Insuring your unoccupied property

There are a few common situations in which unoccupied property insurance is required, such as when doing renovations or building work that involves moving out, waiting for a property sale to complete, travelling for an extended period of time or managing a probate.

We’re here to answer our most frequently asked questions when it comes to insuring your unoccupied property. So get yourself comfy and grab a hot drink.

Does standard home insurance cover unoccupied properties?

On a standard home policy, you will usually be covered for a set period of unoccupancy, for example, up to 60 consecutive days. This gives you the flexibility to go on holiday for a few weeks and not have  to worry about changes to your cover.

However, any time you exceed your insurer’s standard period of unoccupancy cover, restrictions may apply or your policy may become void.

If you fail to tell your insurance provider that your property is unoccupied for longer than the stated period, you risk invalidating your policy if you need to make a claim.

When is unoccupied property insurance necessary?

If you know that your property is going to be vacant for more than 60 days, it is worth looking into an unoccupied property insurance policy. 

When your property is empty for an extended period, it is more susceptible to theft and damage such as arson, as there is no one there to deter the criminals. As well as this, an unoccupied building carries a higher risk of structural damage because there isn’t anybody around to provide maintenance or handle repairs so the effects of an issue – such as a burst pipe – could be even more damaging.

What is covered by unoccupied property insurance?

Insurance policies and their cover vary between providers, so it is important to always read the policy documents before purchasing.

If your circumstances change and your property will be unoccupied for longer than stated in your policy, for example if your house sale is taking longer than planned or your flights get cancelled and you’re stuck abroad for longer, most providers make it easy to extend your current policy.

However, in the event that you are trying to arrange a new policy or if your existing provider cannot continue your cover, you will need a specialist policy.

Specialist unoccupied policies may not always be as comprehensive as a standard insurance policy. Due to the nature of the risk, insurers may exclude certain things such as cover for valuables, accidental damage and escape of water.

You can still be protected for standard perils such as fire, flood, storm damage and subsidence.

Always make sure to check for specific endorsements and ensure you can comply with them before taking out cover.

Your responsibilities

As part of the insurance contract the insurer may add a number of endorsements that must be complied with in order for a claim to be accepted.

Always make sure to check for specific endorsements and ensure you can comply with them before taking out cover. For example, unoccupied endorsements could include;

  • Making sure that all window and door locks are properly secured
  • Draining the property’s water supply or maintaining the central heating at a certain temperature during the winter months
  • Doing internal and external weekly inspections to check for damage and to remove mail, newspapers etc from the letter box
  • Ensuring that all contractors have their own insurance in place to cover any damage caused by the works being carried out

How Nest GI can help

At Nest GI, we have access to a large panel of non-standard insurers who can assist with unoccupied property. We can assist in providing unoccupied cover for a number of different circumstances:

  • Construction or renovation
  • Properties in probate
  • On the market for sale
  • In between tenants (if you’re a landlord)
  • Working abroad
  • Holidays/breaks exceeding 60 consecutive days, such as sabbaticals

Contact us today to speak to one of our trained advisers and find a policy tailored to you and your property.

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