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Last updated: 29 October 2021
From buying a new house to going on a long holiday, there are many reasons why your property may be unoccupied for a long period of time. Usually, your standard insurance will only cover your property if it is left unoccupied for a period not exceeding 30 days and therefore you will need to take out additional cover. This guide will take you through all you need to know about unoccupied property insurance so that you can get the best home insurance deal to suit your needs.
What is unoccupied property insurance?
Many will often find themselves in a situation where their property is unoccupied for an extended period of time. Typically, a home insurance policy will only cover you for up to 30 days unoccupied, if something happens to your home outside of this time period you will not be covered. This can be anything from theft, to a burst pipe, and therefore it’s important to plan ahead for this.
Why would I get unoccupied property insurance?
There are a number of reasons why you may have to leave a property unoccupied for a certain amount of time:
- Second home: The property is your second, or holiday home, and you are not there most of the time.
- Sale: You have put the property up for sale and have already moved into a new home.
- Travelling: You have to decided to go travelling for a long time.
- Landlord: If you are a landlord and you are between tenants, it might be a good idea to get unoccupied property insurance.
- Medical: Long-term medical care could leave it empty.
- Awaiting probate
How much will unoccupied property insurance cost?
This like all other insurance will entirely depend on your specific situation. There are a few factors to consider:
- Property value: The more expensive the property, the more your premiums will be.
- Location: If you property is in an area with high crime, or high risk of flooding, you will be charged more.
- Security: Low security increases the risk of burglaries, which in turn could affect your no claims discount.
- Level of cover: As with all insurance policies, the more that you are covered for the more expensive it will be.
What will unoccupied property insurance cover?
This will depend entirely on the type of policy you take out and how much you are willing to pay. The most common protection that you should look for is:
- Storm damage
- Property owner liability, such as if something falls from your property onto your neighbours and causes damage.
What will not be covered by unoccupied property insurance?
There are a few areas where your cover may not extend to:
- Major works: Some insurers will refuse to pay out if there is damage to the property during major work being done on the house, such as an extension.
- Contractors: If contractors are hired to do work on your property whilst you are away you will often not be covered for any damage they cause.
- Unforced entry: If someone breaks in because you have left the door unlocked, your policy will be voided. Make sure everything is locked before you leave!
How long will it last?
Again, this will depend on your specific situation so it’s important to compare home insurance policies before taking out any cover. Typically it will cover anywhere from 3 to 12 months but there are options to extend it longer if you need to.
How to save money on unoccupied property insurance
There are a few surefire ways to save money on your cover:
- Shop around: Before taking out any policy you should shop around to make sure you are getting the best deal for your property .
- Excess: Insurers will give you the option of how much excess to pay in the event of a claim. The more the excess, the lower the premium.
- No-claims bonus: If you haven’t claimed in a long time then you can build up a no-claims discount.
- Pay attention: By paying attention to your pipes and heating you can make sure nothing bursts and causes long term damage. Use a controlled heating system, make sure utilities are off, and the water system is drained.
- Securing your home: Installing alarm systems, and securing your belongings can help to protect from theft.