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7 Occasions you need specialised house insurance for an empty house

An empty room with boxes and ladder
25 March 2024

By UKinsuranceNET In Unoccupied Property Advice

You can’t take out specialised insurance if you don’t know when or why you need it.

So we’ve compiled this guide to seven instances where you really should get house insurance for an empty house, shedding light on the importance of protecting your property during periods of vacancy.

Whether you’re between tenants, undergoing renovations, or travelling extensively, ensuring you have adequate cover for your unoccupied home is paramount.

Why do you need specialised house insurance for an empty house?

Properties left unoccupied for extended periods are significantly more vulnerable to a range of risks, including fire, flood, storm damage and impacts – particularly in the eyes of insurers.

Even seemingly minor incidents like burst pipes or electrical faults can lead to extensive damage to the property if left unattended.

There’s also the potential threat of break-ins, vandalism and theft. Without the regular presence of occupants, the risk of unauthorised entry goes up considerably, making the property an attractive target for opportunistic criminals.

Unoccupied Property Insurance, also known as “vacant house insurance” provides cover against these perils, offering financial protection in the event of property damage or loss due to burglary or vandalism.

7 times you need specialised insurance

There are various occasions when you might not even realise you need specialised cover, including the following:

1. You’ve inherited a property that’s undergoing probate

Inheriting a property can be both a blessing and a curse, especially when the estate is going through probate.

The same can be said if you’re an executor mandated to protect the assets of the deceased.

In the midst of such challenging times, the thought of amending the Home Insurance to a specialised product that covers a period of extended vacancy might be the last thing on your mind.

But, whether you’re an inheritor or an executor, you really must get the right cover to protect the property.

2. You’ve left it up for sale after you’ve moved into your new place

They say moving house is one of life’s most stressful events and a large part of that has to do with the buying and selling process.

Selling a property can be a lengthy process, and unforeseen events can often disrupt the selling timeline.

Whether it’s an unexpected downturn in the market or difficulties finding a buyer, you’d be well-advised to safeguard your investment correctly during this transitional period.

If you’ve already moved into your new home and your sale property remains vacant, you’ll want to invest in Unoccupied Property Insurance for that reassuring extra layer of financial protection it brings.

That way you’ll be covered against potential risks and uncertainties until your home is sold.

3. You’ve moved out while builders or decorators get work done

Leaving a house unoccupied while builders or decorators carry out renovation or improvement work presents unique risks that should prompt the purchase of specialised cover.

But how many of us remember to do so, let alone speak to our insurers to discuss potential works, when refurbishments are in the pipeline?

Renovation projects can inadvertently damage your property. Whether it’s structural alterations, plumbing installations, or electrical rewiring, the risk of accidental damage increases significantly.

Unoccupied properties undergoing renovation are also vulnerable to theft, vandalism and squatting. Valuable materials, tools and equipment on-site can attract thieves, while the lack of occupants makes the property an easy target for vandals.

Renovation projects often involve contractors, subcontractors, and other workers who may be exposed to potential hazards on the property.

Injuries or accidents occurring during construction can result in legal liabilities for homeowners if they’re found to be negligent in maintaining a safe working environment.

The bottom line? Securing house insurance for your empty house can cover all these eventualities.

4. You’re going to be away on business for an extended period

Leaving your home unoccupied while you embark on an extended business trip can open the doors to all the same unforeseen risks and challenges that we associate with a vacant property.

If you’re likely to be out of the country for more than a month, you can navigate your professional commitments with renewed confidence knowing that you have adequate insurance in place should anything happen while you’re away.

While it might be tempting to risk it and hope that your standard Home Insurance will cover you, you might be in for a nasty shock on your return if your extended business trip invalidates your insurance.

This could leave you liable for the costs of any damage or loss that occurs while the property is unoccupied.

5. You’re taking a sabbatical, travelling or wintering abroad

Embarking on a sabbatical, travelling, or wintering abroad marks an exciting chapter filled with new experiences and adventures.

While you’re likely to be swept up in all the planning, route mapping and buying of tickets, one thing that can easily fall off your itinerary is purchasing specialised insurance to protect your home.

Just as you shouldn’t leave home without your travel insurance, be sure to arrange some Unoccupied Property Insurance while you’re at it.

That way you, your travel companions and baggage items are protected and your home is financially protected should any unforeseen circumstances happen to any of you while you’re away.

6. You’re a landlord and you’re struggling to find new tenants

Being a landlord comes with its own set of challenges.

One of which is dealing with a vacancy in your rental property and struggling to find new tenants. Finding new tenants can take time, during which the property may remain unoccupied.

Gaining appropriate cover can reassure you that your rental property is protected against certain risks while you put all your focus and energy into finding suitable tenants.

Without tenants occupying the property, risks can escalate quickly and lead to costly repairs. You also still have a duty of care to ensure the property is safe and well-maintained.

This includes addressing potential hazards that could cause harm to others, such as slip hazards or structural defects.

Many policies often include liability cover, which can protect you from potential legal expenses and compensation claims resulting from accidents or injuries on the property during a vacancy period.

7. You or your relative are going into short-term care

When you or a loved one are going into short-term care, either due to health concerns or rehabilitation needs, it’s crucial to take care of the insurance implications of leaving your property unoccupied.

Leaving a property unattended during a short-term stay in care poses risks, which you could probably do without during what is likely a stressful time.

So, whilst Home Insurance is unlikely to be top of mind when making your care arrangements, we highly recommend taking measures to purchase specialised insurance well before the house is left empty.

By securing adequate cover, you can focus on matters in hand with confidence, knowing that your property is protected against potential hazards and liabilities during your absence or your relative’s stay in care.

For more useful information, read this related blog: Going into care? Be sure to arrange Unoccupied Property Insurance.

Safeguard unoccupied property today with UKinsuranceNET

Safeguarding your unoccupied property is paramount, especially during transitional periods like short-term care or building projects.

UKinsuranceNET gives you access to specialised Unoccupied Property Insurance tailored to your unique needs.

Don’t leave your property unprotected, safeguard your investment with insurance solutions from UKinsuranceNET.

If you need cover, get an instant online quote at UKinsuranceNET now.

Or feel free to contact us on 01325 346 328, from 8:30-19:00 Monday to Friday or 9:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays, to speak to an adviser.

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