Unoccupied house insurance

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Last updated: 13 April 2021

How does unoccupied home insurance work?

It covers your property against damage and burglary when it is empty.

You may leave your property vacant if:

  • You are renovating your property, but not living in it

  • You are a landlord and between tenants

  • You are selling your property but have already moved into a new home

Do you need it?

Most standard home insurance policies only cover an empty property for 30 or 60 days, depending on the insurer.

If you own a property that will be empty for a long period of time, use this comparison to find unoccupied home insurance quotes.

Here is more about how unoccupied home insurance works

Unoccupied homes may be of greater risk to certain types of damage than occupied homes. Unoccupied home insurance can therefore protect you financially should your property fall victim.

Check your policy documents to make sure you are covered for any risks associated with your property being empty. Because there is nobody at the property to raise the alarm, even usually minor issues can quickly escalate. This is why unoccupied home insurance is generally more expensive than standard cover.

Why cover your empty property?

Your empty home is more at risk of:

Theft and vandalism

Thieves and vandals target properties they know are unoccupied. Make sure any contents you keep in the property are covered against theft, and your building is covered against damage caused by vandalism.

Extensive fire, flood or storm damage

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.

Squatter damage

It can go unnoticed if someone breaks in and stays in the property. You can also get legal cover to help have squatters removed.

If your property is being renovated, you may need extra cover you can find home renovation insurance here.

How long do you need cover for?

It depends on how long your property will be empty. You can usually choose a policy term of either:

  • Three months

  • Six months

  • Nine months

  • A year

Avoid paying for cover you do not need by choosing a policy length that best matches how long your property will be empty for.

Securing your property

Most unoccupied home insurance providers will 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, for example if it has:

  • Boarded up entrances

  • Broken windows

  • Roof damage

Most unoccupied house insurance providers will require that 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 do not freeze and burst, though this can be done by simply putting the heating on a timer. Failing to take these precautions may impact whether your unoccupied house insurance provider agrees to a payout if you make a claim.

When might you need cover?

An unoccupied home could be:

  • 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 tailored to your situation.

  • A house you have inherited that will need cover before it is sold. If the sale will take a while, a standard unoccupied home policy might be the best option.

  • A property you are renovating but are yet to move into. If you are 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.


Unoccupied house insurance FAQs

Will standard home insurance cover my empty property?

No, most policies only cover empty properties for 30 or 60 days.

Does unoccupied home insurance cost more than standard cover?

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.

Do I have to visit the property regularly?

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.

Can I insure my empty property if it is for sale?

Yes, and you should think about how long it might take to sell your home and get a short term policy if necessary.

Am I covered for water damage if my property is empty?

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.

Do I have to turn off my water, gas and electricity?

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.

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