The top 8 situations where empty property cover may be needed

September 1, 2012

Landlords Insurance

Understanding the insurance implications of having an unoccupied property is important if you are to avoid potential troubles in the event of a claim.

This arises because typically a standard landlord policy may only provide cover for an unoccupied property for up to a maximum of 30 or 45 consecutive days.  After that time you may need to look for cheap unoccupied property insurance.

Here are some examples of situations in which you may need to take special steps to protect your interests:

  1. delays in finding new tenants.  Even in a buoyant letting marketplace, this can happen and sometimes catch you by surprise;
  2. tenants failing to arrive when due.  If your tenants are due to move in on day 29 of your property being unoccupied but then subsequently fail to do so, the following day your existing insurance may become invalid if your policy only covers you for 30 consecutive days;
  3. overrunning building work.  Many property owners will have had the unpleasant experience of seeing building or redecoration work running on for longer than anticipated;
  4. divorce.  Asset settlements can occasionally be contested, controversial and subject to delays during divorce proceedings.  In such situations, you may need to watch the total number of days that your property stands unoccupied as formalities are concluded;
  5. probate.  Dealing with wills and successions can equally take considerable amounts of time;
  6. extended holidays.  Although the standard unoccupied cover provided by a policy may be adequate for ordinary holidays, if your tenants are planning extended periods abroad on business or pleasure then you may need to take steps to deal with the insurance implications;
  7. unforeseen delays returning from holidays or business trips.  Typically, the unoccupied property clause will take effect irrespective of whether you have had any direct control over the cause or not.  Therefore, even if you or your tenants are delayed on an overseas business trip by circumstances beyond your control, the insurance implications will still need to be dealt with;
  8. post-incident uninhabitable property.  If you are forced to ask your tenants to vacate following a serious incident such as a fire, then you may still need to be aware that your premises may be categorised as unoccupied from the date they vacate.

At CIA Insurance we have extensive experience of this and other aspects of property cover. We’d welcome the chance to explain more about this area to you if anything in the above is unclear.

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