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When choosing unoccupied house insurance, you should think about whether the policy length matches how long the property will be empty for.
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Last updated: 2 May 2022
Unoccupied home insurance covers your property against damage and burglary when it’s empty.
You might leave your property vacant if:
you’re renovating your property, but not living in it
you’re a landlord between tenants
you’re selling your property but have already moved into a new home
That depends. Most standard home insurance policies cover an empty property for 30 or 60 days, depending on the insurer and policy. If you’re leaving your property empty for a longer period of time, an unoccupied property policy could offer significant peace of mind.
An unoccupied home could be any of the following:
A holiday home you only visit a few times a year. In that case, you may need a specialist holiday home policy, especially if you rent it out. This can give you more specialised cover for your situation
A house you’ve inherited that will need cover before it’s sold. If the sale will take a while, a standard unoccupied home policy might be the best option
A property you’re renovating but have yet to move into. If you’re working on a property, you should consider a home renovation policy to cover any potential damage
Somewhere you stay for work. If you work far away from your main home and use a second property to stay in during the week, you should consider unoccupied home insurance
Even minor issues can quickly escalate if there’s nobody at the property to raise the alarm. These leave unoccupied homes at greater risk of certain types of damage than occupied ones. These risks can include:
There will be nobody at the property to limit the damage or get help. Some policies exclude water damage so check the policy before you buy.
When no one is around, people can break in and stay at the property. Unoccupied home insurance may provide legal cover to help have squatters removed.
Check your policy documents to make sure you’re covered for any risks associated with your property being empty.
If your property is being renovated, you may need extra cover. Find home renovation insurance here.
It depends on how long your property will be empty. You can usually choose a policy term of either:
Avoid paying for cover you don’t need by choosing a policy length that best matches the period your property will be empty.
The additional risks associated with empty properties mean unoccupied home insurance is generally more expensive than standard cover.
Most unoccupied home insurance providers want to know the condition of the property before they offer you cover.
This can mean that you may be unable to find a policy if your property is in a poor state of repair. This might include:
Most unoccupied home insurance providers require you ensure the property is fitted with effective security devices, usually burglar alarms and high-quality locks on doors and windows.
You may also need to make sure the pipes don’t freeze and burst, which can be achieved by simply putting the heating on a timer. Failing to take these precautions may impact whether your unoccupied house insurance provider agrees to make a payment if you make a claim.
No, most policies only cover empty properties for up to 30 or 60 days.
Yes, most policies expect you to visit your empty property every seven days and/or report any damage within seven days of it occurring.
Yes. Think about how long it might take to sell your home and get a short-term policy if necessary.
Some policies exclude this because water can cause major damage if not dealt with straight away. Check the policy carefully to make sure it’s included.
Yes, most policies will only cover you if these are switched off unless required for central heating to prevent frozen pipes during the winter.
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