Short-term home insurance

If you’re going on an extended trip or moving out while your house is being renovated, you’ll need to make sure you’re covered while your property is empty. Here’s how a short-term or temporary home insurance policy could help.

If you’re going on an extended trip or moving out while your house is being renovated, you’ll need to make sure you’re covered while your property is empty. Here’s how a short-term or temporary home insurance policy could help.

Helen Phipps
Insurance expert
minute read
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Last Updated 8 NOVEMBER 2022

What is short-term home insurance?

Short-term home insurance is designed to cover unoccupied properties. Whether you’re intending to return to your home after a period away or it’s a house you’re waiting to sell, a temporary insurance policy could keep your property protected while there’s no one living there.

When might I need short-term home insurance?

There’s a few situations where you might need short-term house insurance. These might include:

  • An extended holiday or business trip
  • A short-term work contract away from home
  • Moving out while you carry out renovations
  • Insuring an inherited house during the probate process
  • Taking power of attorney over a relative who’s gone into care.

Can regular home insurance cover my property while it’s empty?

Your regular home insurance may not cover you as standard if your home is going to be empty for more than a specified number of consecutive days. This is typically 30 days but could be as long as 120 days – check your policy to see what the ‘days unoccupied’ limit is.

If you’re going to be away for longer than this, call your insurance provider to see if they’ll agree to extend your cover. If not, you’ll need short-term house insurance.

It’s vital to tell your insurance provider your home is going to be unoccupied. It may be that you could add extra cover to your current policy. But if you don’t let your insurance provider know and something happens while your home is empty – say a storm damages the roof or there’s a burglary – your regular policy won’t pay out.

Short-term home insurance: what to know

  • Short-term home insurance, temporary home insurance and unoccupied home insurance are all the same.
  • If you need to extend your policy or cancel it early, you should be able to arrange this with your insurance provider.
  • This isn’t the right policy for you if you’re living in the property permanently.

What does short-term home insurance cover?

Short-term home insurance could give you the same or similar cover as standard home insurance, but it’s tailored to cover you when your house is empty.

That means you should get:

  • Buildings insurance to cover your property’s physical structure and its fixtures and fittings (such as fitted bathrooms and kitchens)
  • Contents insurance to cover your possessions.

You’ll sometimes find that your policy includes property owners’ liability cover. This could cover your legal and compensation costs if someone is killed or injured on your property, or their belongings are damaged.

Your policy should cover you for fire, flood, theft and attempted theft, as well as damage caused by water, storms and vandalism. But you’ll need to check your policy documents to see exactly what’s covered.

What are the benefits of short-term home insurance?

One of the main benefits of short-term insurance is that you only pay for the time you need. While most standard home insurance policies run for 12 months, it’s possible to find flexible short-term insurance policies that last for three, six or nine months. You could also:

  • Get cover instantly
  • Choose between comprehensive or basic cover.

How much short-term home insurance do I need?

Your temporary buildings insurance should cover you for the cost of rebuilding your home, not its market value.

How much contents insurance you’ll need will depend on whether you’re leaving your possessions in your home while it’s unoccupied. If some of your belongings are in storage, you might not need the same level of contents cover.

See how to estimate the value of your home contents

Is short-term home insurance suitable for landlords?

If you’re a landlord, there are likely to be times 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 often a better bet than temporary home insurance as it’s designed for rental properties and often offers long cover periods for unoccupied properties.

Is short-term home insurance more expensive than standard home insurance?

It could 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’s gone wrong – for example, if there’s a fire, leak or if squatters have broken in. 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 doesn’t short-term home insurance cover?

If you’re burgled and there’s no proof of forced entry, you may find you’re not covered. Similarly, you may not be covered for damage caused by your builders. If you’re building an extension or carrying out renovations, always let your insurance provider know so you can make sure you’re protected. To find out exactly what your insurance does and doesn’t cover, check your policy documents.

What else do I need to look out for when buying short-term home insurance?

When you buy a policy, you’ll probably need to let your insurance provider know what condition your property is in. You may also find that some temporary home insurance policies come with conditions. For example, you might have to:

  • Visit your unoccupied home regularly
  • Switch off the gas, electricity and water
  • Fit approved security devices.

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

Where can I find short-term 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.

Looking for short-term home insurance? Get a quote now and see how much you can save.

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