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Quote Ref: UKIN01

What to Look for When Buying Unoccupied Property Cover

Man selling a house
28 November 2020

By UKinsuranceNET In Unoccupied Property Advice

Probably the most important consideration when buying any kind of insurance is to choose the policy that most closely suits your needs and circumstances. This is especially true of empty property cover since your own home, holiday home, let residential property or commercial premises may be at stake.

What is it?

Empty property insurance, or unoccupied property insurance, is just that – cover for your property during those periods when it is left unoccupied. According to latest statistics there are around 700,000 properties in the UK, which may be unoccupied for any number of reasons, such as:

  • renovation, refurbishment or other building works that mean it is temporarily uninhabitable;
  • periods during the year when neither the owner nor anyone else is using a second home;
  • the property being subject to probate, pending a decision on its longer-term future;
  • let property is awaiting the arrival of new tenants; or
  • the owner’s work takes them to another part of the country, or even overseas, for several months at a time.

Because of the heightened risk of loss or damage whilst a property is unoccupied, most home insurers reduce the level of cover or treat the cover as lapsed if it is left empty for more than a typical period of 30 consecutive days. The actual definition of an unoccupied property may vary from one insurer to another but is generally in the range between 30 and 45 consecutive days.

Empty property insurance – of the kind we specialise in here at UKinsuranceNET – is a standalone policy which ensures that comprehensive protection is maintained whilst your property is unoccupied.

What to look for

If you are in search of this type of insurance you may need to ensure that it suits your individual needs and circumstances, together with a number of other considerations such as:

  • the cover being suitable for your particular type of property – whether owner occupied or let property, for example;
  • if yours is otherwise regarded as a non-standard property – such as a building converted into individual flats, a listed building, or of an unusual type of construction – you are still likely to need comprehensive empty house insurance;
  • if your property is located in an area previously subject to flooding, you may want to choose an insurer prepared to take on this risk, since some may not;
  • the cover extends to the risks you need to be covered – such as theft, malicious damage or escape of water;
  • cover is extended even if the vacancy is a result of fairly minor works – for the fitting and installation of a new bathroom or kitchen, for example;
  • on the other hand, you may need an insurer prepared to offer cover for the duration of major renovation works;
  • if your property is likely to stand empty for an indefinite period of time, you might want to make sure that your insurer imposes no time restriction on the length of that period;
  • the amount of excess you need to pay in the event of a claim – including that for any escape of water – may also be an important consideration;
  • you may also want to take into account the degree of building security and inspection any insurer expects you to take during the period it is unoccupied – in this connection, there are specialist property inspection services you may wish to consider.

In short, there is a long list of considerations you may want to take into account when arranging your empty property insurance and, for that reason you may regard the services of a specialist empty house insurance provider to be invaluable.

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