Short Term Unoccupied House Insurance 

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What is Unoccupied Home Insurance?

By Eamonn Turley
Eamonn Turley Insurance Expert

Eamonn Turley has a wealth of experience within different insurance sectors. Through hard work and over time, he has gained expertise in digital marketing and user interface design. Elements that are crucial to any successful online business. The key aim is to develop websites that are intuitive, fast to load and provide insurance quotes tailored to your needs.

Expertise: Digital Marketing, Insurance, Home Insurance, Vehicle Insurance, UI Design
from the MultiQuoteTime Editorial Team - Fact checked

The team at MultiQuoteTime will fact-check content to ensure accuracy at the time of writing. In addition, we also review and update content on an ongoing basis. We aim to keep the content fresh and useful. If you are considering applying for any of the products, please take note that it is important that you read the terms and conditions that are applicable.

July 2023

Unoccupied house insurance is a speciality type of policy that protects the homeowner’s investment in a residential house or flat that is generally not their main residence and is not occupied by tenants or guests on a permanent or temporary basis. This type of cover can also arranged for your main residence if it will be left empty for an extended period, normally 30 days or over. 

Most insurance brokers class a building as unoccupied if it has been vacant for 30 days and above. A few brokers will call it vacant only if it has been unoccupied for 60 or in some cases 90 days. This same type of cover is also suitable for any unoccupied commercial property.

Multiquotetime works in partnership with Quotezone who provide a simple form which once completed is submitted to a specialist panel of empty house insurance providers. To get multiple quotes and start comparing, select start your quote button above and provide your requirements to a panel of UK brokers. The panel will be in contact via the telephone to provide you with a range of vacant home insurance quotes. Cover is available for all property purchases within the UK, including holiday home insurance in Spain and buy to let investments.

Can I take out Short Term Empty Property Insurance?

With empty house policies, the norm is that if the status changes from unoccupied property to occupied, you can cancel your empty house cover or simply change to the more standard and cheaper occupied house insurance. You are able to protect an empty property for a short term, for example 3 months, or extend for a longer term. Typical policy terms that are available are as follows:

  • 3 Months / 90 Days
  • 6 months
  • 9 Months 
  • 1 year

Need Insurance for More Than One Property?

If you are a landlord with multiple properties, a portfolio approach or multi property landlord buildings insurance should be considered. If some properties are empty, check with the policy provider as to the terms of cover for any unoccupied periods.

How Long can I leave my Home Unoccupied?

A property can be left empty for a prolonged period for many reasons, a few of these we have listed below.  

  • Long holiday or spending time in your holiday home in Spain or elsewhere., 
  • Extended period in hospital for medical care or treatment
  • Major house renovations, that makes it necessary to find alternative accommodation whilst work is ongoing
  • A  buy to let property in a sluggish market 

Under these conditions which are fairly normal you may not suspect that your standard house cover has a clause that invalidates cover if the property is left vacant for a prolong time period, which in some cases can be as short as 30 days!

Probate Properties

If a property is left empty as the result of the owner's decease, you will find that any existing policy will have shortfalls and may not provide any cover after a fixed number of days of being left empty. As such, it is important to contact the existing insurance provider to find out how long the property will continue to be covered. Some polices will become void after only 30 days being left unoccupied.  

The executor must take steps to restore the same level of cover whilst it was being occupied, under these circumstances a specialist type of cover termed probate insurance is needed.

Do you Need Short Term Unoccupied House Insurance?

The term unoccupied property can be defined different from one insurance companies to the next. The typical definition is a residential house or flat that will have no overnight guests or tenants for a period of 30 days or more. For some providers of property insurance, this period of time being unoccupied reaches to 40 days before it is required.

unoccupied house insurance

The typical reasons to use this speciality insurance for a property that is unoccupied include the following;

  • The house is being extensively remodelled or renovated involving an extended period of time, and the homeowner moves out until it is completed.
  • Insuring an empty home after death of the owner : The homeowner passes away and the new generation that inherits the property are not sure what to do with it or are quarrelling over it. In this scenario, the property can remain unoccupied for an extended period of time. This is often referred to as probate hose insurance.
  • The owner does not want to take out a holiday home policy, but instead decides on an unoccupied house insurance policy when they periodically move back to their main residence.
  • The property is up for sale for over 30 days since the owner moved out.
  • The homeowner is transferred to a new location due to their job, but they do not want to sell the property for some reason.
  • For homeowners going on an extended holiday that will last more than 30 days.
  • For property owners that are having difficulty in locating tenets to rent the house.

When it comes to insuring an empty house, brokers understand the policy term can vary, from as little as 30 days to 3 months or over. The good news is that most unoccupied property insurance policies are flexible, with a cancel or amend option available.

Did you know? When it comes to ensuring an empty house, brokers understand the policy term can vary, from as little as 30 days to 3 months or over. The good news is that most policies are flexible, with a cancel or extend option available.

