What does unoccupied property insurance cover?

Posted: 20th May 2017

Unoccupied property insurance is very much what the name suggests – it provides insurance cover for your property – whether that is your home, let property, a holiday home or commercial property.

Why do you need it?

The answer is given quite simply and clearly in a guide published by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), which explains that when any property is empty and unoccupied insurers calculate that you are more likely to make a claim than when it is in more or less continuous occupation or use.

The reason for that increased likelihood of your making a claim is because of the particular vulnerability of an empty property.

Property managers, the VPS Group, for instance point out that unoccupied properties are far more vulnerable to everyday risks such as escape of water, flooding and a host of otherwise routine repair matters that may soon develop into major – and costly – emergencies if there is no one on the premises to raise the alarm or take evasive action.

Furthermore, says VPS, empty buildings are also targets for illegal intruders, squatters, vandals and arsonists – more than 60 fires a day, they say, have been found to have been started in or near unoccupied buildings.

If your property is going to be unoccupied for longer than 30 days, advises the ABI, the typical insurer is likely to restrict the scope and extent of cover provided and specifically exclude protection against such risks as loss or damage from water damage, malicious damage, and theft – just when your property probably most needs these safeguards.

Unoccupied property insurance is a standalone form of cover which is designed to step in and fill the breach left by any existing insurance – so, just what does it cover?

What it covers

Empty property insurance may be tailored to cover exactly what you want it to cover. Depending on the type of premises and the reasons for it being empty, you might choose relatively basic cover. More comprehensive protection against a wider range of risks and perils, including cover for the contents too, may be needed if the property is your own home for instance.

Your objective is to secure the level of cover you require for your particular empty property.

Like many types of property insurance, cover for unoccupied properties may come in many different varieties and forms. To pick your way through what’s on offer, you might want to consult a specialist broker such as ourselves here at Cover4LetProperty.

Our policies maintain the protection you need against such potentially devastating risks as fire, flood, storm, subsidence and theft, and you have the option of choosing between 3 or 6 months of unoccupied property protection if the building is going to be empty for less than the normal 12 months of other insurance policies.

Property owner’s liability indemnity is also maintained at a generous £5 million – and may help to reassure against claims not only from entirely innocent parties, but also those such as squatters, arsonists and vandals who may have entered illegally (but typically may still have recourse to holding the property owner liable for any injury or property damage they suffer).