If your property is going to be left empty for an extended period of time then you should consider a specialist policy. If you want to protect your property and in some cases your possessions whilst still having the flexibility to leave your property empty, we are confident we can quote for you.
Pay only for the time you need & no cancellation or hidden fees!
If you want to speak to us at any time during your quote, just hit the LiveChat option bottom right and you’ll be connected with an insurance expert to guide you through.
Our enhanced cover for vacant properties can include
- Buildings cover up to £1.5million
- Contents cover up to £150,000*
- Full buildings cover for the whole policy term available*
- Trace & access cover up to £5000*
- Cover for theft, malicious damage & vandalism up to 45 days*
- Damage by squatters*
- Cover for fire, flood, storm*
- Switch back from unoccupied to occupied during the policy term
- Ability to cancel before the end of the policy
- Average call centre answer time under 1 minute
Flexible policy term – Cancel at any time!
Many of our customers who take out cover for an empty property only need short-term cover. Therefore with CoverBuilder you can cancel at any time with no cancellation costs. You simply call us and we’ll pro-rata your premium and refund any overpaid premium to you regardless if you pay monthly or in full. Learn more about our cancellation promise.
*As CoverBuilder uses a panel of insurance companies to offer our home insurance, cover options do vary by policy. We highly recommend checking the policy wording of your chosen insurer before submitting your policy request.
MORE ABOUT EMPTY HOME INSURANCE
We’ve specifically designed our website to allow you to quote for more specialist risks, such as empty homes, easily and without having to go through all your information over the phone. You can get a quote and buy directly online within minutes. Let our website do the heavy work for you, our empty home insurance comparison of insurance policies let you pick a quote for your specific requirements from our panel of top UK insurance specialists.
What will be covered when I take out empty house insurance?
Whilst the majority of customers who take out our empty cover request that it’s just buildings only, we do offer the ability to quote including contents. Our cover is designed to protect your property when it is probably at its most vulnerable.
Example situations that can require empty insurance (covered by CoverBuilder)
- Awaiting the sale of your property.
- Death of the policyholder
- Awaiting probate
- You are an executor
- Property is undergoing renovation/refurbishment works.
- If you go travelling or take an extended holiday.
- Cover for a holiday home
- Cover for a second home
- Waiting for occupation of the property (not landlord cover).
- If you, the sole occupier are absent due to extended hospitalisation.
Understanding more about empty Home Insurance
As it stands today, there are over half a million empty properties right across the UK, the highest rate for over two decades. An empty home is not only a thieves paradise but is also susceptible to damages caused by adverse weather conditions, squatters sheltering in the property, and vandals maliciously damaging your most prized possession. If your property is going to be empty for any length of time, you should take a look through our empty section below.
Empty property insurance definition
Generally, mainstream insurers define unoccupancy as any property that is vacant for 30 consecutive days or more. If this is likely to be the case for your property, it is vital that you inform your insurer. Failure to do so may result in your home insurance policy becoming void.
Short term home insurance
Some customers may be looking for cover for a very specific amount of time and potentially for a very limited timeframe. Whilst at this time we don’t have a specific short-term policy, our dedicated empty policy can be set up and then cancelled at any point after the initial cooling off period of 14 days. There is no cancellation fee throughout the policy term and we will organise a pro-rata refund of the remaining premium, ensuring you are only paying for the period of time on cover with us.
Empty house insurance over 30, 45, 60, 90 days
Some insurance companies offer customers the ability to extend the empty coverage within their policy. Often this is done in the form of ‘bolt on’ cover that is an extra cost to the basic premium. When taking out a policy designed to cover a period of emptiness, we strongly suggest understanding how long the term (in one go) is permitted.
Insurance empty house owner deceased
In the unfortunate situation where the original home insurance policyholder of the property has died, a new policy will be required to cover the property until the ownership of the property is decided. Cover will be required for the existing contents within the property and the protection of the buildings.
Is there anything I can do to lower the premium for my empty house insurance?
There are measures that you can put in place to lower the cost of your empty property insurance. Firstly we recommend that you install the appropriate security devices inside and outside of your home such as secure locks on all exterior doors and windows, and installing a working burglar alarm. Factors that may increase the cost of your premium include the inadequate security devices or a property of substantial value.
Changing from empty to occupied during the term of the policy
There are a number of reasons for the occupancy status of the property changing during the policy term. As a specialist empty property company, we can work with you to amend the policy to your specific needs. If you need to change the type of policy during the term of insurance, this is possible.
We accept both variations during the policy term;
- Property empty and subsequently switching to occupied
- Property occupied and subsequently switching to empty
In these scenarios, you would need to notify us of the change in occupancy status and we will update the policy for you.
Empty and waiting for sale
If you are currently selling your property you may have already moved out of the property and are waiting for a buyer. In these situations, you are likely to need this specialist cover. With the time it will take to sell the property being unknown, from months to potentially over a year, it is important you have a policy that can accommodate this unknown span of time.
Cheap empty house insurance
As we’ve outlined above, our dedicated home insurance for empty properties allows us to offer you extremely competitive premiums for this type of situation. Get a quote with us now and you can have your property protected within minutes.
Understanding what is covered
We strongly recommend reading the details of the quote we provide you before taking out insurance. In some scenarios the insurers we work with will put specific stipulations within the policy to allow them to quote for your specific situation. These stipulations do vary and are influenced by a number of factors so reading the policy wording and any exclusions is a must before accepting the terms of insurance.
