INSURANCE FOR YOU | PROPERTY

Unoccupied Property Insurance

Property could become unoccupied for many reasons, ranging from the house being put up for sale, being renovated or requiring cover during an extended holiday. Probate situations can arise where solicitors needs to arrange cover for an inheritance property where the owner has passed away. Landlords face property becoming unoccupied when a tenant moves out.

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Navigating Unoccupied Property Pitfalls

Unfortunately, you may not be aware that an unoccupied property is seen as an issue by the Insurance market. If such a valuable asset is not insured on the correct basis with full disclosure to insurers then there could be real issues in the event of a claim.

Finding insurance cover for an unoccupied property can be a minefield of restrictive covers and a list of terms and conditions that you must undertake.

Navigating Unoccupied Property Pitfalls

Unfortunately, you may not be aware that an unoccupied property is seen as an issue by the Insurance market. If such a valuable asset is not insured on the correct basis with full disclosure to insurers then there could be real issues in the event of a claim.

Finding insurance cover for an unoccupied property can be a minefield of restrictive covers and a list of terms and conditions that you must undertake.

Ensuring Appropriate Cover Is In Place

Some insurers will apply “Unoccupied Building Conditions” and these must be complied with for cover to be in place. Examples can include, draining down the water systems, switching off the utilities, weekly documented visits, installing certain locks, sealing up letterboxes, etc. and failure to comply can lead to claims being turned down.

Types Of Cover Available

Unoccupied Properties Subject to Probate.

As a general rule the standard house Insurance market will look to restrict or remove cover altogether once a property has been empty for more than 30 days. This will be be an issue for you if you are the executor of a will, as it will not be appropriate just to transfer the existing home and contents insurance that was arranged by the deceased, as the property is likely to stand empty for some time.

During the period of probate, the property remains in the ownership of the deceased’s estate – until its future is determined in accordance with the will. However, the property still needs to be covered for fire, flood, storm damage, theft, vandalism etc.

That is why comprehensive cover for the building needs to be restored with specialist insurance for executors of estates – protecting the property which remains in probate and helping to meet the executors’ duty to ensure that the property is safe and secure. The policy should include the option to have flexibility in the duration of the cover as probate can be complicated and involved and there is a certain level of uncertainty regarding when the process will be completed.

Flexible house insurance after the death of the policyholder may be adjusted and extended to meet the changing deadlines for the completion of probate – and ensure that the property remains adequately safeguarded.

Unoccupied Premises Undergoing Renovation

Your standard home insurance policy is unlikely to cover you for the risks to your building during structural works, like an extension or loft conversion.

However, it is still relatively easy to find a specialist insurer who can cover the risk for you and provide cover for

  • The Existing Structure
  • Contents of the property
  • The Contract works, including the materials, fixtures and fittings used in the works

Unoccupied Premises Awaiting a New Tenant

Your rental property may go through periods of being vacant, for example when you’re in between tenants, or taking the opportunity to redecorate or carry out maintenance. It is likely that your Property Owner’s policy will cover your unoccupied property for longer than a standard home insurance policy, possibly 60 to 90 days, but if it’s likely to be unoccupied for a longer period then you will need to insure it with a specialist insurer.

The reason for this it that an empty property is more at risk of being damaged or broken in to and of course there is nobody on hand to deal with the issue at the property.

Specialist unoccupied property insurance is also available, which you can usually get for periods of three, six, nine or 12 months.

While your property is empty, your insurance should cover:

  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Storm damage
  • Subsidence
  • Burst pipes
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Squatters

Need to discuss your situation in more detail? Simply pick up the phone today and contact one of our personal lines account handlers on 01270 758070 who will talk you through all requirements. Or contact us here. Feel safe in our hands.

It’s estimated 9 out of 10 residential UK properties are insured for the wrong amount with vast majority (79%) of them being underinsured for an average of 69% of the amount for which they should be insured. More than a third of policyholders use ‘market value’ to set buildings sum insured and 20% ‘simply guess’ according to a new study.

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R K Henshall & Co Ltd are Independent Intermediaries and are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Directors: J.R. Henshall B.A.(Hons) ACII Cert CII (FS), A.J.Simpson ACII, T.R.Dredge DIP CII, A.Brown FCCA. Director/Company Secretary R.K. Henshall ACII. Registered No. 1285024

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