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Last updated: 14 December, 2020
Short-term home insurance – also known as short-term unoccupied house insurance – covers your home if you leave it empty for more than 30 days.
Most standard home insurance policies don’t offer cover for this long, as you’re not expected to be away from home for more than 30 days. That’s why you might need a specialist short-term home insurance policy.
Some of the reasons you might need short-term home insurance include:
You’re going on a long trip
You’re moving out while your home’s being renovated
You’re moving house but haven’t yet sold your home
You’ve bought a new house but you can’t move in yet
You have a rental property which currently has no tenants
You’ve just inherited a property.
An empty home is more at risk of vandalism, wear and tear, fires and break-ins.
It’s essential to get short-term home insurance if you want to be sure you’re financially covered if something goes wrong while the home’s empty.
To find the best short-term house insurance policy, you’ll need to think about:
What contents cover you need: If you keep contents in the property, work out the replacement value of everything. You’ll need to do this in case they all get damaged or stolen.
The length of cover you need: Choose a policy that can cover you for the term you need. Most policies let you choose between 3, 6, 9 or 12 months of cover.
Shop around to find the best short-term house insurance policy for your unoccupied home. Use our broker form to compare quotes from each insurer in this comparison.
When you take out a temporary home insurance policy, you’ll need to tell your insurer how long the property will be unoccupied for.
They’ll also want to know about the condition of the property, such as existing damage to windows, doors or the roof.
If you do not tell the truth about the property when you apply, it may invalidate your policy meaning you will not be able to claim when you really need to.
Your insurer may also request that you do some of the following before they offer you short-term unoccupied house insurance:
Visit the property regularly
Keep the heating on a timer to avoid pipes freezing or bursting
Turn off the mains water supply and electricity.
If you’re renovating the unoccupied property, always check you can get cover before you start.
Getting cheap short-term home insurance should never be your top priority. The priority should always be getting the right level of cover for your needs.
Once you know what level of short-term home insurance cover you want, you could compare policies to get that level of cover for the best price. It’s sensible to shop around.
You can expect short-term house insurance to be more expensive than standard home insurance. That’s because generally if something goes wrong in an unoccupied property – like a fire or burst pipe – there won’t be anyone there to sort it out quickly.
There are a few other things you can do to cut the cost of your short-term home insurance too. These include:
Remove valuable contents from the property before you apply
Make the property more secure with an alarm or extra locks
Join a Neighbourhood Watch scheme to let thieves know that your neighbours are watching over your home
Raise the excess on your policy. Just make sure you could afford the excess if you needed to claim.
Generally, short-term house insurance covers you against:
Theft or attempted theft
Water or oil damage
Damage caused by impact.
As part of your short-term unoccupied house insurance policy, you could get:
Temporary buildings cover: This covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding the property as a result of damage. It may also cover the cost of repairing or rebuilding fixtures or outbuildings
Temporary contents cover: This covers the cost of repairing or replacing lost or damaged belongings kept in the property. You’ll be given a set amount that you can claim for, but you can pay extra to increase this.
Property owner’s liability cover: This covers third-party claims for injury, damage or loss, to people or their property, caused by your home.
Legal expenses cover: This covers you for legal expenses incurred as a result of your home. For example, it could cover the cost of evicting a tenant.
It’s important to remember that every temporary home insurance policy is different. You’ll need to check yours carefully to see exactly what you’re covered for, how much cover you have, as well as what you’re not covered for.
It could save you thousands if you need to make a claim. Here is more on unoccupied home insurance.
No, most policies only cover empty properties for 30 or 60 days.
It can, because there is usually a higher risk of theft or damage to an empty property. Here are eight ways you can save on your home insurance.
Yes, most policies expect you to visit your empty property every seven days, or insist that any damage must be reported within seven days of it occurring.
Yes, and you should think about how long it might take to sell your home and get a short term policy if necessary.
Some policies exclude this because it can cause a lot of damage if not dealt with straight away. Check the policy carefully to make sure this is included.
Yes, most policies will only cover you if these are switched off unless it is for central heating to prevent frozen pipes during the winter.
No, if you're a landlord you will need to look for landlord insurance because standard home insurance will not cover you.