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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, which could invalidate or severely restrict the cover on your home insurance or landlords insurance

In cases like this, you may 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, theft etc.) as 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 on an extended holiday.​

Reasons why you may need empty house insurance

Reasons for requiring cover for your unoccupied property may include:

  • Having a property left in a will by a friend or relative that needs insurance until probate is granted;
  • Property being uninhabitable due to renovation or repairs;
  • You are working away from home or having an extended holiday for a period longer than your home insurance may allow;
  • You are a landlord with an extended unoccupancy period between rentals;
  • and so on.

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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 likely to come to the particular – and wholly unwelcome – 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’s 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 designed to ensure that everything is in order and there are no maintenance problems or other issues (such as a leak).

Who will insure an empty property?

Not all property insurance providers may 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 find what we believe is the most suitable and cost-effective house insurance for unoccupied properties.

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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.

As part of your insurance contract with your provider, however, 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 again these are subject to terms and conditions.

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

We can help you access the most cost-effective and appropriate cover for your needs, providing home insurance for the empty property as well as landlords 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 no one is living in the property, and therefore, damage can go undetected for longer. For example, an unnoticed leak 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 is essential. So, 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, too, 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 be mindful of. These could relate to your obligations when the property is empty (as touched on 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 pleased 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. 

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Why choose us at UKinsuranceNET?

We are specialists in the provision of empty property insurance.

We know that no one size fits all and that 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 and you may have 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 fantastic 98% of customers would recommend our services. Check 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 have 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 on 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 some ways that you can help when your house is empty such as:

Avoiding 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 makes it tick over, rather than staying off before firing it up again. You may find that under the terms and conditions of your empty property insurance, you will be required at certain times of the year to keep the home at an ambient temperature to avoid burst, frozen pipes etc.

Keeping criminals at bay by making sure your house doesn’t look empty. Ask someone to collect your post regularly to avoid newspapers etc 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.

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

Still not sure?

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