If your property is going to be left empty for some time then you should consider a specialist policy. If you want to protect your property and possessions whilst leaving it empty, we’re 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. You’ll then be connected with an insurance expert to guide you through.
- 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 it short-term. 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. This is regardless of whether you pay monthly or in full. Learn more about our cancellation promise.
Need a little help quoting?
We have insurance experts ready to help if you want to ask a question. Our average call answering is under 1 minute so give us a call on 0333 358 3359. Alternatively, you can chat with us online via our livechat option (bottom right).
*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 specialist risks, such as empty homes, easily. There is also no need to go through all your information over the phone. You can get a quote and buy directly online within minutes so let our website do the heavy work for you. Our comparison of 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?
The majority of customers who take out our empty cover request that it’s just buildings only. However, 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 home 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. This is the highest rate for over two decades. An empty home can be a thieves’ paradise. It is also susceptible to damage caused by adverse weather, squatters sheltering in the property, and damage from vandals.
Empty property insurance definition
Generally, insurers define an unoccupied property as one that is vacant for 30 days in a row 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. This may be for a very limited timeframe. Whilst at this time we don’t have a specific short-term policy, our cover can be set up and then cancelled at any point. There is no cancellation fee throughout the policy term and we will also organise a pro-rata refund of the remaining premium. This means you will only ever pay for the period of time on cover with us.
Insurance empty house owner deceased
Where the original policyholder has died, a new policy will be required to cover the property until probate is settled. At this point, the property will be transferred to the new owner’s name who will take out their own cover. However, cover will be required for the existing contents in the property and the protection of the buildings until this point.
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. This includes things 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 poor security devices or a property of high 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. We can then update the policy for you.
Empty and waiting for sale
If you are currently selling your property you may have already moved out while you wait for a buyer. In these situations, you are likely to need this specialist cover. The time it will take to sell the property is often unknown and could range from months to over a year. Therefore, 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 panel of underwriters allow us to offer you 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. These stipulations do vary and are influenced by a number of factors. Therefore, 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 make sure you are complying.
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 nobody is living there. 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 visit regularly. During these visits, you should check that all security devices are still working correctly. You could also consider using timed lighting to make it appear that someone is at the house at different times of the day. This is particularly useful after dark. Make sure that post is not left piled up in doorways and that the garden doesn’t become overgrown. These are both telltale 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 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. Obviously, there are no guarantees that a low crime area means you will not fall victim to a burglary. However, if there is a higher crime rate in your area you may wish to install some additional security. Doing so will help 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. With regular visits, the leak could go undetected for a long period of time. Therefore it is sensible to think about shutting off the water via the main stopcock. You could also look at fitting leak control valves that can detect a drop in pressure. These will then automatically shut off the flow as a precaution.
Escape of water forms a large percentage of home insurance claims. As a result, there are products available on the market to try and prevent and minimise any leak damage. Some leak detection devices include an ability to automatically shut off the water supply instantly. More information on such devices can be found here.
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 can be sensible. 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.
There are some telltale signs that a property has been left empty for some time. These include 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. This will avoid giving off an impression that your property is empty.
You could choose to do this yourself. However, if you don’t have the time or availability you could also look at specialist services. Simply hiring a gardener to maintain the gardens can maintain the visual quality of the property. It also provides 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.