The purpose of an unoccupied property insurance quote

Posted: 3rd Jun 2014

You may have seen mention of an unoccupied property insurance quote and wondered just what this related to:

  • typical landlord insurance is designed to cover a property that is occupied or unoccupied for short periods (e.g. annual holidays etc) – this also typically applies to owner-occupied properties;
  • insurers may allow a period of up to around 30 consecutive days as being considered temporarily unoccupied but once it passes 30 days, the property may move into formally being designed as unoccupied and elements of your insurance (or in some cases, perhaps the entire policy) may become invalid;
  • that condition may apply even if you have had no real control over the reason for the property sitting unoccupied – so it may become categorised as such even in situations where (e.g.) new tenants failed to arrive on the anticipated date or building works seriously overran etc;
  • to ensure continuity of cover, you may need to consider obtaining an unoccupied property insurance quote;
  • if you do take out such cover to protect your interests, you may find that you are obliged to take certain steps to protect your own and the insurer’s interests – that may include things such as periodically visiting the property to check for signs of damage or deterioration and making sure that you maintain some form of logbook recording the dates of your visits plus any work carried out;
  • you may also be obliged to do things such as ensuring that the garden is kept tidy or perhaps that lights are left on timer switches – these are things designed, of course, to make the property appear occupied if being checked out by potential burglars;
  • these general principles apply irrespective of whether or not your property is furnished or empty at the time – the key concept applicable is whether or not it is occupied or unoccupied.

It may not be advisable to take chances where unoccupied property is involved – insurers may have ways of checking the very precise occupancy status of your property at the time a problem occurred so it may just be sensible to think further about an unoccupied property insurance quote.