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There are a number of reasons why a house could be unoccupied, it could be you’re going on an extended holiday or business trip, or your second property is in between tenants, or simply, you’re not ready to sell yet. Whatever the reason for an unoccupied property, it is important to have unoccupied home insurance in place if the property is going to be left vacant for more than 30 days.
Standard home insurance policies typically insure homes for vacant periods of up to 30 days - anything over that would require extra cover.
Predominantly, an insurer will provide buildings insurance on an unoccupied property. This type of cover protects the home from any structural damage caused by natural disasters such as storm, flooding, or fire.
Some homeowners only need buildings insurance, while others may require contents insurance for their unoccupied home. This covers anything that can be picked up and taken out of the property, for example, appliances, furniture, and personal items.
Since there is no one to deal with a burst pipe or recognise a burglary, unoccupied properties are more vulnerable to theft and structural damage.
Insuring your unoccupied home is different to your main home, as the property you are insuring is likely to be vacant for a longer period of time throughout the year, making it a higher-risk home to insure. Like regular home insurance, you can take out buildings and contents insurance to cover the foundations, outbuildings and any personal items.
Whilst there is no legal requirement to have unoccupied property insurance, you may find that a standard home insurance policy does not cover you in the event you need to make a claim. Standard home insurance policies usually protect your home if it is vacant for up to 30 days - anything after that would require a specific policy against unoccupied homes.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to unoccupied house insurance but each policy will have different terms and conditions. It is therefore important you know what your policy covers before agreeing to anything. Common claims for empty homes are usually caused by malicious damage, vandalism, and fire. Insurers protect unoccupied properties covering the building and any contents.
This covers you in the event of a natural disaster when you're away from home
If a pipe bursts or if there is a leak in the house, this covers the cost should the damage be extensive
If someone breaks in or attempts to break into your property
If criminal damage occurs when you are absent
If you need to pay legal fees to get squatters removed, trespassers removed, or for personal identity theft
This covers you if harm is caused by a property that you are liable for, such as a roof tile falling and breaking a car window
Insurance providers can refuse to pay a claim for the following reasons:
Generally, unoccupied home insurance can come at a higher cost as the property is at more risk of theft, and damage.
Every property and every insurance provider is different, as with most insurance policies it is impossible to give an exact quote, but there are a number of factors that insurers take into account when putting together a quote for an unoccupied property.
The amount that you’ll pay will depend on the area in which the property is located, the reasons why the property is empty, and several other factors.
Your premium is calculated by several factors relating to you, your home, the value of your items, and the risk of loss and damage.
Getting insurance on an empty home can be more complicated as there are higher risks involved. A guaranteed way to get cheaper insurance premiums is to keep the property safe and regularly maintained.
Having reliable locks on windows and doors is an effective way to increase security. Another way of keeping the property safe is to install CCTV to monitor any unusual activity. You might also consider getting secure gates around the property with specific access points.
Another method of keeping premiums to a minimum is to ensure everything is maintained, such as regular boiler checks and any repairs.
Don’t store valuables and high-end items inside the property, as this makes it an increased risk of burglary - you may even need to take out contents insurance, pushing premiums up.
Finding insurance for an unoccupied property isn't as straightforward as most people expect.
If you were to buy a standard home insurance policy without letting the insurer know that it isn’t your main home, then this could cause a lot of hassle. Withholding vital information could lead to the insurer refusing to pay out in the event of a claim.
Should you need to make a claim, most insurance providers will have a helpline and a specific procedure in place - contact information will be available on the insurer’s website, and your policy documents. Typically, they require the following information:
By comparing different policies and insurance companies, Quidco can provide cheap unoccupied home insurance quotes with £3 cashback. Simply work out the type of cover you need for your property, then use the comparison tool to get instant quotes and find the ideal unoccupied home insurance.
If you do not inform your current insurance provider that your home is empty, your provider will most likely refuse to pay a claim, and you will be responsible for the financial consequences.
When using the Compare service, you must take reasonable care to answer insurers questions fully and accurately and if you volunteer other information, you must take reasonable care to ensure that the information is not misleading. If any information that you have provided changes before you take out your insurance, during the life of the policy or at renewal you must inform the insurer or broker of the change. If you deliberately or carelessly misrepresent any information in relation to this insurance, then your policy may not pay all, or part, of a claim and could in certain circumstances be avoided altogether.