Unoccupied Home Insurance

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What is unoccupied home insurance?

As standard, most insurers will only insure your home if it is unoccupied for a certain amount of time (usually 30-60 days). Therefore, if a claim is made and your property has been empty for more than the agreed term, your claim may be denied. If you vacate your property, it’s essential to check your policy's terms around how long you can leave before it is deemed an unoccupied property.

unoccupied property insurance

Unoccupied properties indicate a higher than average insurance risk because the owners are not present should a problem occur, such as a burst pipe, storm damage or a fire. There is also the increased potential for damage due to burglary or vandalism, or problems caused by bad weather.

You may find that if your home is left unoccupied for extended periods, under the terms of most standard household insurance policies, cover will be restricted or declined in the event of any claim being made during the time the property is left empty.

A property may become unoccupied for various reasons, such as:

  • The property is being sold
  • The property is being renovated
  • The property is a holiday or second home
  • You're a landlord with gaps between tenants
  • You are travelling overseas
  • You have left the property unoccupied owing to long-term care

Why use unoccupied home insurance?

Common types of cover included with unoccupied home insurance include:

  • Unoccupied buildings insurance: This covers damage to your home’s physical structure, its fixtures and often its fittings, commonly including roofs, chimneys, walls and windows.
  • Property owners liability cover: Property owners’ liability cover is used to protect you against compensation claims raised by third parties that have been injured at your property when you’re at fault.
  • Theft and malicious damage: This is used to protect your buildings and contents against theft, attempted theft and malicious damage and vandalism.

Often, unoccupied home insurance may also include:

  • Storm, flood or fire damage
  • Escape of water or oil
  • Legal expenses cover
  • Accidental damage, for both buildings and/or contents cover

Unoccupied vs. Vacant home?

Many people describe their unoccupied home as ‘vacant’, or vice versa. However, in the eyes of an insurer, these are different. An unoccupied home has no occupants living inside, but does contain contents or furniture. A vacant home has neither occupants or contents. Generally, unoccupied home insurance brokers will be able to offer quotes for both. If your home has contents, you’ll need to let your insurer know the total value of them.

How can we help?

Fortunately, QuoteRack works closely with insurance brokers who can offer you access to specialised schemes offered by niche insurance companies looking to provide unoccupied home insurance.

Frequently asked questions

Am I legally required to have unoccupied home insurance?

Like regular home insurance, unoccupied home insurance is not legally required, although your mortgage lender might insist on basic buildings insurance cover being in force as a condition of your mortgage. However, due to your property’s risk of damage or theft, while you’re away, repairs and claims can become costly without appropriate cover.

What does unoccupied home insurance not cover?

Most insurers will not provide cover for:

  • Unforced entry
  • Major on-site building works
  • Liability for contractors

Enquire through QuoteRack for unoccupied home insurance

If you have explored other avenues of enquiry in your search for unoccupied home insurance, then you are welcome to submit your details through the QuoteRack website, without cost or obligation to proceed when you receive your insurance quote.

Unoccupied home insurance - resources

Council Tax Discount for Unoccupied Homes

You may be eligible for a discount from your Council Tax if your property is a second home or unoccupied. Details are available from the GOV.UK website.

Advice on Council Tax for long-term unoccupied homes is also available from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

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"For those spending part of the year out of the country, perhaps in retirement, insurers need to be advised that the house, flat or apartment is being left unoccupied for extended periods."

"Second-home owners know that both buildings and contents can deteriorate if a property is left empty for an extended period. Damage not attended to immediately is likely to be more widespread and therefore cost more to repair if the property is unoccupied."

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