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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 your property is covered while it’s empty. Here’s how temporary or short-term home insurance 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 your property is covered while it’s empty. Here’s how temporary or short-term home insurance could help.

Written by
Helen Phipps
Insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Rachel Lacey
Insurance and money expert
Last Updated
19 SEPTEMBER 2023
5 min read
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What is short-term home insurance?

Short-term home insurance is designed to cover unoccupied properties. Perhaps you’re intending to return to your home after a period away or it’s a house you’re waiting to sell.

Either way, a temporary insurance policy could keep your property protected while there’s no one living there.

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

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

If you’re going away for longer than this, call your insurance provider to see if they’ll extend your cover. If not, you’ll need short-term house insurance. If you don’t inform your insurance provider and then need to make a claim, your regular policy is unlikely to 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 short-term 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 permanently living in the property.

What does temporary 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’ll need:

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

Some policies include property owners’ liability cover. This could cover legal costs and compensation if someone is killed or injured while in your property, or their belongings are damaged.

Your policy could 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 temporary house 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 get 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 the cost of rebuilding your home, not its market value.

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

How to estimate the value of your home contents.

Is short-term home insurance suitable for landlords?

If you’re a landlord, there may be times when your rental property is unoccupied. This could be because of gaps between tenants or because you need to carry out maintenance.

Specialist landlord insurance could be a better option than temporary home insurance. It’s designed for rental properties and can offer long cover periods for unoccupied properties.

What doesn’t short-term home insurance cover?

If you’re burgled and there’s no proof of forced entry, you may not be covered by temporary home insurance. Similarly, you might 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 ensure you have the right level of cover.

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 short-term cover, you can compare your options with us. Get a quote now and see if you could save.

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Frequently asked questions

Can I get one-month home insurance?

It’s possible to buy home insurance for one month. However, standard policies usually last 12 months, so you’ll need a specialist short-term policy.

Helen Phipps - insurance expert

Having worked in both sides of the industry, Helen’s a real insurance expert. She’s worked directly with several insurance providers and now Compare the Market. She’s always searching for the cheapest prices for customers and is passionate about saving people money. Being married with two kids, Helen knows all about the cost of living and the benefits of having the right products and insurance for the whole family.

Learn more about Helen

Rachel Lacey - Insurance and money expert

Rachel’s a self-confessed money nerd who’s been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years. She spent 17 years writing for Moneywise, including a few years as Editor, and likes making complicated subjects like insurance, pensions, investing and tax, easy for people to understand.

Learn more about Rachel

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