Home insurance where the property is unoccupied
If you leave your home unoccupied for any length of time, it’s vital that you have the correct level of home insurance in place. We offer a range of cover options and the ability to buy insurance for your unoccupied home for up to 12 months. When you quote with CoverBuilder, we’ll aim to provide a choice of results that offer differing levels of cover and premiums. Our website will provide an online premium with instant cover and online document access 24/7. If you do cancel before 12 months then we are one of the only providers who offer a no cancellation fee promise and the option to only pay for the time you need cover for.
Our policies can be tailored to include:
- Buildings cover up to £1.5million
- Cover for the essentials including fire, flood, weather and storm damage
- Cover for theft, malicious damage & vandalism available
- Damage by squatters
- Unoccupied allowed up to 12 months
- The freedom to cancel early and receive a pro-rate refund for the time unused
- No mid-term cancellation fees
Cover will vary depending on your circumstances, please review your quote information carefully.
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 or chat with us online via our livechat option (bottom right).
When do I need specialist unoccupied home insurance?
Property awaiting sale
If you are currently selling your property you may have already moved out of the home and are waiting for a buyer. In these situations, you need this specialist cover. With the time it will take to sell the home being unknown, from months to potential over a year, it is important you have a policy that can accommodate this unknown span of time.
Death of the current policyholder
In the unfortunate situation where the original home insurance policyholder of the property has died, a new policy will be required to cover the home until the ownership of the property is decided. The cover will be required for the existing contents of the home and the protection of the home and any outbuildings.
Property in probate
When a property is going through probate, responsibility to insure the home will fall with the executors of the estate. Our executor cover protects you, as the executor, and the property until sale or occupation. The combination of the current home insurance ending and the home is empty for an undetermined amount of time, you will be looking for an insurance provider who can offer cover for this circumstance.
Properties undergoing renovation
If you are planning on renovating your home, either full scale or extension work and you plan to leave the home empty, then specialist unoccupied home insurance is designed for your needs. Our dedicated renovation insurance is designed to cover a wide range of buildings works regardless of whether the property is occupied or not.
Second home/Holiday homes
If you are in the fortunate position of owning a second home, you are likely to require a specialist insurance policy to cover it. This could be either because you have purchased a holiday home that you and your family use a few times a year or a second home that you live in during the week, returning home at weekends.
Sometimes people will take extended holidays either to visit family who live overseas, to enjoy a well earned extended break or to go travelling and see the world. Whatever the reason, this situation will often leave your home unoccupied for up to a few months at a time. This is something that is unacceptable to many mainstream insurers which is where a provider such as CoverBuilder comes in.
Stationed abroad (HM Forces)
If you are employed by the armed forces then from time to time you are likely to be stationed abroad, leaving your property at home empty. As this is a specialist situation, with the property being part occupied and part unoccupied, you will need a flexible insurance policy to provide you with the relevant cover for your needs.
Occupations with prolonged periods away from home
There are other occupations that can lead to you living away from your property for periods of time, such as working on an offshore oil rig. Many standard providers are unable to cover this kind of situation, due to your unoccupied property being classed as high risk. At CoverBuilder we are able to cover you no matter how long you’re away for.
A choice of unoccupied cover
We work with a panel of specialist underwriters to offer, where possible, more than one option of cover based on your circumstances. We’ve negotiated prices for our specialist unoccupied cover to keep our premiums competitive whilst offering the right level of cover.
1. Our quotes are 100% online meaning no lengthy phone call referrals
2. Offering competitive rates for those with a vacant home
3. A wide range of acceptance criteria
4. Instant online decision & acceptance
5. Standard policy excesses apply unless otherwise stated in policy documents
6. Outstanding customer support, including calls answered on average in under 1 minute
MORE ABOUT UNOCCUPIED PROPERTY INSURANCE
As it stands today, there are over half a million unoccupied 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. Whilst the majority of customers who take out our unoccupied 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.
Unoccupied property insurance definition
Mainstream insurers general define non-occupancy as any property that is unoccupied for 30 consecutive days or more. You’ll notice if you use price comparison website and indeed ourselves that the standard questions ask along the lines of ‘Will the property be unoccupied for 30 days or more?’. If this is the case for your property, it is vital that you inform us, or the insurer you quote with. Failure to do so may result in your home insurance policy becoming void and at the point of claim, you are rejected leaving you with the cost of any damage repairs.
Unoccupied property insurance Northern Ireland
The good news is we are also able to offer the same unoccupied property insurance benefits to our customers in Northern Ireland. Our insurance panel is designed to include properties in Northern Ireland including properties in probate or awaiting sale.
