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My let property is going to be unoccupied for three months. Am I still covered?

The answer is – almost certainly not, although you may need to check the exact detail of your policy to be absolutely certain.

Why might your property suddenly find itself without appropriate cover in the event it sits unoccupied?

Most insurance providers view an unoccupied property as being a higher risk proposition than a property with occupants. The reasons for that include things like the greater risks of:

  • burglary and vandalism;
  • squatting;
  • cumulative damage caused by minor problems going unnoticed;
  • fires;
  • etc.

Many insurance providers understand that your property may sit unoccupied at times due to reasons such as annual holidays, tenant changeovers and so on. That’s why you may find that a typical buildings and contents policy will provide cover for unoccupied properties for up to a specified number of consecutive days.

Once your property passes that number of days (typically around 30 or 45 consecutive days), should it remain unoccupied, then elements of your cover may become null and void. The only solution in such situations is to take out a specific unoccupied property policy.

You may be interested to know that this condition also typically exists in owner-occupier buildings and contents policies. It is not only a landlord’s insurance issue.

We are occasionally asked a related question along the lines of – does it matter whether or not the lack of occupants was due to circumstances outside of my control?

The answer is – no, it does not matter. Your cover might still be at risk even if you had no direct control over the situation which led to your property sitting unoccupied.

It might not pay to take chances in this area and if you are in any doubt, contact us for more information.

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