Tag Archives: unoccupied property insurance

Maintaining your unoccupied property

May 19, 2012

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We are sometimes asked questions relating to unoccupied property, both in terms of insurance and legal requirements.

We are not qualified to offer legal advice and you may be advised to obtain your own legal opinion, however, the following general points may be of interest:

  • if your property is going to stand unoccupied for more than a specified period of time (typically around 30 consecutive days) then it may be officially categorised as an unoccupied property;
  • in such situations, you may need to take out unoccupied property insurance (whether you have cheap landlords insurance are not) if you wish to see continuity of cover on your property;
  • even if your property is unoccupied, you may still have certain legal liabilities relating to it being a safe structure – for example, if someone is injured by it they may have the right to sue you for compensation;
  • this therefore means that it is highly advisable to keep your property well maintained, even if it is currently not being used for letting purposes;
  • remember that unoccupied property may be particularly appealing to thieves, vandals and possibly those that may seek to occupy it without your consent, therefore, it makes sense to try and keep the building concerned in lived-in appearance;
  • it is typically sensible to ensure that all mains services are shut off at source though if you have sprinkler systems, you may need to leave elements of the water systems connected;
  • it may be important to keep external areas of the property in well maintained condition and appearance for a number of reasons;
  • if you do not, its appearance may deteriorate and cause friction with neighbours;
  • if you are trying to let it, untidy and poorly maintained property may be that much more difficult to find tenants for;
  • little may discourage potential purchasers, if you are trying to sell, than an untidy and poorly maintained external appearance;
  • if you have a buy to let mortgage, you may find that there are clauses in the contract requiring that you keep your property in good condition and attend to all appropriate maintenance as required, in order to protect your asset and the funds of the lender.
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Cheap unoccupied property insurance

April 21, 2012

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If you have no tenants in your buy to let property and it looks as if it may stay that way for an extended period of time, then you may need to think about looking for some cheap unoccupied property insurance:

  • a standard landlord house insurance policy may provide you with the cover you need based upon the assumption that your property has tenants living in it;
  • your tenants may be in a position to notify you if there are problems which need to be looked at in your property;
  • you can, therefore, arrange to have that leaking pipe or broken window fixed before it causes more extensive and possibly more expensive to repair damage;
  • the fact that your property exhibits signs of habitation, lights in the windows in the evening etc, may help to deter thieves and vandals;
  • getting a cheap unoccupied property insurance quote from your landlords insurance broker may help you ensure that you have the cover appropriate for your position;
  • the cover provided by this kind of policy may vary and you may wish to read any policy carefully to ensure that it is appropriate for you – what may be cheap and appropriate cover for you may not be as suitable for another landlord;
  • you may find that within the terms and conditions of this type of cover there are certain obligations for you as a landlord – if you fail to comply with those then your cover may be at risk;
  • you may be required, for example, to make regular visits to your property or arrange to have someone do this for you, to ensure that essential ongoing maintenance is kept up to date and to help catch any potential problems before they turn into something more serious;
  • you may also be required to keep a record of these visits  and the work carried out on each occasion;
  • draining down heating and water systems may also be required, particularly during the winter months;
  • the terms and conditions under which unoccupied property cover may become necessary may vary depending on your standard buy to let policy;
  • with some policies the period of non-occupancy may be set at 30 days, while others may only require you to have cheap unoccupied property insurance  cover after 45 days. If your property has been empty since the inception of your buy to let cover then that period may be stretched to 90 days.
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The unoccupied property insurance quote and related questions

March 4, 2012

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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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Getting to grips with unoccupied property insurance

February 17, 2012

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Here are some of the basic points to understand regarding unoccupied property insurance:

  • this form of cover may be required in circumstances where your property sits unoccupied for more than a number of days as specified in your policy – this may be around 30 or 45 days or even as long as 90 depending on the policy and the circumstances;
  • should such a situation come to pass, then your standard landlords insurance may become invalid;
  • unoccupied means that nobody is living there – it does not mean empty and this condition may apply even if your property remains fully furnished;
  • the position may be as outlined above, whether you have cheap landlords insurance, landlords contents insurance or buy to let buildings insurance (it may even apply to owner-occupier home buildings and contents insurance policies);
  • typically the reason the property is standing unoccupied will not be a factor, so you may find yourself in this position if you have an extended gap between lettings or your property is tied up in divorce or probate proceedings etc;
  • this form of empty property insurance policy may provide you with continuity of cover but it may also bring with it certain additional requirements for the policy holder;
  • these additional requirements may include things such as needing to periodically inspect the property and dealing with any problems discovered, keeping all external areas in a good tidy condition so that passers-by may have no reason to suspect that the property is unoccupied and possibly putting some internal lights on automatic timer switches;
  • it may be advisable to keep some form of written record of your inspection visits to the property and any of the above types of action or remedial activity you may have conducted during the period;
  • if you do not wish to find that your insurance cover has been prejudiced by your property drifting over the maximum number of permissible days for an unoccupied property, it may be worthwhile finding out more about unoccupied property insurance.
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The circumstances that may make unoccupied property insurance necessary

