The government estimates that there more than 635,000 homes lying empty in England alone and that about 216,000 of them have been empty for more than six months.
These statistics may conjure up pictures of genuinely abandoned or derelict properties, but there may also be good reasons for homes in perfectly good condition – whether normally occupied by their owners or by a landlord’s tenants – becoming empty and vacant. For instance:
- the property may be subject to probate before its eventual fate may be determined;
- it may have been a marital home now awaiting the settlement of divorce proceedings;
- the owners may have left for an extended holiday visiting relatives overseas;
- work commitments may mean that the owner may be living elsewhere for the duration of the employment contract;
- the property may be undergoing extensive refurbishment or renovation, making it unfit for habitation for the duration of the building works; or
- a let property may be vacant during the interval between one set of tenants moving out and the time it takes to sign up new tenants.
These are all likely to be properties protected by standard home or landlords insurance. Included in the small print of such policies, however, is almost certainly the warning that if the premises are left empty for more than 30-45 consecutive days (depending on the particular insurer in question) continuing cover is severely restricted or even non-existent.
Unoccupied property insurance
In such a situation, there are various forms of standalone insurance policies specifically designed to maintain a degree of protection for empty or vacant properties.
Even when arranging unoccupied property insurance, however, you might want to consult a specialist provider – such as those of us here at Cover4LetProperty – since there may still be different levels of protection offered by different policies, principally for example:
- FLEA – cover which is restricted to the perils of fire, lightening, aircraft and explosion;
- FLEEA – that which includes the fire, lightening, aircraft and explosion risks of FLEA but also adds the peril of earthquakes;
- all risks – which includes all of the risks included in FLEEA cover but also restores to your property protection against the full range of perils typically covered by your standard home or landlord insurance, in other words, including such risks as storm damage, flooding, theft, malicious damage and theft, for example.
To make sure that you empty property continues to be covered against all the risks against which you expect it to be protected, therefore, you might want to make sure that the provider you are asking to arrange the cover is a specialist in unoccupied property insurance.
When arranging your empty property insurance you may also want to take advantage of being able to buy it online yet also to be able to discuss your particular needs or ask questions of a living, breathing person by telephone. That is why we offer just such a free telephone helpline.
When you consult a specialist provider, therefore, you may be assured of the type of personalised service which may be absent if you are dealing with a large national chain or buying direct from an insurer.