Unoccupied property insurance for less than 12 months
Short term unoccupied house insurance
Whilst we don’t specifically offer short-term policies we do allow you to cancel mid-term free of charge and with no penality charge. We will then organise a pro-rata refund of the remaining premium, ensuring you are only paying for the period of insurance with us. It is worth checking the small print and cancellation of other unoccupied property insurers as many have considerable cancellation fees AND require you to pay the remainder of the premium before canceling. Check it for yourself.
Unoccupied insurance over 30, 45, 60, 90 days
Some insurance companies offer customers the ability to extend the unoccupied 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 unoccupied, we strongly suggest understanding how long the term (in one go) is permitted as getting this wrong can lead to the potential of any future claim being voided.
Changing from unoccupied 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 unoccupied 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 unoccupied and subsequently switching to occupied
• Property occupied and subsequently switching to unoccupied
In these scenarios, you would need to notify us of the change in occupancy status and we will update the policy for you.
Is there anything I can do to lower the premium?
There are measures that you can put in place to lower the cost of unoccupied home insurance. Firstly we recommend that you install the appropriate security devices inside and outside of your homes 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.
For more information on home safety systems check our impartial advice from WHICH? here.
Cheap unoccupied property insurance
As we’ve outlined above, our dedicated home insurance for unoccupied 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 with specialist unoccupied property insurance within minutes.
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 exclusion 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 conditions of your mortgage that cover for the building is a minimal requirement. In these situations declaring your property is unoccupied is vital to understand what you need to do next.
Keeping an unoccupied property safe
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.
In an emergency, this website will help you find an industry-approved plumber local to you – Emergency plumber – WaterSafe. If the burst pipe is external to your property, you will need to contact your water supplier as soon as possible – here is information on who to contact.
How to reduce the risk of an incident
An unoccupied property is going to be more of a target for thieves, vandals, and squatters. This is going to be down to the fact that there is generally less vigilance and deterrence at the property. With that in mind, we’ve created some useful tips to help keep your property safe when you’re not there to protect it:
- Maintain your property. Some of the top telltale signs that a property has been left unoccupied 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.
- Arrange checks by your neighbour or local contact/ If for whatever reason, you are unable to check up on the property regularly, we suggest that you contact a neighbour or other trustworthy source that may be able to visit the home on a regular basis on your behalf. This contact needn’t be the policyholder, so long as the checks are taking place frequently. There are numerous neighbourhood watch schemes that can help secure your property while you’re away.
- Install the necessary security measures. 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. It is also highly recommended that your property is equipped with a sound working burglar alarm and in some cases CCTV, particularly if thieves have historically targeted the area. Any items of high value should also be removed from the property, as there are unlikely to be covered by your home insurance policy.
If you plan on leaving your property unoccupied for any long period of time you could consider employing a third-party company to help keep your property safe and secure, examples are; VPS, Secure Empty Property and Safe Site Security.
Click here for more information regarding squatters in the UK.
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.
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 unoccupied property insurance. If your property is empty it may be worth removing any valuables and storing them somewhere safe or at least secure them more appropriately on-site e.g. in a certified home safe for example here.
For more information on home CCTV you can view an article on the independent website Which here.
6 quick tips to keep your property safe
- Keep your mailbox clear, avoid letters and junk mail building up signaling little use of the property.
- Keep gardens and driveways clean and maintained.
- Secure all windows and access doors with strong deadbolt locks. Where possible use multi-locking systems.
- If budget allows then install an alarm that is linked live to a monitoring service. Many services these days offer smartphone app access and notifications.
- Ask a neighbour (trusted) to watch the property and notify you of any issues.
- Maintain the property exterior, avoid the building looking run down or uncared for.
Our guide to unoccupied home insurance
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to unoccupied home insurance. This walks through a list of top tips and the steps required to insure your property and keep your investment safe.
Unoccupied property insurance online quote
We’ve specifically designed our website to allow you to quote for specialist risks, such as unoccupied, easily and without having to go through all your information over the phone. You can get a full unoccupied property insurance comparison quote and buy directly online within minutes. Let our website do the heavy work for you, our full unoccupied home insurance comparison of insurance policies lets you pick a quote for your specific requirements from our panel of top UK insurance specialists.
Insurance for unoccupied property comparisons
As we use a panel of leading specialist home insurance providers, we are able to offer you at least one option to insure your unoccupied property on most occasions. Sometimes we may need to know a bit more information about your circumstances in order to help you correctly. You will find CoverBuilder on comparison websites such as Compare The Market however, our prices are the same whether you go through a comparison website or direct.