Are you heading off anywhere exciting for your holidays this summer? Some people, of course, are going to be lucky enough to pack extra-large suitcases for a trip of a lifetime or an extended stay with family or friends who live abroad.
In the excitement of preparing and packing for that long stay holiday, it is worth sparing a thought or two for the home you are leaving behind.
Is it locked, secured, deliveries cancelled and being left with someone to keep a wary eye on it from time to time? Above all else, is your home adequately insured?
Long stay absences and unoccupied property
Our guide to insuring your home if you are taking a long stay holiday explains the connection with a specialist product known as unoccupied property insurance.
Essentially, if your home is going to be left empty and unoccupied for any length of time – whilst you are away for an extended holiday, for instance – it becomes vulnerable to a number of risks and perils over and above the normal state of affairs:
- an otherwise fairly routine maintenance task, might develop into a full-blown disaster if there is no one at home to spot the problem and take the appropriate action – a dripping tap, for example, might get steadily worse until your whole home becomes flooded;
- an empty property also tends to be a magnet for all manner of unwelcome attention – from burglars to squatters, vandals to arsonists, to name but a few.
As property managers the VPS Group explains, an empty property becomes far more exposed to otherwise everyday risks.
Your standard home insurance
It is because of these heightened risks that your current home building and contents insurance is almost certain to contain a provision in the small print that severely restricts the cover provided, or even treats your policy as lapsed altogether, once it has been unoccupied for a period greater than between 30 and 60 consecutive days – the exact interval varying from one insurer to another.
As a result, the home you left as you set off on your long stay holiday, fairly rapidly loses the protection you had so carefully arranged to safeguard the property when you are in residence.
Unoccupied property insurance
That is why a standalone alternative, unoccupied property insurance, becomes necessary to restoring the protection your home requires throughout the period of your absence.
It is typically a very flexible form of cover, which you may choose to provide as comprehensive a level of cover as you normally enjoy when you are at home, or you might choose to accept a more basic level of cover.
It also comes with the flexibility of providing cover for the period that you are going to be away – you might choose to buy it for just three or six months, depending on the length of your holiday, rather than the full 12 months to which you are committed with other types of insurance.
If circumstances change, and you are able to extend your holiday still further, then unoccupied property insurance is once again sufficiently flexible to be renewed for that additional period.