January 22, 2012

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There are a number of circumstances under which landlords may find themselves needing unoccupied property insurance:

  • landlord house insurance may become entirely or partly (depending on the exact nature of your policy) invalid if your property sits unoccupied for a period longer than a number of days stated in the policy;
  • the logic of this is simple – a property that is unoccupied may be at higher risk of certain types of problem (e.g. criminal entry) than properties which are occupied;
  • this condition may not only apply to landlords insurance but also to owner-occupier policies as well;
  • there may be any number of reasons why your property became unoccupied but these may typically not be of interest to the provider of insurance – even situations which you could not control, such as building work over running meaning your property was not available for rental for longer than you had anticipated;
  • it may be worth keeping in mind that this insurance condition may also come into play in situations where you have a property tied up in probate or divorce proceedings etc;
  • once you have put unoccupied property cover into place, your interests may continue to be protected, however, it may be worth noting that you may have changed obligations with respect to keeping your policy in force – those may include things such as regularly visiting the property, attending promptly to any problems discovered and keeping external garden areas in good maintained condition;
  • the number of elapsed days for empty properties may vary slightly from one policy to another but typically averages between 30 and 45 – there may also be some slightly special conditions in situations where your property was standing empty at the time you purchased it and may be so for an ongoing period;
  • unoccupied property insurance may be required irrespective of whether or not your property is furnished – this condition and cover relates to the occupancy status of the building not its contents position.
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A cheap unoccupied property insurance quote – questions and answers

January 19, 2012

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Here are the answers to some commonly heard questions on the subject of the cheap unoccupied property insurance quote.

Is unoccupied property insurance obligatory?

No landlord insurance is obligatory in the sense that it is a legal requirement.

However, in some cases, a specific buy to let mortgage may require that you have buildings cover in place and that implies landlords insurance.  You may, therefore, have a contractual obligation to ensure that your property is adequately covered in all circumstances.

If your property is likely to stand unoccupied for a period exceeding a specified number of days in the policy, then your standard let property insurance may become invalid and you may need a cheap unoccupied property insurance quote as the first stage in you maintaining your cover.

What is different about an unoccupied property?

In some respects, perhaps apparently very little is different.  There is no reason to believe that an unoccupied property is, for example, more or less likely to be struck by lightning than one that is occupied.

Yet if you look at this in terms of the total risk profile, you may see that certain categories of risk may be more prevalent in cases where a property is unoccupied.

Perhaps the best examples are that such properties may be at greater risk of illegal entry or vandalism than those that are occupied, or more vulnerable to being damaged by something that goes unnoticed, such as a water leak.

In order to cover that changed risk profile, insurance providers have a specific unoccupied property policy.

Why are a number of days specified?

Insurance providers typically recognise that your property may stand unoccupied at times for short periods while tenants are coming and going etc. In such cases, your existing policy will remain valid for the number of days specified.

Does a cheap unoccupied property insurance quote offer better value?

It may or may not do.

It may always be advisable to consider the most important thing about insurance to be the cover, protection and reassurance it provides, rather than its price tag.

If you select a particularly low-cost empty property insurance policy that subsequently turns out to be inadequate for your needs, then you may discover the hard way that what is cheap for someone else may not prove to be cheap for you.

It would be wise to ensure that you have read the policy cover carefully before making a decision to purchase it.  A good starting point would be to study very attentively the detail of your cheap unoccupied property insurance quote.

 

 

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Cheap landlord house insurance – a cautionary tale

December 23, 2011

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As a landlord, particularly as the year draws to a close and Christmas and New Year expenses loom, any suggestion that you may need to be cautious about advertisements for cheap landlord house insurance, may not necessarily be well-received.

 

Yet nevertheless, this is what this article must do.

 

In a sense, this point should not need making. It is a common wisdom, generally accepted, that in life there is a tendency to get what you pay for.  That is not to entirely disparage products trying to sell themselves as cheap landlord house insurance but simply to suggest that it may be advisable to look at them both closely and objectively.

 

For example, you may wish to ask whether or not the policy provides:

 

  • cover for all types of tenants including categories such as students and DSS;

 

  • all risks protection;

 

  • adequate third party liability maximum sums;

 

  • cover against subsidence risks to your property;

 

  • a contribution towards any rental income you may lose, should your property be badly affected by an insured risk;

 

  • malicious damage cover, where such is caused by your tenants;

 

  • discounts for insuring several properties (i.e. property portfolio insurance).

 

It may also be useful to consider whether or not your landlords insurance provider is able to offer cheap unoccupied property insurance as well – such cover may be necessary in situations where your property is left unoccupied for a period exceeding a number of days that are specified in the policy.

