Cover for an unoccupied property is typically only covered for 30-45 consecutive days under a landlords or traditional owner-occupier buildings insurance policy. After this time, you’ll typically need an additional policy called unoccupied property insurance.
But who actually needs this? There are a few situations when it could be needed. Essentially, these include any situations where a property is left unoccupied for a long period of time, such as:
- landlords looking for tenants. Sometimes it can take longer than expected to find suitable tenants for your property. This could leave it empty for many weeks or even months. If something were to go wrong, you may find you are not covered by your standard insurance;
- when you are renovating. If you are renovating your property, it may again remain empty for a long period of time and you may require this cover;
- private homeowners who are going abroad for work, going on a long holiday, taking a year out or doing anything else that keeps them away;
- owners going through a divorce. Sometimes it can take a long time to sort out, and the building may remain empty during this time.
These are some of the people who may need it. But what do you have to know about this type of insurance? Some things to know include:
- home insurance typically states that someone must be living at the property for the policy to be valid. When it is empty for 30 consecutive days, 45 consecutive days or however long stated in the policy details, insurance cover can be reduced or becomes entirely void;
- this is not to be used instead of your current policy, but is instead a different product;
- all policies are different, having varying limits for cover and different premiums. For example, at Cover4LetProperty, we have a range of options to choose from whether you are renovating your property or it is simply unoccupied.
Now that you know what this cover is, why is it actually necessary to get an unoccupied property insurance quote in the first place? The reasons include:
- insurers typically see an empty property as a greater risk;
- burst pipes and other problems may be spotted later, leading to greater damage that costs more to repair;
- the risk of burglary could increase, causing damage to the building and contents. Whenever you go away, make sure you protect your home. These tips provided by the Metropolitan Police may prove useful.
If you decide that this is suitable for your situation, you may want to start choosing a policy. Some things to consider include:
- always look around because there are many to choose from. You could search online, visit an insurance provider directly, or use the services of a broker such as ourselves. Check limits, details, etc, and make sure it is appropriate for you;
- always check the terms and conditions and look out for any exclusions;
- be aware of your own obligations under the cover because you may be required to check the property regularly and keep a record of any visits you make plus work you need to carry out.
A property is a huge investment, and if you are a landlord you will want to do everything you can to protect that investment. Make sure you know about the risks associated with leaving a property unoccupied, and have a careful think about whether a separate insurance policy could be a good decision in your situation. Remember also that if you have a mortgage on your property, typically your mortgage lender will require you to have buildings insurance in place whether it is occupied or not.