Making it easy to find and compare unoccupied insurance
As a specialist home insurance comparison site, CoverBuilder will provide you with a range of results based on your situation. This allows you to choose different cover and premiums depending on what level of insurance you need. Here you’ll find all the information you need about unoccupied property insurance. We’ll do all the legwork, comparing quotes from a wide range of specialist providers. By doing this we bring you a comprehensive selection of the best insurance deals on the market today.
What is unoccupied property insurance?
This is home insurance specially designed to cover houses that are going to be left empty for longer than normal periods. The policy is designed with the knowledge that an empty house is more of a risk to insure.
The result is this is often classed as a specialist home insurance and therefore not always offered by mainstream insurance companies. It is very important to tell your insurer if you plan to be away from your property for a prolonged period.
What situations require unoccupied insurance?
There are many circumstances where you may be required to take out specialised empty property insurance, and we’ve highlighted the most common scenarios below:
Comparing unoccupied insurance made easy
Comparing unoccupied property insurance through CoverBuilder couldn’t be easier. Our powerful insurance comparison software takes all the legwork out of comparing unoccupied property insurance quotes so you receive quotes that are tailored to your specific needs.
Before starting your quote, it is best to have the details about your property at hand, so for example the type of property (terraced, detached etc.), the age of the property, the reason for the unoccupancy (awaiting sale, renovation works, living abroad for work etc.), the mortgage details if relevant, and the length of time you want to cover, 30 days, 60 days, 90 days+.
You should also consider variables such as the level of excess you’re willing to pay should you need to claim, whether you need contents insurance included, the damages covered by the insurance, and the total rebuild cost should the worst happen. Be careful not to underestimate the amount of cover you need otherwise you could be left in financial complications should a rebuild estimate exceed your level of cover. Likewise, be sure not to over-insure as you’ll end up paying over the odds for cover you don’t need.
Cover for less than 12 months
The nature of unoccupied properties means some empty homes can be vacant for an unspecified amount of time. Whether that’s the standard 30 days which most mainstream insurers define unoccupancy as, or the more non standard timeframes of 60 or 90 days. Landlords who are currently between tenants, homeowners looking to sell a vacant property, properties in probate, and park home/Airbnb owners are just a few examples where short term unoccupied home insurance for a very limited period of time may be necessary.
Our dedicated unoccupied home insurance policy can be set up and then cancelled at any point. After the initial cooling off period of 14 days, there is a no cancellation fee throughout the policy term and we will then organise a pro-rata refund of the remaining premium, so if you’re after 90 days of unoccupied property insurance rather than a full 12 months, our flexible policy terms ensure you are only paying for the period of time on cover with us.
Some insurance companies also offer customers the ability to extend the unoccupied coverage within their policy, for example from 30 days to 90 days. 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 an unoccupied period, we strongly suggest understanding how long a term (in one go) is permitted.
Frequently asked questions
We’ve put together a list of questions often asked by customers looking to insure an unoccupied property.
Many unoccupied policy providers will state in the terms of their cover that someone must visit the property on a regular basis. This can be you or someone trustworthy you appoint. The frequency can vary from every week to every month as an example. The reason for these visits is to maintain some form of presence at the property and increase the chance of spotting any issues e.g. water leaking early and therefore preventing costly claims. Anyone watching the property will also see that the property is being visited on a regular basis and therefore puts off potential burglary.
This depends on the company you choose to insure with. Some will allow you to notify them that the property will no longer be left unoccupied for a long period and adjust the level of cover. Some may require you to cancel the policy and purchase a standard policy. It is very important to understand what the cancellation fees are for your policy or the policy you are thinking of buying. Cancellation fees vary by insurance company from £0 to as high as £100. You may also be charged for a set number of days on cover by some insurers.
Home insurers will allow you to cancel within 14 days for free and with a full refund. This is the ‘cooling off period’ and is provided in case you change your mind about the insurance policy or company. Outside of these 14 days the charges and cancellation fees vary quite considerably by insurance company. It is highly recommended to check what these fees are BEFORE you take the policy out. These extra fees can make initially cheap premiums work out more expensive. Some cancellation fees can be as high as £75 with a requirement to pay a minimum premium.
Depending on your insurance policy, there will be a standard allowance where you can leave your property empty and not have to notify your insurer. Within this unoccupied limit you will have the standard level of cover that comes with your policy. Once you go over that limit then the insurer will likely drop that level of cover down to a very basic level of standard perils. This means you are only covered for the basics e.g. fire or explosion and not for claims such as water damage and theft.
There are three main reasons why insurance companies consider a house left empty for long periods more of a risk.
- Greater levels of damage from fires, water and storm. This is due to someone not being there to spot the issue early. By the time the problem is discovered it has caused considerable damage, if not catastrophic. For the insurer the cost of the claim is much higher and more of a risk for them to insure.
- More susceptible to theft, malicious and criminal damage. Thieves will target empty houses that are less of a risk for them to break into and get caught. An empty house will allow more time and opportunity for thieves to steal more of your contents and cause damage.
- Damage from squatters can be extensive due to the general disregard and care shown to your property.
6 quick and easy ways to keep your empty house safe
An empty property can attract unwanted attention as a result of it not being well prepared, maintained and managed. Our quick guide provides a very simple overview on how to keep your home safe.
- Avoid leaving letters and flyers hanging out of the letterbox. This is one of the easiest signs for someone to spot an empty house.
- Maintain any gardens, lawns, trees and bushes. Neglecting any green areas around your property soon gives a tell-tale sign that there isn’t much attention being paid. Combined with point 1, someone looking for a potential target will look more closely at your empty house.
- Securely lock all windows and doors to make sure entry to the building is as difficult as possible. Where budget allows, multi-locking dead-bolts can be used to increase the difficulty of entry. This is often a condition of an empty house insurance policy.
- Installing an alarm is a visual and audible deterrent to anyone looking to gain illegal access to your property. Many alarm companies now offer full 24/7 monitoring and responding subscriptions.
- If you have a neighbour within the local vicinity of your property then think about asking them to check. Regular checks to make sure the property is secure and points 1&2 are addressed can help your property to stay off the radar.
- Keep the property exterior in good condition. You can then repair any wear and tear/damage before it leads to more complex issues.