What’s covered by Unoccupied Home Insurance?
Your home is probably your most valued possession, and you want to keep it as safe and secure as possible.
Having a house or flat standing vacant poses a number of risks which might not have even occurred to you. In this simple guide we look at what’s covered by Unoccupied House Insurance and what’s not, so you can feel fully protected at all times.
What are the essential requirements for Unoccupied Home Insurance?
Unoccupied Home Insurance is usually only necessary when your house has been empty for longer than 30 days, and is generally sought by owners whose house is going to stand vacant for several months.
A lot can happen in the space of a few months which could make a house more vulnerable. Gardens can become neglected and overgrown, mail can accumulate, and damage can go unrepaired. All these signs can make it obvious that your home is vacant, thereby increasing risks like vandalism and squatting.
To reduce the risks attached to empty homes, many insurers will insist that your house is well maintained while it is vacant. This means that windows and paintwork should be in good repair and gardens kept in good condition.
Sometimes insurers will also stipulate that a property must receive regular visits to check that any damage – e.g. water leaks or a broken boiler – is quickly repaired. If you’re abroad, you can usually arrange for a relative or housing professional to do this on your behalf.
You also need to address the issue of security. To reduce the risk of vandalism and break-ins, most Unoccupied House Insurance policies require you to have quite specific security measures in place.
For what length of time can I get Unoccupied Home Insurance?
Most Home Insurance policies become invalid if your property is empty for over 30 days – that’s when you’ll start needing Unoccupied Home cover. However, in many cases, owners don’t intend their house to be empty for long. You may have your property up for sale, or it may be a new dwelling that you’re not yet ready to move into.
For whatever reason your house or flat is empty, serious insurers understand that it’s often a temporary situation of an unknown length of time. For this reason, quality insurance companies offer flexible policies that can provide 3, 6, 9 or 12 months’ cover.
Do I need different Unoccupied House Insurance depending on the type of home?
Your Unoccupied House Insurance is less dependent on whether you live in a house of flat than on factors such as the value and location of your property. Having said that, the type of property you own can have a knock-on influence to the requirements detailed above, for example, maintenance and security. Generally speaking, a flat will be less visible to the public and could therefore require less external upkeep. A house, on the other hand, is more likely to have a garden to maintain.
A reputable insurance broker will be able to talk you through these issues and find you a quality Unoccupied House Insurance policy to fit your needs.