What is unoccupied residential property insurance?
Unoccupied residential property cover is designed to give you peace of mind when you’re not there for a long period of time. It will cover you should the unexpected happen, such as damage caused by fire or flooding, or if your home is vandalised, targeted by thieves or attracts squatters.
It is very important to insure the property just in case something goes wrong, no matter what the reason for it being left unoccupied. There are roughly 250,000 empty properties in the UK, and they are unoccupied for a variety of reasons. Often the owner has had to go into long term care or hospital, or has chosen to live abroad. Sometimes the property is awaiting sale or probate, or is in the process of being renovated.
Who needs unoccupied residential property insurance?
As a homeowner, you are likely to already have buildings and contents insurance cover in place. However, your existing policy is unlikely to provide adequate cover if your home is left empty for longer periods.
It’s worth knowing that the amount of time an empty property will be covered depends on the insurance company – the maximum time most will allow is 60 days. Some insurers will only allow the property to be empty for 30 days, which may not be enough. It’s important to tell your insurance company if your property is going to be empty for a while, as if you needed to make a claim on your standard home insurance policy the insurer is unlikely to pay out.
What does unoccupied residential property insurance cover?
It’s easy to assume all empty property insurance policies are the same, however there is actually a lot of variation. Some insurance companies are happy to insure certain things that other companies won’t. This is where we can help.
As a guide, unoccupied residential insurance will generally cover you for:
- Flooding / Storm damage
- Impact damage
- Theft or attempted theft
- Damage caused by water or other liquids
What about landlords who are between tenants?
Sometimes a residential property for rent may be empty for more than 30 days as the previous tenants have moved out but the new ones aren’t ready to move in yet. If this is the case, you might be concerned that your rental property will be empty for a time, leaving you to pay the mortgage because of the loss of rent. Landlord insurance (link to landlord insurance) is very similar to home insurance, but it’s specially designed to cover rental properties. It will usually allow a home to be empty for up to three months, which is ideal as often it can take a while for new tenants to move in, and can offer cover any missing rent too.