Care home residents may have inadequate home insurance cover when their empty property is not lived in and left unoccupied


A homeowner moving into a residential care home creates insurance implications for the home they have left empty and risk of financial ruin if they get it wrong!

When a homeowner moves into residential care, you must tell the insurer that the property is no longer the full time permanent residence of the policyholder and that the home is unoccupied. Whether this is a short term period for recuperation after an illness or operation, or a permanent move to residential care, your home insurance will be affected.

Upon learning of the fact the home is unoccupied the insurer will likely exclude essential cover such as burst pipes, escape of water from fixed installations, theft and malicious damage. Some insurers will restrict cover still further and some insurers will even cancel the policy immediately.

If you choose not to inform the insurer they will very likely refuse to pay a claim and cancel the policy back to the date the homeowner moved into care.

We have established that it is essential that you tell your insurer what has happened and you need to be prepared to move your home insurance to a specialist provider to avoid restrictions in cover. Be warned however that some insurers will inform you that ‘standard policy terms apply’ – this will give you the impression that all is well and the policy continues as normal. The ‘standard policy terms’ they are referring to are actually the exclusions in cover that are written into the policy wording and apply when a property is unoccupied. Some additional terms will apply if the property is not only unoccupied (not lived in) but also unfurnished.

All insurers treat unoccupied property slightly differently but one thing is beyond doubt, the restriction in cover will not be in your favour and you will need to take action if you want to ensure your property is adequately covered.

Bickers Insurance Services are specialists in providing unoccupied property cover for residents of care homes. The policies are subject to sensible heating and water management conditions and a requirement to inspect the property periodically we can provide cover including burst pipes, escape of water, theft and malicious damage at competitive premiums.

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