Why A Standard Homeowners Insurance Policy will Not Provide Cover if Left Unoccupied

A typical policy is designed to protect the main residence of a person or family from damage and theft. When the home is unoccupied for more than 30 days, the absence of dwellers on a regular basis will be noticed by others, which is considered an increase in risk to the insurance company. Because of the increase in risk, most insurance companies increase the premium to double the cost than of a typical policy for the same property. 

What Does Short Term Unoccupied House Insurance Cover?

For the most part, short term vacant property insurance for 3 months or longer covers the same items that a standard home policy does, but generally at a higher rate due to the increased risk. If you are insuring an empty house, most policies will include the following:

Theft and vandalism damage

A property that is empty will attract unwanted attention. Empty house polices should include cover for damage caused by break-ins. If the house has contents, be sure to have these included in the policy. 

Property owners liability

This is protection against a third party making a claim that they were injured or that their belongings were damaged whilst on your property.  Property owners liability will provide cover for any court costs and potential compensation resulting from such a claim. 

Building insurance

Cover for loss or damage to the structure of your property or permanent fixtures, typical cover in the range of  £1 million

Water and Oil Damage

The escape of water or heating fuel can cause significant damage. Unless you have drained the water system and heating systems, make sure that your empty house cover will provide protection for damage caused by water and oil escaping.

Will my outbuildings be covered too?

Yes, unoccupied property insurance policies can be used to insure your garage or any other outbuilding. When applying for this type of cover you may also include , and you can also opt to cover the contents of those buildings provided they meet any security criteria set by the insurance company.

5 Tips To Keeping an Empty House Save From Damage

1. Check it at least once a month

One way to help reduce the risk of owning an unoccupied house is to check on it at least once a month. This can be accomplished by the homeowner or a caretaker. The caretaker can be a neighbour or someone who is hired to help look after the property.

Whoever checks on the property, they should inspect the house. This inspection can include turning on the heater and or air condition to help keep them in working condition. They should also check the water and gas supply lines for leaks along with the items connected to them to make sure they are still in proper working order. It is advisable to have the water and gas lines drained, which is the safest path to preventing damage.

Even when there is no evidence of tampering to window locks and doors, they should all be checked. If one is found unlocked or open, it has to be made secure. What should be noted is that if there is a break-in and there is no evidence of forced entry, any claim for theft or damage will be denied.

2. Alarms

If you are into smart home gadgets,  Alexa has a skill that will switch on lights if it hears sounds during the middle of the night.

3. Electrical System

Get a qualified election to check the wiring, especially if the house has not been rewired in the past 10 years. If you intend to sell or let out the property, you will need an electrical safety certificate. The certificate will be requested, so best to have it waiting and reading so the sale or let runs smoothly.

4. Central Heating System

If the property is to be left empt for any significant period of time, it is imperative that you rain your central heating system to avoid expensive repairs. This can be outsourced if you feel it is outside your how do skill set. Alternatively, read our guide on how to power flush a combi boiler central heating system

5. Automatic Light timers

A timer connected to a light that comes on in the evening is a good fake way to show the home is occupied when it is not. A vehicle in the driveway is another good deterrent.

Vacant home insurance cover for 3 months or longer is a way to protect your investment when you are not around for an extended period of time. This financial protection is mandatory if you have a mortgage on the property.

Compare Unoccupied Home Insurance Quotes

If you need cheap unoccupied home insurance 90 days or for shorter terms, complete one simple form provided by Quotezone you will receive multiple quotes from a panel of UK specialist insurance providers. If the property has been vacated without contents, you may wish to consider a building's insurance empty property policy.

Empty House Insurance FAQ's

how long can i leave my house unoccupied

That question can only be answered by your house insurance provider. All house insurance polices will have a clause sating how long the house can be left continuously unoccupied. Some can be as short as 30 days, others offer longer periods, but few will exceed 45 days.

What does empty house insurance cover?

A typical empty house insurance policy will cover the building for  losses as a result of  fire, lightning, explosion, earthquake, smoke, aircraft collision and legal liability.

How much does unoccupied house insurance cost?

Like any insurance, the cost is determined by a number of factors. Some key factors include the postcode, the level of cover required, the value of the home.

What counts as an unoccupied house?

A simple answer would be a  property that no one lives in, but that can be misleading. Take the case of work being carried out on your property, which makes it inhabitable. You may visit it daily, would you consider it unoccupied? You may be surprised to find that many insurance companies would class the property as empty or unoccupied. The same is true if you wear to treat  yourself to an extended  holiday (over 30 days). Always check the policy for their definition of the word "unoccupied". 

How long can you insure an empty house For?

Policy duration can range from 30 days to 12 months. Extensions are also permissible.

How Can I save money on an unoccupied home insurance?

Making the property extra secure should help lower the cost, in addition only insure for the period required, most brokers will offer cover for a term 1, 3, 6, 9 or 12 months.

Can you insure an unoccupied thatched property?

Yes, insurance is available for all house types, including unoccupied properties with a thatch roof. Expect to pay more for unoccupied insurance for a thatched roof, to cover that additional risk this type of property poses.

Do you pay Council Tax on an empty property?

Yes, council taxi is payable on empty properties and if left unoccupied over 2 years, expect the Council Tax to double!


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