An uncertain property market is encouraging more people in search of their dream home to extend or renovate their existing property rather than move house, said the website Homes and Property in an article on the 12th of December 2017.
If you have reached a similar decision, where do you stand with respect to the insurance of your home while it stands empty and unoccupied during the building works?
The question also applies for many other reasons why property you own – or in which you have an interest – may be unoccupied for longer than a month or so:
- you might be taking an extended holiday overseas – to visit faraway friends or relative, for example;
- your job might have taken you to a different part of the country, or abroad, for several months;
- you might have decided to move house after all and completed the purchase of your new home, whilst leaving the old one vacant pending its sale;
- if you are a landlord of buy to let property, you may be facing a longer than usual void after previous tenants have moved out and before you are able to find replacements; or
- you might have an interest in a property which is currently subject to probate, and which stands empty, pending decisions on its final disposal.
Risks to an empty property
Whatever the reasons for your leaving the property empty and unoccupied, there is little doubt that it is vulnerable to greater risk of loss or damage whilst no one is living there:
- an otherwise minor fault requiring a simple repair or maintenance might develop into a major incident if there is nobody on hand to report the emergency – a dripping tap, for example, might develop into a seriously damaging escape of water; and
- an unoccupied home typically attracts all manner of unwelcome attention – from vandals, squatters, burglars and even arsonists.
Empty property insurance
Because of the vulnerability of an empty property, most insurers are likely to restrict cover – or regard it as lapsed entirely – once the home has been unoccupied for between 30 and 45 consecutive days (the exact period varying from one insurer to another). In that event, not only is your home more vulnerable, it is also without the insurance cover you more than ever need.
The answer comes in the form of specialist empty property insurance, which restores all the cover you need for your temporarily unoccupied property.
When buying empty property insurance, however, you might want to be sure to consult a specialist provider to discuss the scope and level of cover required. That is because some insurers may offer only very restricted forms of protection – a common example is so-called FLEEA cover. As the initials suggest, this offers cover only for the risks of Fire, Lightning, Explosions, Earthquakes and Aircraft – all important considerations in their own way, but hardly providing the more comprehensive cover most property owners are likely to want when their homes are temporarily unoccupied.
Whenever your home or let property is likely to stand vacant and unoccupied for longer than a month or so, therefore, you might want to take the precaution of arranging comprehensive empty property insurance.