Unoccupied Property Insurance – Extra But Necessary

Posted: 2nd Jun 2014

For a landlord, buy to let property insurance is important. This insurance though, may have special conditions for when the property is empty and unoccupied property insurance may then be required.

  • An unoccupied property, for the purposes of many buy to let insurance policies, is one that stands empty – typically for periods in excess of 30 consecutive days. This could be as a result of the refurbishment of your property or you might just be looking for new tenants or waiting for them to move in.
  • While you may also see unoccupied property insurance referred to as empty buildings insurance or empty home insurance, it is not when a property is empty of furniture that this type of insurance may be required. It is the presence or otherwise of people living in the property that is important.
  • Empty property insurance is needed because the risks for a property when it is empty differ to those that apply when it is occupied. This can be for a number of reasons but may typically include empty properties being more of a target for thieves who notice the tell tale signs of dark windows and gardens becoming overgrown.
  • Minor damage may become more serious (and expensive to rectify) if left unattended in an empty property. So, reducing risks wherever possible may help. This could include draining down the water systems of your empty property, for example, to reduce the risks of water damage. Keeping the garden tidy may also help you keep your property looking lived in.
  • You may find that empty buildings insurance may carry with it some specific terms and conditions. You may, for example, be required to keep a log of inspection visits to your property and a note of maintenance carried out.
  • Owner-occupiers may wish to think about unoccupied property insurance as well. If you are out of the country for an extended business trip or you have a property in probate or empty as the result of a divorce settlement, then you potentially have the same issues and risks as an empty buy to let property.
  • Insurance for unoccupied property may be slightly more expensive than standard buy to let insurance and it may be a temptation to try and make do without it. You may find though that any claim on a standard policy may be rejected if the property is found to have been empty at the time for a period of more than 30 consecutive days.

If you are planning renovations for your buy to let property then keeping an eye on your dates may make sense.

Building work may be subject to delays and you may wish to make sure that you understand exactly when you may need to consider unoccupied property insurance to protect your financial investment.