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Unoccupied Property Insurance

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Unoccupied property insurance

If you own a property, there may be times when it stands empty for a number of consecutive days. However, if your property is left unoccupied for long periods, this could invalidate or severely restrict the cover on your home insurance or landlord insurance.

If you need to leave your home unoccupied for an extended period, you will typically need unoccupied property insurance (also known as empty house insurance or unoccupied house insurance) rather than standard home insurance.

This will ensure that your home is still protected against unexpected events that cause loss or damage (such as floods, fire and theft) because insurers see leaving your property vacant as a greater risk.

What is unoccupied property insurance?

Unoccupied property insurance is a policy that protects your property when it is left unoccupied for longer periods. This could be for various reasons, including having a property for sale, in between tenants, where a property is undergoing probate, extended holidays or property renovations.​

What is the difference between unoccupied property, empty property and vacant property?

While you may hear these different terms for an empty property, there is no difference. They are all the same.

Why might a property be unoccupied?

  • You’ve inherited the property and it is currently undergoing probate.
  • You’ve left it up for sale after you’ve moved out into your new place.
  • You’ve moved out while builders or decorators get work done.
  • You’re going to be away on business or an extended holiday.

Reasons why you may need empty house insurance

Common reasons for taking out empty house insurance cover include:

  • Having a property that needs insurance until probate is granted.
  • Property being uninhabitable due to renovations and repairs.
  • You are working away from home or having an extended holiday.
  • You are a landlord with a rental void.

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What does unoccupied property insurance cover?

This varies from policy to policy, with some policies being very restricted and offering just fire cover. However, we also provide comprehensive policies, including escape of water, theft, vandalism and malicious damage.

Why do insurers require empty property insurance?

If your normal insurance becomes invalid when the property is left empty after a number of consecutive days (typically 30-60 days, depending on your insurer – please check your policy for details), it may seem clear that special unoccupied property insurance is necessary.

But what is the reason for the existing cover ceasing to offer its customary safeguards in the first place?

As with most issues to do with insurance, it is about risk and, in this case, the specific risks of an empty property.

In addition to the usual perils of fire, flood, storm damage, impacts, theft and vandalism, an empty building is more likely to come to the attention of vandals, arsonists, squatters and other undesirable intruders. All of whom may cause considerable damage.

Repair and maintenance issues in an empty property may also be fraught with greater danger and risks. A relatively minor repair, for example, may develop into a major incident if there is no one there to report the matter and take the appropriate action.

What happens if you leave a house empty?

If you leave your house empty, you should notify your insurance company as there may be restrictions on your policy. If you do not currently have a policy, we can offer you an empty house insurance quote, enabling you to select the most cost-effective and appropriate solution for you.

Won’t my current home insurance policy suffice if my property is empty?

If you have a property that is standing empty for more than 30-60 consecutive days, then typically (but not always), your current home insurance or landlord insurance will not suffice, and you may require specialist insurance.

If the property stands empty (and the property can still be vacant or empty even if there is furniture in it), the cover provided by your existing property insurance may become severely restricted or even void.

This is because vacant properties are typically more at risk than occupied properties, as they are more likely to succumb to theft, squatters and vandalism.

Also, any damage that goes unnoticed because no one is there to spot it – for example, a small leak – can cause extensive, costly-to-repair damage.

Because of these additional risks, empty house insurance is typically required.

Why do I need to tell my insurance provider that my home will be unoccupied?

Insurance providers tend to consider an unoccupied home riskier than a home with people living in it. The chances of water damage, vandalism or break-ins are likely to be higher when there is no one at home to spot issues quickly or prevent them.

Every insurance provider will have a different view on unoccupied properties, so you’ll need to speak to yours directly to find out what level of cover they’ll offer under an empty house insurance policy.

What if I fail to tell my insurance provider?

You’ll run the risk of invalidating your home insurance policy if you fail to tell your insurance provider that your home is going to be unoccupied for a longer period than is set out in your policy. If you need to make a claim, your insurance provider may refuse to pay it.

How often should an empty house be checked?

How often you will need to check on your empty house will vary depending on the insurance policy. However, we have unoccupied building insurance policies that have inspection requirements of every 7, 14 and 30 days.

Typically, these checks will need to be logged and are designed to ensure that everything is in order and that there are no maintenance problems or other issues (such as a leak).

Who will insure an empty property?

Not all property insurance providers will provide unoccupied property insurance – or they may, but will have limited options.

It is also important to remember that insurance policies are not all the same. Policy terms and conditions may vary depending on the policy and the insurer. For example, you might find there are certain restrictions placed on your insurance policy only while it’s unoccupied, but the rest of the time, normal service remains.

Here at UKinsuranceNET, we are specialists in insuring an empty house, with over 20 years of experience in this area. We can help you to find what we believe is the most suitable and cost-effective house insurance for unoccupied properties.

