Unoccupied Properties

Posted: 7th Jun 2016

If your let property is without a tenant, or you are a homeowner who is living or working away from home for a period or time, or even if you have inherited a property that you are not quite what to do with it, you all have one thing in common – the need for unoccupied property insurance.

Once a property has been left empty for a period of 30-45 consecutive days, then your existing buildings insurance may typically offer only restricted cover – or it may lapse altogether. This is where unoccupied property insurance steps up – to provide the protection your property needs.

Check out our short video: Do I need specialist unoccupied property insurance?

What does empty property insurance cover?

There are policies available to all that specifically cater to empty buildings and these start with the very basic limited cover of Fire, Lightning, Earthquake, Explosion and Aircraft perils. For additional costs these policies can be increased to offer the same benefits (except Accidental Damage).

There is no reason to take a gamble and leave property uninsured just because it is empty. As we develop into a more litigious society it is essential to obtain as much cover as is needed. Could you really afford to pay fines and compensation if your property causes damage to someone or something? Thought not, so do yourself a favour and get covered as all property insurance policies offer Property Owners Liability cover.

Some people may argue that the cost is too high and the restrictions imposed are unreasonable but let’s look at them properly. Yes, it can cost more to cover an empty property, this is because without someone being ‘on-site’ daily the risks and potential cost to insurers and higher.

Risks and restrictions

If you spot a water leak at home you call a plumber straight away and costs are reduced. If you spot a leak and do nothing for 10 days, the costs naturally go up and this is the reason vacant properties cost more to cover as people are rarely in them to check everything is okay.

This is also why restrictions are applied or, as we call them, Policy Endorsements added. Inspecting the property regularly reduces the cost of claims, makes it easier to know if squatters have arrived and also shows the property is not abandoned. Draining the water or leaving the heating on stops pipes freezing and splitting, also reducing claim costs as well as stopping damp from forming and spreading throughout the property. All of these put together reduce the likelihood of a claim but also show the property is being cared for. This may help speed up the process of getting it occupied again.

To finish, I will just say this, if you have read this article because you have an empty property (or know someone who has) and want to make sure you have the right cover; it is simple and easy to find out. Pick up the telephone and call the Cover4 Team. Who knows, it may save you a lot of trouble in the days to come.

Further Reading: Guide to Unoccupied Property