Insuring an unoccupied house
Unoccupied House Insurance is different!
Some people think that no insurance is required for an unoccupied house that they may rent out or they take out home insurance cover and don’t consider whether there home is actually regarded as occupied or not. Well it should be considered that unoccupied properties are regarded as ‘high risk’ by insurers. That is why they tend to charge higher premiums to keep them covered. It is also why they may add in extra conditions to keep the property covered. By adding extra conditions, what the insurance companies are trying to do, is reduce that extra risk. It is therefore essential that you have the right cover in place.
Top Tip – If you have a policy in place already, tell your insurers or insurance broker that the property is now empty and your existing policy should be able to give empty home insurance cover on a residential property you let or your own home. You will never know what those extra onerous conditions are unless you let the insurer know. If they don’t know it’s empty, then how do you expect them to explain the conditions and for you to actually follow them or put them into operation. Customers not following conditions are an easy way for insurers to get out of paying claims.
To help you make sure you are covered here’s a few tips to help keep you right.
What is an unoccupied house?
Most home insurance policies specifically state that they are not valid if you leave your house empty for 30 days or more – but you should check your policy in case this time period is shorter or longer. Many people think this means something like moving out of your home while it is up for sale or being renovated but there are a lot of other reasons why a house might be unoccupied such as an extended holiday, going into hospital or a care home or being away in the armed forces. If the owner has passed away and probate is being sorted, a house may also be considered unoccupied and appropriate insurance is needed. A holiday home which is empty between visits would also be considered an unoccupied house.
Why does normal house insurance not cover my house when it’s unoccupied?
Put simply – insurance providers do not regard occupied and unoccupied houses in the same way. They apply different a higher risk rating to unoccupied houses and therefore expect a higher premium.
Why are unoccupied houses considered to be a higher risk than occupied houses?
When a house is unoccupied there is no one to notice things like a burst pipe, rising damp, a fire starting or a broken window. This means that any damage is likely to be undetected for longer and will therefore cause more damage and cost more to repair. Empty homes may also attract vandals, squatters or burglars and this risk could increase the longer the house remains empty.
Can I do anything to help reduce the risk and keep my premiums lower?
One option would be to arrange someone to house sit so that the house isn’t empty. If that’s not an option, you should install a burglar alarm and good window locks if you haven’t already.
Can unoccupied house insurance be used for holiday homes?
Yes, if your holiday home is unoccupied throughout most of the year you should take out unoccupied house insurance rather than normal home insurance. If your holiday home is outside the United Kingdom this would need to be overseas unoccupied house insurance.
Where can I purchase unoccupied house insurance?
There are various online providers who will give you a quotation, however Property Insurance Centre are specialists in unoccupied house insurance. Give one of our team a call on 0800 085 3761 and we will take your details once and then come back to you with the best premium for the cover you need. We work with all the top insurance providers in the UK, so we will use our trusted networks to your advantage and save you time searching providers online.