 

Typically, unoccupied property insurance is not included, as standard, in a landlord insurance policy.

 

An area that is sometimes overlooked is that of what opportunities may be available on some policies for making economies through risk-reduction behaviours, such as ensuring that your property is adequately protected by safety and security measures.

 

The bottom line may be very simple – cover that someone else may regard as cheap landlord house insurance may not be something that you would necessarily find to be the cheapest or most suitable option.  There may be no alternative but to look carefully at your requirements and to try and ensure that any candidate policy is a relatively close match to them.

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Unoccupied property insurance – your questions and answers

December 8, 2011

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Through our services, we are committed to clarifying areas of insurance that may, at times, appear to be a little complicated.  Unoccupied property insurance is one such area where questions may be regularly asked.

 

Why does unoccupied property require special insurance?

 

Insurers and indeed numbers of landlords, typically regard a property that is unoccupied as constituting a greater risk than one which has tenants in it.

 

There may be many reasons why that is the case including obvious scenarios such as burglars, vandals and minor problems going unnoticed and turning into major catastrophes (e.g. a minor leak becoming a flood over time if it is not noticed).

 

Insurers understand that a property may become unoccupied for a short period time due to routine circumstances – tenant changeovers and redecoration being two such examples.  That is why landlord house insurance typically contains a provision that allows a property to be unoccupied for a specified period time (perhaps 30-45 days) before further action is required.

 

If the period without occupation exceeds the number of days specified, you might need unoccupied property insurance if you are to ensure continuity of cover.

 

What if property is unoccupied over the specified days and it is not my fault?

 

Unfortunately, insurers may not make any special allowances in such situations.

 

For example, if your tenants were due to arrive but let you down at the last minute, your insurance cover may still lapse unless you have unoccupied property insurance in place.

 

Is this affected at all by whether or not the property is furnished/unfurnished?

 

Typically no, it is not.

 

However, some policies may apply slight variations on the insurance required in situations where your property is unfurnished and unoccupied over a very extended period.

 

What if my property is closed-up pending divorce or probate settlements etc?

 

This would not change your requirements for unoccupied property cover.

 

In fact, this condition applies typically to almost any property including owner-occupier properties where such situations may also arise due to extended holidays or business trips etc.

 

What if I occasionally stay overnight in the property during the period?

 

Different policies may have different approaches towards unusual circumstances.

 

As a matter of principle, your insurance may relate to what is called materiality – in other words, is your property really occupied or unoccupied?

 

In cases where the circumstances are complicated and open to interpretation, it may be advisable to seek advice in advance rather than simply to presume that you will not need unoccupied property insurance. We will be more than happy to help.

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CIA Insurance- Tenant Types

November 2, 2011

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Types of tenants – professional, unoccupied, student lets, asylum seekers, and DSS

There is only one thing worse than having no tenants to a landlord and that’s having non-professional tenants that are difficult to insure. With CIA Insurance’s help though, there is no such thing as difficult to insure, you can get cover for just about anyone, from professional to DSS. You can even ensure you are covered during dreaded unoccupied periods.

With a changing population, the effects of immigration and housing executive demands, it is likely that many landlords will be offered non-professional tenants at some stage. Thanks to CIA Insurance you can now say yes to this group and ensure your buy to let property is empty for a minimum of time. CIA Insurance can provide insurance cover for professionals, students, asylum seekers and DSS tenancies.

Certain tenants are more desirable than others and CIA Insurance understands all the risks involved and can cater for them accordingly giving the landlord peace of mind no matter what happens.

 

We hope you found this information useful. Please remember to use CIA Insurance when you or your family and friends need motorcycle insurance, landlords insurance or commercial insurance.

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CIA-Unoccupied property insurance…

October 29, 2011

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Unoccupied Property Insurance

If you own a property but it is unlikely to be occupied for long periods or a long period (over 90 days consecutively), unoccupied property insurance is a must.

CIA Unoccupied Property Insurance

Finding insurance for unoccupied properties isn’t easy because many insurers perceive the risk to be substantially greater. As such, you need to look for a specialist insurance company and this is where CIA Insurance can help because we are competitive and can offer extensive cover.

Our unoccupied property insurance is a must as it gives the most comprehensive cover available. From water escape to attempted theft and actual theft, you will be covered with vacant property insurance which offers cover similar to normal residential occupied household insurance cover.

Properties of all values can be fully covered and we can cover vandalism / malicious damage.

Whatever the risk and whatever your needs, CIA Insurance can cover all your unoccupied property insurance needs at competitive rates.

We also offer unoccupied commercial property insurance with short term cover available (6 months and 12 months).


We hope you found this information useful. Please remember to use CIA Insurance when you or your family and friends need motorcycle insurance, landlords insurance or commercial insurance.

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