Standard home insurance doesn't cover your home if it's left unoccupied longer than around 30 days. Naturally, occasions arise; perhaps due to an extended holiday, or to care for a sick relative, where this will apply to you, at which point you should consider taking out a policy for 'unoccupied homes'.
When it's needed
There are numerous occasions where you might require insurance for an empty property. Common reasons include:
- Awaiting sale or new tenants
- Awaiting Probate
- Undergoing construction or refurbishment
- Vermin eradication
- Unoccupied due to being a secondary property – holiday home etc
Fortunately empty property insurance is flexible, with policies ranging from three to twelve months, so you'll be able to minimise your costs to suit the requirements. If you require insurance for less than three months, you may be able to arrange the cover on your current home insurance policy to be extended temporarily. -Alternatively, you may be able to ask a neighbour, friend or relative to periodically check up on your place, and close any curtains of a night-time.
What does it cover?
As with any home insurance policy, you'll need to consider whether you need both building and contents insurance. Many insurance providers offer both as a combined package, but both may not be relevant to you. Buildings Insurance covers the structure of your home. It will also cover fixtures and fittings such as windows, doors, fitted kitchens and bathroom suites. Whereas contents insurance covers everything else, minus any exclusions specified in the terms and conditions.
The level of cover you receive will depend on how much you want to invest in a policy. Some of the recommended considerations to insure against are:
- Public liability – is there anyway your property can damage others? -Trees falling etc
Obviously your property will need to be in a decent state to make you look like a desirable customer, and you should maximise security to reduce your premiums and make it look like you've made every effort to keep you place secure.
Some policies may state that you have to turn off the water systems etc, when left vacant. Most will not payout in the event of unforced entry; you left something unlocked, or your keys were stolen. And if you've stated that the property has an alarm, make sure it is used, as failure to do so will also void any claim. In terms of contents, some insurers will not cover certain valuables such as jewellery and electrical equipment for unoccupied properties or holiday homes. Finally you will not be able to make a claim for any damage done by contractors working on your property, as they should have their own cover for liability.© Irina88w | Dreamstime.com