How does house insurance for empty properties work?

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Owning a property comes with many responsibilities, including ensuring that it is protected against risks such as theft, damage, and other unexpected events. 

When a property becomes unoccupied for a certain period, it can pose a higher risk to insurers, leading to the need for specific types of insurance coverage

In this article, we’ll explore how house insurance for empty properties works, what factors to consider when choosing a policy, and how to ensure your property stays protected during periods of vacancy.

This should give you a good understanding of the topic and how to pick out the best unoccupied home insurance for you that is also within your budget.

house insurance for empty properties

What exactly is unoccupied home insurance?

Essentially, this type of insurance protects your home if it is left empty for a longer period of time than your standard policy allows. Most standard home insurance policies will only cover an empty house for 30 to 60 days, so double-check your policy wording to be sure.

The thing is, if you need to leave your property empty for a longer period of time, you should look into specialist unoccupied home insurance instead. 

This type of insurance can cover a vacant property for three to twelve months, and you can even extend the coverage if necessary. It’s important to note that this is different from standard home policies, which don’t typically cover longer vacancy periods.

Don’t worry if you need coverage for more than a year; you can always look into getting a new policy near the end of your current term. Simply shop around and compare quotes to find the best deal.

Who exactly is unoccupied home insurance for?

There are numerous reasons why a home may be temporarily unoccupied. For example, suppose you’ve moved into a new home and your old one is on the market. Maybe you inherited a vacation home or a second home that you don’t use all the time.

You may have recently purchased a home but do not intend to move in right away. Or perhaps you’ll be gone for an extended period of time. If you are a landlord, there may be vacancies when your property is vacant.

In some cases, a property may be vacant because the owner has been admitted to long-term medical care. Alternatively, the structure may be undergoing renovations and is unsafe to live in. Finally, you may have to wait for a probate before you can move into the property.

There are numerous reasons why a home may be vacant for an extended period of time, but the most important thing is to ensure that you have adequate insurance coverage in place to protect it while it is unoccupied.

Is it possible to get house insurance on an empty property?

There are several reasons why you might want to insure an unoccupied property but it is certainly possible. 

For example, your mortgage provider may require it, or you may be concerned about the increased risk of fire and other hazards associated with leaving an empty property. 

The cost of insurance for an unoccupied property may be a factor in if it is possible and it is determined by several factors, including the property’s rebuild cost, location, security measures in place, and, of course, the reason it’s empty.

man with house insurance for an empty property

If a property is empty and for sale, can you still insure it?

If you’re selling your home and won’t be living there for an extended period of time, you should think about getting unoccupied home insurance as part of the insurance you need as a landlord

This insurance is specifically designed to cover properties that have been vacant for a longer period of time than your standard home insurance policy allows.

The good news is that you should be able to supplement your existing policy with unoccupied home insurance. Simply check with your insurance company to see what options are available to you. 

This way, you can ensure that your property is safe while it is for sale and you are not living there.

How to make a claim for unoccupied home insurance?

There are a few things you should think about before filing a claim on your home insurance policy. To begin, check with your insurer to see if there are any special requirements for filing a claim. 

For example, you may need to contact them right away or file a police report here.

It’s also worth thinking about your no-claims bonus, which insurers frequently offer as a premium discount if you haven’t made a claim in a while. 

However, filing a claim will almost certainly result in the loss of this bonus, raising your premiums.

Another consideration is excess, which is the amount you pay towards a claim before your insurer covers the remainder of the cost.

 In some cases, the excess can be quite high, so consider whether it’s more cost-effective to keep your no-claims bonus and pay for the damage out of pocket.

What is the cost of insuring an empty house in the UK?

When you’re looking for unoccupied home insurance, it’s important to understand what factors can affect the price you pay. Because an empty property carries a higher risk, insuring an unoccupied home usually costs more than regular home insurance.

Some of the factors that may influence the cost of your insurance policy include the value of your property. The higher the value of your property, the more expensive it will be to repair or rebuild if something goes wrong.

Also, the level of protection you select is a factor to think about as the more protection you have, the higher your premium will be as there is more that can go wrong an insurer will have to cover for.

As well as this, the length of the coverage period is another thing that goes into the cost as the longer your property is unoccupied, the higher your quote will most likely be.

Furthermore, the location of your property is important to determine the cost as if your property is in a high-crime area or a flood-prone area, the likelihood of having to file a claim increases, potentially affecting your insurance cost.

Insurers carefully look at all of these factors by looking at data to make sure that they are able to charge the right amount of money so they can still produce a profit on average even if they have to cover an expensive event like this.

Adding extra security measures to your unoccupied property could also reduce the risk of burglary, making you less of a risk to insurance providers and potentially lowering your insurance cost.

Finally, your claims history is a big factor as if you’ve made several claims in the past, it suggests that you’re more likely to make another claim in the future, which could affect your insurance costs.

