Unoccupied Property Insurance

Buildings are left vacant for various reasons; perhaps a home is undergoing refurbishment or is awaiting sale or probate. Even though a property may be temporarily or permanently unoccupied, it is still a valuable asset that requires protection from risks.

Why Do I need Vacant Property Insurance?

You may already have home or building insurance in place to protect your home or commercial premises, but most policies will not offer cover if a building has been left empty for 60 days consecutively. Sometimes this can be as few as 28 days. This is where unoccupied property insurance comes into play, as claims made during a period where a building has been left empty for an extended period of time will not be covered by a standard policy.

Unoccupied & Vacant Property Insurance

Empty properties are seen as a higher risk than those with regular tenants. There is less chance of maintenance, utilities can deteriorate, they are also a magnet for vandalism, graffiti and unwelcome visitors.

Although some insurers will not quote for unoccupied premises as standalone policies, others will and their premium will vary widely. However, there are several ways you can increase the pool of insurers that will quote for your risk and reduce the quoted premium:

  • Ensuring the central heating is turned off when the property is empty.
  • Arranging regular inspections of the unoccupied property.
  • Securing windows, letter boxes and doors to prevent vandalism.
  • Advise why it is empty; if it is for renovations, how long will they take, how long are contractors on-site for?

It is also important to consider what type of coverage you need:

  • If you are carrying out renovations yourself, are you leaving tools on-site that need cover too?
  • Do you need liability insurance for contractors?
  • Is there any onsite security?
  • Do you intend to occupy the premises yourself or will it be leased to a third party?

Flying in the face of the well-publicised housing shortage, in 2015 there were 610,123 reportedly unoccupied dwellings in England alone, plus a multitude of unoccupied commercial properties. Properties can remain unoccupied for numerous reasons:

  • Renovation work
  • The owner unable to afford restoration work
  • Growing trend of ‘buy and leave’, especially in London
  • Probate
  • Between tenants
  • Elderly owners going into care of extended hospital stays

How Important is Unoccupied Home Insurance?

Just because you or a tenant are not living or actively working in the property you own, it doesn’t stop it being subjected to all manner of risks on a daily basis. Ab ricks and mortar is still your asset; it is valuable and need protection.

The 30-day Rule on Home Insurance

In terms of home insurance, most insurers will cover you for 30, if not 60 days of consecutive in-occupancy; this is to cover things like holidays, work commitments and unexpected hospital stays. Anything longer than this will need to be notified to your insurer and probably additional cover will need to be taken out. Commercial properties may not cover this at all, similarly if you rent a home to a tenant. Any claims made in excess of the allowable days will likely be declined, on a reduced payout or certain risks exempted.

Double Check the Risks to Your Empty Property

Unoccupied property insurance will typically cover storm, fire, flood and theft. Liability insurance could also be included, for example, if your pipes burst and the resultant water damage also affected a neighbouring property. However, malicious damage will probably be excluded. If this is an important feature, check for exclusions or take affirmative action, such as increased security precautions.

Vacant Property Insurance Doesn’t have to be an Annual Policy

You may be undertaking contracted work which will last for a set period of time. It is entirely possible to purchase an insurance policy for less than 12 months

Specialist Cover for Empty Buildings

Additional cover may be required if your building is made of nonstandard construction, is listed, has a thatched roof or resides in a known flood area.

Make sure Empty Properties are Secure

  • Insurers will not want to touch buildings in a poor state of repair or those suffering from obvious dilapidations, like boarded up houses.
  • Make sure that all windows and doors are closed and secured with appropriate, approved locks.
  • Fit a burglar alarm or CCTV.
  • Switch off your utilities, except heating which should put on the lowest setting to stop pipes freezing in cold weather.
  • Arrange for someone to check up on the property on a regular basis to remove postal deliveries and ensure there are no obvious signs of problems.
  • Remove valuables.
  • Consider timer switches for lights and curtains.
  • If you have one, offer your driveway to neighbours to park in.

Unoccupied Property Insurance For Homes And Commercial Buildings

Insure 24-7 are able to provide our clients empty building insurance policies for commercial and domestic properties.

We will tailor a competitively priced policy to suit your exact requirements, so whether you want to protect your home whilst you take an extended holiday, or protect your place of business whilst it’s empty for renovations, we’ve got you covered.

How Much Does Vacant Property Insurance Cost?

The cost of insurance for unoccupied properties is affected by a number of variables, including;

  • Value and size of the property
  • Is it a domestic or commercial property?
  • How long will the building be left vacant for?
  • Is the building secured against break in?
  • Are additional security measures (fences, CCTV, guards etc.) in place?

Get An Insurance Quote For Empty Properties

If you would like a free no obligation quote for unoccupied property insurance then please do not hesitate to contact Insure 24-7. Our expert brokers will be able to quote you a competitively priced policy that is tailored to your exact requirements.