Building’s cover as a condition of your mortgage
You may find that in the terms and condition of your mortgage that cover for the building is a minimal requirement. In these situations declaring your property is empty is vital to understand what you need to do next.
What to consider when leaving your property empty
The increased risk of an incident
If a property is left empty it immediately increases in risk compared to a standard occupied one. Without the regular to and fro from the property, it can quickly become obvious that there is something different about your property. There are a number of internal and external risks that can impact such a property that we go over below.
Reduce the threat to your property by making sure that you frequently visit and check that all security devices are still working correctly. You could also consider implementing timed lighting to make it appear that someone is at the house at different times of day, particularly after dark. Make sure that post is not left piled up in doorways and that the garden doesn’t become overgrown, as these are tell tale signs that a house is not being lived in.
The key points for the upkeep of an empty home:
• Regularly visits to the property, checking all front and rear main access points, including windows.
• Leave the alarm on (if applicable)
• Give the impression the property is lived in and there has been activity – ruffle the curtains, remove any post from inside any visible doorway, have lights on timers, etc
• If you have a trusted neighbour, you could look to leave a key with them to carry out some activities on your behalf (only give a key out to someone you fully trust).
• In winter, drain down the central heating system – avoid frozen/burst pipes.
Protecting your empty home
It is vital that you check your insurance policy to familiarise yourself with any clauses in your insurance contract. Some insurers will require the installation of specific high safety rated locks.
ADT are market leaders in producing and installing home security devices around the world. They have produced this useful guide to help you check the crime rate in your local area, or the area that your empty property is situated in. Obviously there are no guarantees that a low crime area means you will not fall victim to a burglary, but if there is a higher crime rate in your empty property’s area then you may wish to install some additional security to decrease the risk.
Many modern burglar alarms provide the option to link directly to the police should a break-in occur. If you are particularly concerned, or your property is in a high crime area, then investing in this additional service could certainly be money well spent.
Escape of water
If the water is left on then the escape of water can be a considerable risk to the property. Especially during colder months when the chance of a leak/burst pipe increases, the escape of water can lead to serious damage to the building structure and any contents left within. Considering there is limited access to the property, a leak could go undetected for a log period of time before being identified. Either shut off the water via the main stopcock or potentially look at fitting leak control valves that can detect a drop in pressure and automatically shut off the flow as a precaution.
Due to escape of water forming a significant percentage of home insurance claims, there are products available on the market to try and prevent and mitigate any leak damage. There are providers who offer leak detection devices, including an ability to automatically shut off the water supply instantly. More information on such devices can be found here.
With the limited use of the property, it is essential to make sure nothing encourages any wildlife, incest or pests to visit the property. Make sure all door and window seals are in place and intact. No access can be gained by birds through roof cavities etc. Prevention is definitely easier than cure in these circumstances. More information on dealing with vermin and infestation can be found at the citizens advice website here. There are also a number of major companies who can deal with infestation before the problem gets out of hand, such as Rentokil.
If you can’t be there to watch your property then enrolling in a neighbourhood program (if available locally) can be your eyes on the property. Providing your contact details and instructions on what to do it any activity is seen at the property can head of any events before they occur. More information on neighbourhood watch schemes can be found on the dedicated OurWatch website here.
Some of the top telltale signs that a property has been left empty for some time are an overgrown garden, the buildup of mail and newspapers, flaky external paintwork and broken glass. It is recommended that you maintain the property on a regular basis to avoid giving off any impression that your property is vacant.
This could be done by yourself or if you don’t have the time or availability to regularly attend the property, you could also look at specialist services. Simply hiring a gardener to maintain the property gardens etc can maintain the visual quality of the property and also provide the impression that the property is fully maintained and occupied.
Anyone who has gone through the process of trying to remove squatters from their property will know the time and financial cost of doing so. On top of this, there is the often considerable cost of repairing the property after the squatters have been evicted. Maintaining your property security is essential to reduce the opportunity for squatters to see your property as a potential target. For more information on squatters rights and other squatting matters you can visit the Government website here.
Using technology to maintain security
With the prices of security systems reducing every year, why not look at the possibility of installing a security system that allows you to monitor the property remotely via CCTV. There are many affordable and easily installed systems that can now be accessed via smartphone. Allowing you to check in on your property at any time and from any internet enabled device. This can also reduce the impact of any issues as a daily check can spot potentially costly issues being addressed early on.
High-value items left at empty properties are incredibly tempting to thieves and will often not be fully covered under empty property insurance. If your property is empty it may be worth removing any valuables and storing them somewhere safe, to decrease the risk of damage or theft. For more information on home CCTV you can view an artice on the independent website Which here.
Why do many insurers not like covering an empty home?
As we have discussed, the empty property is a higher risk scenario for an insurer to cover and with the variety of potential issues that could impact the property, the chance of a claim is much higher than an occupied property. Insurance companies based their businesses on risk profiling and as such, many will see an empty property as too high a risk to cover without charging an enhanced premium. Some insurers may decide to withdraw an offer of cover altogether as they prefer to concentrate on other types of cover.
If you do leave your property empty for longer than the allowed time stated in your current insurance policy then this can lead to serious consequences at the point of claim. The point of claim is when you need the insurance most, so to be told that the cover is not valid due to you not following the policy conditions and therefore the claim will not be paid is the nightmare scenario – but very possible outcome. Insurers are well within their right to cancel and remove the offer of cover as you have failed to adhere to the policy and withheld a material fact that impacts the policy. This leads onto the importance of having a specialist empty home insurance cover.