Unoccupied property insurance for landlords

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What is unoccupied landlord insurance?

Unoccupied property insurance covers properties that are going to be left empty for longer than regular insurance policies allow.

Landlord insurance will cover unoccupied properties for longer than standard home insurance – typically 60 days. But if your property is going to be unoccupied for longer, you may need specialist unoccupied property insurance.

When do landlords need insurance for an unoccupied property?

It’s a good idea to have unoccupied property insurance if your buy-to-let is going to be empty for 60 days or more. This might happen if:

  • Your tenants have moved out and you haven’t yet found replacements
  • You’re a new landlord, or it’s a new property and you haven’t found tenants
  • It’s a student rental and will be empty over the summer
  • You’re redecorating or doing maintenance.

Empty properties stand a greater risk of being damaged or broken into, because there’s no one around to deter burglars or spot problems such as leaks. That’s why it’s so vital to have the right insurance in place.

What does vacant property insurance cover?

Your insurance should cover your empty property in the event of:

  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Storm damage
  • Subsidence
  • Burst pipes
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Squatters.

To make sure your claim is successful, you’ll need to meet the policy conditions. This may include having certain security measures in place and carrying out regular property inspections.

As with any policy, be sure to check the terms and conditions carefully.

What isn’t covered when insuring an empty house?

Policy exclusions and cover levels vary between insurance providers. Here are some common exclusions to look out for:

  • Unforced entry – theft or damage without sign of forced entry (in other words, you left a door or window unlocked)
  • Damage caused by tradespeople – but this should be covered under their insurance
  • Builders – if you’re having major renovations or building an extension, you might not be covered for any resulting damage or additional repairs.

How much does unoccupied home insurance for landlords cost?

Unoccupied property insurance is usually more expensive than standard insurance because there’s more chance of something going wrong if a property is empty.

But how much you pay will vary depending on:

  • How long the property will be empty
  • How secure it is
  • Where it is
  • The type of building (a second-floor flat or detached house, for example).

How can I keep my unoccupied property safe?

Here are a few ways to protect your empty rental property:

  • Turn off the gas, water and electricity in warmer months to minimise the risk of a leak or fire
  • Keep the heating on low during winter to prevent frozen pipes
  • Make sure doors and windows have secure locks
  • Set up a smart security system, so you’ll be notified of anything untoward
  • Regularly visit the property to make checks
  • Make the property look lived in – mow the lawn, keep curtains open, and don’t let post pile up.

How long does landlord insurance for empty properties last?

Standard landlord insurance will typically cover empty properties for 60 days

Specialist insurance for empty rental properties can last for as long as 12 months

Always check your policy wording as different insurance providers offer different cover.

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to visit my unoccupied property regularly?

Your insurance may stipulate making regular visits to your empty property.

It’s best to visit regularly – ideally weekly – as this will help you spot potential maintenance issues or signs of a break in.

What else does landlord insurance cover?

You can get landlord insurance for your building or contents, or both.

As well as the usual protection against fire, flood and theft, landlord insurance can include:

Rent guarantee cover — this can protect you if your tenants can’t pay their rent

Property owners’ liability — also known as public liability insurance, this covers legal costs and damages if a tenant 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

Rental income protection — this can cover missed rent payments if a fire or flood means you can’t let out the property.

What is a void period?

A void period when there’s no one living at the property.

This is a concern for insurance providers because an empty property is at higher risk of theft or damage (and therefore a claim). 
What qualifies as a void period can vary between insurance providers, so read your policy wording carefully.

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.

Author image Anna McEntee

What our expert says...

“Having an empty rental property is an obvious worry for landlords, but the right insurance can give you peace of mind.

“Knowing you’ll be covered for repairs or replacements should anything happen means you can focus on redecorating or finding the right tenants.”

- Anna McEntee, Insurance comparison expert

Why use Compare the Market?

We compare prices for 10 landlord insurance providers[1] Get a quote in minutes Rated 4.8/5 on Trustpilot[2]

[1] Correct as of September 2023.

[2] As of October 2023, Compare the Market had an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 from 35,144 people who left a review on Trustpilot. The score 4.8 corresponds to the Star Label ‘Excellent’.

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Page last reviewed on 31 AUGUST 2023
by Anna McEntee