When you compare unoccupied home insurance policies, you’ll get a quote that’s personalised for you and your specific situation.

house insurance for empty property document

What is more expensive to insure, an unoccupied property or a normal property?

When looking for insurance like this one for an unoccupied property, keep in mind that it can be more expensive than a standard home insurance policy.

 This is because insurance companies consider empty homes to be more dangerous, with a higher risk of being burgled or becoming a target for squatters. 

Furthermore, without someone living there, there may be issues with the property that go unnoticed, such as leaks or other types of damage, which could worsen over time. 

As a result, unoccupied property insurance is critical to protect your investment and provide you with peace of mind while you’re away and the best insurance providers may also need to do a rebuild cost assessment to make their premium charge more accurate.

How long can your home be unoccupied?

For some people, such as those awaiting a property sale or dealing with a family member’s long-term care, leaving a house unoccupied for an extended period of time is a legitimate situation. 

However, most standard home insurance policies will not provide coverage if the property is left unoccupied for more than 30 days. 

Some policies may even include specific requirements, such as keeping the heating on during the winter.

What does unoccupied home insurance cover?

Fire, flooding, storms, theft or attempted theft, vandalism, water or oil from burst pipes, and impact from car collisions or falling objects can all cause damage to your empty property. 

Furthermore, some insurance policies may include extra benefits such as legal expenses, which can be useful if someone occupies your home without your permission, and public liability coverage, which can protect you if your property damages your neighbour’s home.

It will not cover the things inside a property such as a boiler as landlord boiler cover covers this. Nor will it cover the rent as rent guarantee insurance covers this.

However, keep in mind that different insurance providers may provide varying levels of coverage, so it’s critical to carefully read your policy to understand what’s included and excluded. Before purchasing a policy, make sure you fully understand the details.

For instance, your policy may require that your property be checked every two weeks while it is vacant. This condition can help you avoid problems and keep your insurance policy valid.

Finally, having unoccupied property insurance can provide peace of mind because it ensures that your property is protected while you are away. Before choosing an insurance policy that meets your needs, do some research and comparison shopping.

What if you fail to tell your provider your home is unoccupied?

Failure to notify your insurance provider about the unoccupied status of your home for a period of time longer than specified in your policy may result in the cancellation of your insurance. 

Therefore, your insurance company may refuse to pay out on any claims you make while your house is empty. As a result, it is critical that you read your policy details and understand the specific requirements.

If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to contact your insurance provider and ask for clarification. 

Being upfront with your insurance provider about your home’s unoccupied status may result in them providing helpful advice on how to protect your home while it’s empty.

Take all necessary security precautions, such as installing security cameras, locking all doors and windows, and having someone check on the property on a regular basis. 

You can reduce the risk of break-ins and property damage by doing so while you’re away.

house insurance spelling for empty properties

What doesn’t unoccupied home insurance cover?

It’s critical to understand what’s not covered when shopping for unoccupied property insurance and buying a house.

One of the most common exclusions is having your home broken into after leaving a door or window unlocked. Your insurance company may deny your claim if this occurs and your property is not secure. As a result, it’s critical to take precautionary measures to secure your property, such as installing secure locks on all doors and windows, to ensure your safety in the event of a break-in.

Damage caused by structural work on the property is another common exclusion. The majority of standard insurance policies exclude this type of damage.

If you intend to do any renovation work, you should think about getting a specialist building works or renovation policy to protect your property.

These policies are intended to cover any structural damage caused by work such as extensions or loft conversions, and will provide you with the peace of mind you require while undertaking these projects.

If you decide to hire a contractor to do any renovation work, make certain that they have their own insurance. If they do not, you may be held liable for any damage that occurs during the work.

As a result, before hiring a contractor, do your research and ensure that they have adequate insurance coverage. You should also ensure that they are registered with any relevant professional bodies and that they have the necessary qualifications to do the work.

One way to reduce the likelihood of claims being rejected is to keep your property in good repair. Most insurance policies do not cover damage caused by poor maintenance, and if your property is not well-maintained, your insurer is less likely to accept your claim.

It is critical to maintain regular maintenance in order to avoid future problems. This includes inspecting the roof for leaks, ensuring that it is in good condition, and making any necessary repairs as soon as possible. By taking these precautions, you can reduce the risk of property damage while also ensuring that your insurance coverage remains valid.

house insurance policy for empty properties

Wrapping things up

In an empty home there is usually a lot that goes on and a lot that you have to do in order to insure it. Insurers usually have to charge a lot more for insurance because a lot can go wrong when leaving a property empty.

We therefore recommend that you follow our above advice to reduce the cost of your premium as much as you can and also make sure you know what house insurance for empty properties does and does not cover.

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Donnell Bailey

Property expert

Donnell is a property expert focusing on the property market, he looks at a combination of legislation, information from property managers, letting agents and market trends to produce information to help landlords.


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