Get an instant online quote in minutes. If you'd prefer to talk, call us on 01325 346328

How long must a property be empty before my home insurance becomes invalid or restricted?

The majority of property insurers are happy to cover an unoccupied property for a short period (typically up to 30-45 consecutive days, depending on the insurer) with no alteration to the policy.

However, as part of your insurance contract with your provider, you may find you are obliged to heat the property and/or have regular, logged checks made by an authorised person in your absence. This log of checks may be requested if you make a claim.

Once this period has been exceeded, insurers often dramatically reduce cover or withdraw it altogether. There are a few insurers that will continue with full cover, but these are likely to be subject to terms and conditions.

That is why vacant property insurance exists and why you may wish to consider a specialist unoccupied insurance policy if you have a vacant property.

We can help you to access the most cost-effective and appropriate cover for your needs. That might include home insurance for the empty property as well as landlord insurance for property that is awaiting an occupant.

Does it cost more to insure an empty house?

In most cases, yes, it does cost more to insure an empty house. This is because while no one is living in the property, damage can go undetected for longer. For example, a small leak that goes unnoticed can cause extensive damage in a relatively short time – causing a higher claim amount.

This means that any successful insurance claims may typically be higher. The cost of unoccupied property insurance reflects this increased risk.

Can I take unoccupied property insurance over a shorter term, as I may not need 12 months cover?

Yes, at UKinsuranceNET we understand that the need for flexible empty house insurance. That’s why we have many policies that offer different policy terms, including 3 months, 6 months and 9 months.

We also offer various monthly Direct Debit options, for your convenience.

What else do I need to know?

As with any insurance policy, there will be terms, conditions and exclusions that you need to consider. These could relate to your obligations when the property is empty (as detailed above) as well as circumstances that may not be covered. These will all be disclosed within your policy documents.

To find out more about unoccupied property insurance, please feel free to get in touch. At UKinsuranceNET we will be happy to help you with your unoccupied house insurance comparison or unoccupied landlord insurance comparison.

We will help you find what we believe is the most suitable and cost-effective solution for you from a range of empty property insurance policies.

Get an instant online quote in minutes. If you'd prefer to talk, call us on 01325 346328

Why choose UKinsuranceNET?

We are specialists in the provision of empty property insurance.

We know that there is no one-size fits-all solution. The specialist insurance that meets your individual needs has to be tailored to your particular circumstances, the nature of the property involved, and the length of time you expect it to stand empty.

Our personalised customer service is backed by a combined total of 20 years of experience in this specialist area of property insurance. Therefore, you can have total confidence in dealing with a company that has grown to become one of the UK’s leading UK insurers.

Check out our verified independent customer reviews, where a resounding 98% of customers say they would recommend our services. Read our reviews.

Good to know

When choosing an empty property insurance policy, it is vital to ensure that you select the one most suited to your requirements. In addition, make certain that you thoroughly check your vacant home insurance policy to gain peace of mind that you are not excluded from making a claim under any exemptions.

This includes any obligations you may have under the cover, such as making regular, logged checks of the property, and keeping the heating at an ambient temperature when the weather is cold.

If you have any questions or queries when getting your unoccupied property insurance quote, please do not hesitate to contact us for clarification.

Tips for keeping your property safe

There are several ways that you can keep your property safe while it is empty, such as:

Avoid frozen and burst pipes by keeping your heating and hot water on a low setting. This will also help with any boiler issues as it keeps ticking over. You may find that under the terms and conditions of your empty property insurance, that at certain times of the year you will be required to keep the home at an ambient temperature to avoid burst or frozen pipes.

You can also help to keep criminals at bay by ensuring that your house doesn’t look empty. Ask someone to collect your post regularly to avoid newspapers and letters from keeping your letterbox open. Or you can ask Royal Mail to keep it safe for you while you’re away with a redirection service.

Ask someone trustworthy to open and close the curtains and consider adding timers to your lights so that they come on at regular intervals.

Still not sure?

Check out our verified independent customer reviews where 98% of customers say they would recommend our services. Read our reviews

Get an instant online quote in minutes. If you'd prefer to talk, call us on 01325 346328

Frequently Asked Questions

All policies are different, you should check your documents. A few common exclusions include:

Unforced entry – Leaving doors unlocked or someone accessing the property with keys leading to loss or damage.

Structural repairs – If you are having work such as extensions done on your property, you will need specialist Extension Insurance so your standard home insurance policy will not cover these damages.

Contractors – Normally contractors have their own insurance, so your policy will not cover their damages.

This request is not unusual, normally we are able to arrange insurance depending on the sum insured and other underwriting criteria.

Please contact us to discuss further.

Give us a call or apply online and explain/detail the circumstances in which they have declined to cover you and we will do our best to arrange cover for you.

Please be completely honest in your application as any misleading information or inaccurate information may invalidate a claim.