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Unoccupied property insurance for landlords

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Insurance for empty rental properties

Your rental property may go through periods of being vacant when you’re in between tenants or when it’s being decorated. Empty properties can be at risk of theft or damage when there’s no one around to spot it, so it’s vital to have the right unoccupied property insurance for landlords in place.  

Frequently asked questions

Why is it important for landlords to have unoccupied property insurance?

As a landlord, you’ll probably find your property has ‘void periods’ where you don’t have a tenant living there. Figures show that the average void period for private landlords towards the end of 2018 was 2.9 weeks, but this average can vary depending on where in the country your rental property is. It might be much longer if there’s a big gap between a tenant moving on and finding a new tenant, or if you need to leave the property empty to carry out maintenance, or if you’ve just bought your buy-to-let and haven’t found a tenant yet. And, of course, you’re likely to have long periods where your rental property is vacant if you let to students.

As well as planning and budgeting for these void periods where you won’t be getting rental income, the other thing you’ll want to think about is landlord insurance.

Will regular insurance cover my unoccupied rental property?

Periods of being empty is one of the reasons why ordinary home insurance is unsuitable for landlords. Regular home insurance policies will often reduce or even refuse cover if a property is empty for longer than 30 consecutive days.

Because of this and other issues, landlords will need to consider specialist landlord insurance that’s tailored to the needs of people renting out properties.

Why does it matter to an insurance provider if a property is empty?

An empty property is considered a greater risk than one with people in it. This is because there isn’t anyone there to spot things that might damage the property – a leak or a break-in, for example.  

How does landlord insurance cover unoccupied properties?

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 to your requirements if you don’t want full cover when the property is empty.

To be covered, you’ll need to meet the conditions set out in the policy, which may include making sure the property is inspected regularly.

What else does landlord insurance cover?

You can get landlord insurance for your building or contents or both. You might want contents insurance if you’re renting out a furnished property. 

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 (public liability) insurance, which can provide cover for legal costs and damages if one of your tenants has an accident at your property.
  • Employers’ liability insurance – a legal requirement if you have any employees: for example, someone who is employed by you to do admin in your office.

How do I get unoccupied property insurance for landlords?

You can use Compare the Market to compare landlord insurance policies, and to see if you could save.

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