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Unoccupied House Insurance

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Unoccupied House Insurance UK

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. We can also provide ​second home or holiday home  insurance which is different to unoccupied house insurance.

Who needs insurance for unoccupied house ?

Unoccupied house insurance is taken out for several good reasons. The term unoccupied is different from the many insurance companies that offer this type of cover. 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 companies this period of time being unoccupied reaches to 40 days before it is required.

The typical reasons to use this speciality insurance for a house 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.
  • 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 and it remains unoccupied for an extended period of time.
  • 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 and it has been 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.

Why doesn’t my homeowner's policy cover my house when I leave it for more than 30 days?

A typical homeowners 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 lack of people around 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 homeowners policy for the same property.

What does the unoccupied house insurance cover?

For the most part, unoccupied house insurance covers the same items that a standard homeowners 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:

  • Fire, flood, storm and accidental damage just in case a water or gas line rupture.
  • Theft and vandalism damage.
  • Legal expense cover.
  • Public liability cover is protection if someone is on your unoccupied property for any reason and is injured.
  • building insurance for unoccupied house or empty property

How can I reduce the risk factors of owning an unoccupied house?

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 house, 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.

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

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.

Unoccupied house insurance is a way to protect your investment when you are not around for an extended period of time. This financial protection is advisable and mandatory if you have a mortgage on the property.