The unoccupied property insurance quote and related questions

March 4, 2012

Landlords Insurance

An unoccupied property insurance quote may give rise to certain questions.

Why is a quote of this type required?

It may not be – it typically only becomes relevant in circumstances were your property is likely to sit unoccupied for a period exceeding a number of days typically quoted in your buy to let insurance policy.

That number may typically be set somewhere between 30-45 days.  If your property is likely to sit unoccupied for a period exceeding this then your standard landlord insurance cover may lapse in full or part.

The solution to ensure continuity of cover may be provided by an unoccupied property insurance quote.

Under what circumstances would a standard policy cover an unoccupied property over 30-45 days?

Typically none.

Even if the reason for the property being unoccupied is not under your control (e.g. you are holding off letting pending the completion of redecoration which is now seriously overrunning) these conditions may apply.

There may be some exceptions – for example, some insurance providers may cover properties for up to 90 days in situations where you purchased the property unoccupied to begin with.

Why doesn’t cheap landlord insurance cover unoccupied property?

That is because insurance providers typically regard unoccupied properties as being more vulnerable to certain categories of problem than those that are occupied.

In passing, this may be nothing to do with the cost of your standard policy and it might pay to remember that what appears to be cheap for one person may not prove to be cheap or suitable for you.

Do landlord insurance policies differentiate between unoccupied and empty property?

In the sense of potentially needing to make special arrangements for unoccupied cover, no, they typically do not.  If your property is unoccupied it will be considered to be unoccupied whether it is furnished or unfurnished.

Having said that, some insurance providers may differentiate between properties that are unoccupied and unfurnished over longer-term periods – for example where you may have very extensive building and renovation/conversion work under way.

In such situations, insurance providers will typically be only too happy to offer you specific advice on what sort of longer-term cover you may require.

What happens if I occasionally sleep overnight in a property to avoid passing the 30-45 day limit?

Policies typically look at the materiality of a situation and may not be particularly receptive to you trying to explore apparent gaps in wording or trying to apply workarounds.

It may be advisable to consult your policy or insurance providers to be sure but as a general principle, it may not be advisable to approach something as important as your insurance cover on this sort of basis.

Your unoccupied property insurance quote may prove to be something that eventually stands between you and financial disaster, so taking it seriously may be highly sensible.

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