Unoccupied property – insurance quotes for empty houses

Specialist unoccupied property insurance for empty homes

Empty property insurance;- When a property is unoccupied there are some factors to consider regarding the insurance of the property. A standard home insurance policy is unlikely to give you the cover that you need and a specialist unoccupied property insurance policy will be more suitable for you. It is essential that you inform the insurers of a property if the use changes and it becomes empty. Failure to do so will more than likely result in your cover being invalidated.

The selection of empty property insurance will depend on why the property is unoccupied, whether there will be any renovation work involved, whether you will be eventually living there or if the property will be sold.

A specialist renovation insurance policy is pretty straight forward. The insurer will need to know what works you are carrying out and whether any of the work will be structural. It is worth noting that insurers regard moving or replacing staircases as structural. Replacement doors and windows are not considered structural unless new openings are being made or enlarged. Replacing, repairing or altering the roof or roofing materials is also generally considered to be structural work. All the renovation work will need to be disclosed to your new insurer.

Some insurers will ask for the cost of the works, and also the duration of the building work. When the property is not wind and weatherproof the cover will also, very likely be restricted.

Insurance for empty houses is more expensive that standard home insurance policies. The claims frequency is not necessarily higher than an occupied house but the cost of an incident can be considerably higher simply because the loss may not be noticed for several days. Take a burst pipe incident for example. If the property is lived in, the burst pipe would usually be noticed and dealt with immediately or certainly within a few hours. If a property was left with water escaping at mains pressure over a period of a few days the monetary loss could increase many times over.

When you are comparing insurance for empty homes you need to bear in mind that there is no standard level of cover is the same. We sometimes get calls requesting a numeric level of cover, this can differ between insurers so is pretty meaningless. Remember, not all policies are the same…!

If a homeowner is moving into residential care then cover can be provided for the duration of the stay in the care facility. The standard home insurance policy will very likely be affected after 30 days (sometimes sooner) and this will usually exclude theft, theft damage, malicious damage, escape of water, burst pipes. Once you have informed the insurer of the fact the property is not lived in they will usually say ‘standard terms apply’. This does not mean the policy is unaffected, it means quite the opposite in fact – standard terms will usually exclude the theft, theft damage, malicious damage, escape of water, burst pipes when a property is empty. If the insurer advises you that they will not restrict the cover whilst the property then get it in writing! This needs to be either an email or letter confirming that the unoccupied exclusions do not apply, or a new schedule of insurance confirming this.

A specialist unoccupied property insurer will generally include the cover that is excluded when a property is empty but policy conditions will apply. These differ between insurers but most will require either the water system to be drained down and turned off at the mains, alternatively you will be required to leave the central heating on 24/7 at a certain temperature, usually 12-14 degrees Centigrade.

Some insurers will require a certain level of security depending on the area in which the property is situated. If required, the security will include key operated window locks on all windows, 5 lever mortice deadlocks on the doors or upvc doors with multi locking points.


If you would like a quotation for an empty property please give us a call and we will be pleased to discuss your requirements

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