The importance of empty property insurance

Posted: 12th Apr 2018

After a winter ravaged by assorted “Beasts from the East”, you might be forgiven for wanting to escape Britain’s unpredictable climate by taking an extended holiday somewhere warm and sunny.

But what happens to the home you have left empty in the meantime? More specifically, what is the position with respect to its continuing insurance cover?

The question becomes even more important because that extended holiday may not be the only reason why your home – or let property if you are a landlord – stands temporarily empty and unoccupied for a while:

  • as the landlord of let property, you may face a void between former tenants moving out and new ones being found;
  • your job might have called you to work away from home – perhaps overseas – for several months at a time;
  • the property might be in the throes of extensive renovation or other building works;
  • if you are moving home, you might have moved into the new house whilst the old one remains empty pending its sale; or
  • you may have an interest in a property that is subject to probate – which is currently unoccupied pending completion of that process.

Implications for your insurance

Whatever the reason for your house or let property standing empty, there is almost certain to be some impact on the home or landlord insurance which usually protects it.

If the property has been empty for more than 30-45 consecutive days, your current insurers typically reduce the scope of the cover on the property to just the basics of protection (the precise interval varies from one insurer to another), and some may even consider the cover to have lapsed altogether after this time.

The reason behind such decisions is that your empty property is exposed to considerably higher risks when there is no one on hand to report what might otherwise be relatively minor incidents requiring repair, but which easily develop into major emergencies if they are not spotted soon enough.

Furthermore, an unoccupied property invariably attracts the unwelcome attention of all manner of illegal activities – from intruders, burglars, squatters and arsonists.

Unoccupied property insurance

To restore the cover needed to safeguard your property, therefore, specialist unoccupied property insurance is required.

This may take a number of forms. Unoccupied property insurance sold by some providers, for example, may only restore still very limited cover – sometimes known as FLEA (protecting the building and its contents against the risks identified by their initials – fire, lightning, explosions and earthquakes, and aircraft).

As our posting on the 27th of December 2017 makes clear, however, unoccupied property insurance arranged by Cover4LetProperty can typically restore the full level of protection you usually require for your property.

In other words, it may restore full protection against loss or damage to the structure and fabric of the building or its contents from such potentially severe risks as flooding, fire, storm damage, escape of water, impacts, vandalism and theft.

Also restored is the all-important property owner’s or landlord’s public liability insurance which grants you indemnity against claims from visitors to the property, neighbours or members of the public who may be injured through some contact with it or have their own property damaged.