How to compare unoccupied property insurance

Posted: 3rd Jun 2014

If your property is standing empty for a period of 30 consecutive days or more then you may wish to compare unoccupied property insurance to provide specialist cover for this type of situation.

Many people may think that vacant property insurance is purely the domain of a landlord, but it is not just buy to let properties that may need this form of protection. Owner-occupied property may also be at risk if left standing empty for extended periods and any existing home buildings and contents insurance may become invalid after 30 consecutive days.

This may be as the result of:

  • the property being in probate;
  • perhaps there is a divorce settlement pending;
  • you may be on an extended business trip;
  • you may have treated yourself to an extended holiday;
  • building or refurbishing work may have over run;
  • you may be finding it difficult to find new tenants for your buy to let property.

Whatever the reason, if your property has no one living in it for a period of 30 days or more then it may fall into the insurance categorisation of ‘unoccupied’ – in which case you may need to compare unoccupied property insurance to supplement your landlord insurance cover or your home insurance.

The reason for this is that when a property is empty it may be more at risk than when there are people living in it:

  • if there is no one around, small problems may become more serious very quickly, resulting in more damage and potentially greater cost;
  • thieves and vandals may target properties which are empty, with unkempt gardens and dark windows being the most obvious tell-tale signs.

So what sort of things should you be looking for if you’re about to compare unoccupied property insurance?

Perhaps things such as:

  • unoccupied for the purposes of this type of insurance cover means that there is no one living there – the property doesn’t have to be empty of furnishings etc and having builders around during the day doesn’t count;
  • are there special terms and conditions in the policy? Some policies, for example, may require that the property is inspected regularly and have ongoing maintenance work carried out as required;
  • it may be necessary to keep a log of inspection visits and any work carried out;
  • draining down water and heating systems, particularly over the winter months, may also be included in some terms and conditions.

Your landlord insurance may provide you with the cover you need on a day-to-day basis. If your property is without tenants though, you may wish to compare u