Wondering whether you need an unoccupied property insurance quote?

February 7, 2013

Landlords Insurance

Some landlords occasionally express confusion as to whether or not they will require unoccupied property cover and under what circumstances.

When is a property unoccupied?

When you look at a typical landlords’ policy, you may see that it provides cover for unoccupied properties up to a specified maximum number of consecutive days.

The actual number used might differ between policies but broadly speaking, it is likely to be somewhere in the range of 30-45 days.

Once that period of time has elapsed, your property may become formally categorised by your insurance provider as being unoccupied. At that point, if you take no further action, your buildings and contents insurance may become invalid in full or part.

In order to maintain the protection of your asset, you may need to consider getting an unoccupied property insurance quote and then subsequently purchasing such cover.

Circumstances

It is worth noting that the above conditions are typically invariable.  They may apply in any circumstances where your property is unoccupied be that due to:

  • an unexpected and extended gap between tenancies;
  • your house or flat becoming bogged down in divorce or probate proceedings;
  • you are unable to let it as building work is underway; etc.

Note that there is no question in these conditions of any sense of control or fault.

Unoccupied cover requirements typically apply even if the circumstances prove to be entirely beyond your control.

Justification

There is a sound logic behind an insurance provider’s application of the unoccupied property rule.

Common sense and life experience should tell us that an unoccupied property is at significantly higher risk than one with occupants present.  Although the risks of things such as storm damage may not change at all, the potential problems arising from burglary, vandalism and cumulative damage due to problems going unnoticed (e.g. a leaking pipe) will clearly be higher if there are no tenants or occupants present.

For that reason, the provider of your policy may require a different form of cover to that normally associated with occupied premises.

Such cover may bring with it certain requirements to try and reduce the chances of other parties seeing that occupants are not present.  For example, you may be required to keep all external areas clean and tidy, avoid the accumulation of post and in some cases, put lights on timer switches.

 

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