding your home, not its market value.
  • contents insurance to cover the possessions in your home.

Policies usually cover fire, flood, theft or attempted theft, damage caused by water, storms and vandalism – but always check the policy documents to see exactly what’s covered.

Property owners’ liability cover is also included in some policies. This can help pay legal and compensation costs if someone is injured on your property or damages something belonging to them.

What are the benefits of short-term home insurance?

Apart from the fact that it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re covered if something goes wrong, temporary insurance is useful because:

  • you only pay for the time you need
  • policies range from seven days to three, six, nine or 12 months
  • you can get cover instantly
  • you’ve got a choice of comprehensive or basic cover
  • it’s a quick and easy short-term solution.

Do I need short-term home insurance?

You may not, so before you buy a short-term home insurance policy, make sure you definitely need one. Read the terms and conditions of your existing home insurance policy to see exactly what the ‘days unoccupied limit’ is. It’s usually 30 days, but it might be longer.

If you’re going to be away for longer than the limit, your insurance provider might agree to extend your cover. It’s worth giving them a call to find out. 

Some insurance providers offer longer ‘days unoccupied’ periods of between 60 and 120 days, so make sure you check. 

How much short-term contents insurance do I need?

It depends on whether all your possessions will remain in your home while it’s unoccupied. You might not need the same level of cover for your contents as you would normally if some of your belongings are in storage.

See how to estimate the value of your home contents

Is temporary home insurance suitable for landlords?

If you’re a landlord, you’re likely to have periods where your rental property is unoccupied, whether that’s because of gaps between tenants or because you need to carry out maintenance. Specialist landlord insurance is more suitable than temporary home insurance as it often offers long periods of cover for unoccupied properties, as well as being designed specifically for rental properties.

Is temporary home insurance more expensive than standard home insurance? 

It can be. That’s because unoccupied properties are considered more of a risk by insurance providers as there’s no one there to notice if something has gone wrong – if there’s a fire or a leak, or if squatters have broken in, for example. So it’s important to shop around for a temporary home insurance policy that gives you the right cover at the right price for you.

What’s not covered by temporary home insurance?

Burglaries without proof of forced entry or damage caused by builders might not be covered. To see what’s not covered, check your policy documents. If you’re building an extension or carrying out any type of work on your property, you should always let your insurance provider know and check that you’re covered.

What else do I need to look out for when buying temporary home insurance?

You’ll probably need to tell the insurance provider what condition your property is in. Plus, some temporary home insurance policies come with conditions. For example, you might have to:

  • visit your unoccupied home regularly
  • have the gas, electricity and water switched off
  • have approved security devices fitted

Make sure you read the policy carefully so you understand what you need to do.

Where can I find temporary home insurance?

Whether you’re looking for annual home insurance or a short-term option, the most important thing is to find the right cover at a price that suits you. Compare the Market can help you compare annual home insurance and while you can cancel your policy at any time, there may be a fee for doing this so check with your provider. To compare, just tell us a little bit about you and your home, and we’ll do the rest.

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