Looking for cheap unoccupied property insurance?

November 7, 2012

Landlords Insurance

An empty building is statistically more prone to risk than one that is occupied on a continuous basis. Just such an appraisal of that risk lies behind many insurers’ – of both owner-occupied and let property – action to significantly reduce the level of cover maintained once the building become unoccupied for any length of time.

If and when that happens, you may need purpose designed empty property insurance in order to maintain an adequate level of protection for your investment:

  • insurers may adopt different definitions when it comes to a residential property falling empty – some might regard it as unoccupied if there is no one living there for more than a continuous period of 30 days, others set the period at 45 days, while still others might allow a period of as long as 90 consecutive days in certain circumstances;
  • whatever the interval defined by a particular insurer, however, the level of cover beyond that allowable period of vacancy is almost certain to lead to at least a reduction in the level of cover, if not the expiry of the policy itself – because the risks inherent in an unoccupied property are considerably greater than one continuously inhabited;
  • in order to meet those risks, therefore, you may need a type of landlord insurance specifically written to cover the risks of a vacant property;
  • when there is no one at home, for example, otherwise simple and easily spotted, routine maintenance tasks – such as attending to a minor ingress of water – might turn into a serious incident;
  • an obviously empty property might also attract the unwelcome attention of thieves or vandals;
  • if you are on the path to securing cheap unoccupied property insurance, therefore, there may be ways you are able to help mitigate such risks;
  • typically, these are largely a matter of common sense and involve little more than maintaining a look out for maintenance problems and disguising the fact that the property is temporarily unoccupied;
  • not only might such precautions be seen as sensible, but they also help you to share with any insurer the risks to which your vacant property may be exposed – and sharing the risk in this way might help to keep down the cost of the necessary premiums.

Although there are ways you might help to reduce the cost of insuring an empty or unoccupied property, therefore, it may also be helpful to remember that “cheap” is a relative term – an affordable price for you to pay may be considered less attractive to another landlord. What you are more likely to welcome, in other words, is cover that does the job that you want it to do, at a competitive price.

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