Everything you need to know about unoccupied house insurance
While home insurance isn’t technically a legal requirement, it is a form of insurance that you will probably want to ensure that you have in order to keep your home and its belongings protected in the event that you need to make a claim.
Most mortgage lenders will expect you to have at least a buildings insurance policy before accepting your application.
It’s also important to know about insuring your house with home buildings insurance and home contents insurance when it’s unoccupied, so whether you’re wanting to take out empty house insurance while you’re on holiday or you’re thinking about insuring a house that no one lives in, it’s important to know more about unoccupied home cover so that you know what you’re covered for and in which circumstances.
When it comes to home insurance when you're selling your house or you're on holiday for a certain number of days, we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know in our detailed guide below.
What is unoccupied house insurance?
Unoccupied house insurance does exactly what it says in its name; it offers cover for when your home is left empty for a number of different reasons.
With a standard home insurance policy, you will only be covered if your house is left unoccupied for up to 60 days, but if your home is empty for anything longer than that, you won’t be covered if anything happens.
What does unoccupied insurance cover?
Unoccupied home insurance covers you and your home for many of the same things that a standard home insurance policy covers, as well as a few extra things:
- Any natural disaster that causes your home to suffer from fire, flood or storm damage.
- If there is a burst pipe or a leak somewhere in your home.
- If there is an attempted theft or an actual break-in to your home, you can be covered for any damage caused as a result, as well as if they stole any of your belongings.
- If the house has been empty for a long time and squatters or trespassers have claimed residency, your unoccupied home insurance can pay legal fees for their removal.
- You can also get public liability insurance which will cover you if your property causes damage to a nearby car as a result of a fallen roof tile, for example.
You might like: What is public liability insurance?
What is not covered by unoccupied home insurance?
While you will be covered for many eventualities with an unoccupied home insurance policy, there are also some things that a policy won’t cover you for, including:
- Some providers won’t cover you if you’re having major building or renovation work done to your home such as an extension or extensive repairs to your’s home structure.
- If there is a break-in, but there are no signs of forced entry. For example, if you left your doors and windows unlocked, then you likely won’t be covered under unoccupied home insurance.
- It’s unlikely that you’ll be covered for any damage that contractors or workers cause while working on your home.
In what situations do you need unoccupied home insurance?
You may want to consider taking out an unoccupied house insurance policy if your circumstances fall under one of the following:
- If you’re going on holiday for an extended period of time.
- If your house is for sale and you’ve already moved into your new house.
- If the property operates as a holiday home or a house that you’ve inherited and you don’t spend all your time there.
- If you’ve just bought the house but you won’t be moving into it for a while.
- If you’re waiting for probate.
- If the structure of the house itself needs building or renovation work and it isn’t safe to live there.
- If you’re a landlord and there are currently no tenants living in your property.
How long can you leave a house unoccupied for?
There is no exact timeframe in which you can leave your home unoccupied; it depends on how long you plan on leaving it empty for.
However, your standard insurer will likely only cover you for between 30 and 60 days, so anything longer than that and you will likely need to take out specific unoccupied home insurance. Most unoccupied home insurance providers offer policies for 3, 6, 9 and 12-month periods. If you expect to leave your home unoccupied for longer than 12 months, you will have to speak to your provider about extending your policy.
How much is unoccupied home insurance?
The cost of unoccupied home insurance depends on several factors such as the property value of your home, where you live, how secure your home is and the level of cover you want to take out and how long for.
Generally, the longer you need unoccupied home insurance cover, the more expensive it will be.
What if you don't tell your insurer about your unoccupied house?
If you don’t tell your insurer that your home is going to be unoccupied for an extended period of time, you will risk invalidating your policy which means you won’t be able to claim on your insurance and any damage caused to your home won’t be covered.
How to get the best deal on unoccupied property insurance in the UK
You can find the best deal for unoccupied home insurance simply by doing your research and comparing quotes from different providers.
When comparing empty house insurance providers, it’s important to take a look at the things considered by insurance providers if you need to make a claim and also what they will cover under your policy.
There’s no point taking out unoccupied home insurance with a provider who only offers cover for 30-60 days if you know your home will be empty for at least 90 days. Make sure you take these things into consideration when comparing quotes from different providers.
When you’re trying to get the best deal for empty house insurance, you will have to fill in a few details about yourself, your home and any other occupants. You’ll also be asked about the location of the property, how safe your home is and how long it will be left unoccupied.
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