Why is it important for landlords to have unoccupied property insurance?
Your rental property may go through periods of being vacant, for example when you’re in between tenants, or taking the opportunity to redecorate or carry out maintenance. While your property is empty, it’s more at risk of being damaged or broken into, because there’s no one around to deter potential burglars or spot problems, such as leaks. It’s vital to have the right insurance in place to make sure you’re covered.
Landlord insurance will cover unoccupied properties for longer than standard home insurance. But if your property is going to be unoccupied for a very long period, you may need specialist unoccupied property insurance.
When do landlords need unoccupied property insurance?
It’s a good idea to have unoccupied property insurance if the rental property you own is going to be empty for 30 days or more. For example, if:
- Your tenants have moved out and you haven’t found anyone to replace them yet
- You’re a new landlord or it’s a new property and you haven’t found tenants yet
- It’s a student rental, so it’s empty over the summer
- You’re redecorating or doing maintenance work
What does unoccupied property insurance for landlords cover?
Landlord insurance often offers a longer period of cover for unoccupied properties than regular home insurance – around 60 days and up to 120 days if it’s a student property. You may also be able to tailor your cover if you don’t want full cover when the property is empty.
Specialist unoccupied property insurance is also available, which you can usually get for periods of three, six, nine or 12 months.
While your property is empty, your insurance should cover:
- Storm damage
- Burst pipes
To make sure you’ll be able to make a successful claim if you need to, you’ll need to meet the conditions set out in the policy. This may include having certain types of security in place and regular property inspections. With any policy, be sure to check the terms and conditions carefully.
How can I keep my unoccupied property safe?
There are a few things you can do to protect your rental property while it’s empty:
- Turn off the gas, water and electricity in warmer months to minimise the risk of a leak or fire.
- During winter, keep the heating on low to prevent frozen pipes.
- Make sure all the doors and windows have secure locks.
- Set up a smart security system, so you’ll be notified of anything untoward.
- Visit the property regularly to make checks
- Make the property look lived in – don’t let the post pile up, mow the lawn and keep curtains open.
Is unoccupied property insurance more expensive than normal landlord insurance?
Yes, usually unoccupied property insurance is more expensive because there’s greater chance of something going wrong if a property is empty.
However, costs vary depending on how long the property will be empty, how secure it is, where it is and the type of building it is (a second-floor flat or detached house, for example).
Frequently asked questions
Will regular insurance cover my unoccupied rental property?
Standard landlord insurance may cover short periods of unoccupancy – this is one of the ways it differs to normal home insurance. But you’ll need specialist unoccupied property insurance if your rental property will be empty for very long periods.
Do I need to visit my unoccupied property regularly?
The conditions of your landlord unoccupied property insurance may state that you need to make regular visits, and how often. Usually, it’s best if you keep an eye on your empty property by visiting weekly, because this will help you spot any maintenance that needs doing, or signs of a break in.
Do I have to turn off mains supplies for water and gas etc.?
Unless you need to keep the heating on low to prevent frozen pipes in the colder months, most insurance policies specify that utilities need to be switched off.
What else does landlord insurance cover?
As well as the typical home insurance protections against fire, flood and theft, landlord insurance can include:
Rent guarantee cover. This can protect you if your tenants are unable to pay their rent.
Property owners’ liability. Also known as public liability insurance, this can provide cover for legal costs and damages if one of your tenants has an accident at your property.
Employers’ liability insurance. This is a legal requirement if you have any employees who aren’t immediate family members. You’d need it for someone who is employed by you to do admin in your office, for example.
Rental income protection. This can cover you for the rent that you’d otherwise have been entitled to, if you can’t rent your property out because of fire or flood damage, for example.
What do I need to get a quote?
It’s easy to get a quote. Just answer some questions about the property and your tenants, then we’ll search the top insurance providers to help find the right deals for you.
From the Business team
“Having an empty rental property is an obvious worry for landlords, but the right insurance can give you a bit more peace of mind.
“Knowing you’ll be covered for repairs or replacements if anything should happen to your property means you can focus on redecorating or finding the right tenants.”
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