When asked if you own an unoccupied property, you might have in mind an abandoned and derelict house, and promptly dismiss the question.
If it’s your own home that you live in for most of the year, commercial property which is usually in use for your business, or accommodation which is normally let to tenants, you might simply rely on the home or other property insurance which you keep in place throughout the year.
The holiday period
When you go off on your holidays – especially if they are going to last more than a month or so – any one of those properties might become formally described as “unoccupied”.
You might be leaving your home empty, shutting up shop on your business whilst you take the holiday, or taking the opportunity of going away whilst your buy to let accommodation is vacated by tenants who have given notice and before replacements have moved in.
In any of these cases, it is important that you check the finer detail of your home or other property insurance.
This is necessary because practically any insurer has a cut-off period for the number of consecutive days that the property is left empty and unoccupied, after which the extent and level of insurance become severely limited or even lapses altogether.
That period might be as short as 30 days or as long as 60 days (a typical period is 45 consecutive days) – it varies from one insurer to another. And that is why you need to check the period stipulated in your particular insurance policy before you go away on holiday – especially if it’s an extended one.
The reasons for insurers’ wariness in rolling back the level of normal cover is simply summed up by property specialists Safe Site Security Solutions which proclaims that unoccupied property is vulnerable property – vulnerable to criminal activities, trespassers and the elements.
Wind and watertight protection against the elements and an inspection for any maintenance which needs to be carried out are reasons enough for your making sure to visit the property before you go on holiday.
Unoccupied property insurance
To restore the insurance cover which your property is going to need after the 30 to 60 days in which it has been left empty, however, you need unoccupied property insurance – and in our knowledge base, we have published the most frequently asked questions on empty property insurance.
Recognising that there are any number of different types of this kind of insurance, we have also identified the particular need for unoccupied property insurance for long stay holidays.
You are still advised to pay a visit to any property you are planning to leave unoccupied and make sure that it is a good state of repair, with no unattended maintenance issues, suitably protected against the elements, and with sufficient security in place to deter criminals and intruders. You may also need to arrange regular visits and inspections – by trusted friends, relatives or a property management company whilst you are away.
With your unoccupied property insurance safely in place, you may confidently go away on your holiday in the knowledge that the safeguards to which you have become accustomed are still in force.
Further reading: Unoccupied property guide.