Short-Term Unoccupied Home Insurance: What You Need to Know

Insuring a home when it is occupied regularly is pretty straightforward. There is plenty of choice of insurance providers online or via your insurance broker.

But what happens when your home or another property is empty for a while?

Standard home insurance policies in the UK typically only cover unoccupied properties for up to 30 consecutive days. Any longer, and they may refuse to continue cover on your property or apply a mix of reduced cover, increased excesses, and price.

This is because an empty house is a higher target for theft and vandalism. But there’s more to worry about than just break-ins.

Unoccupied properties are also at a greater risk of damage caused by burst pipes, leaking roofs, or even weather events. The consequences can be severe if someone does not identify and address the problem quickly.

This is why most standard home insurance providers aren’t keen on insuring unoccupied home insurance and why those that do might only provide basic cover.

What does short-term unoccupied home insurance cover:

The amount of cover you can buy varies by insurance provider, which might make it difficult to compare on a like-for-like basis.

Some providers might only offer basic cover for damage caused by fire, lightning, earthquake, explosion, and aircraft, often referred to as FLEEA insurance cover.

This level of cover might be risky for executors and other people with a legal responsibility to insure property, such as executors, solicitors acting as deputies or someone with a power of attorney. Underinsurance can result in liability and financial losses for people with this responsibility. We wrote an article called FLEEA Insurance Cover and the Risks, which might be helpful.

If you insure with Insuristic, we have 3 levels of cover to choose from (Bronze, Silver and Gold), meaning you can buy broader cover tailored to your circumstances.

When short-term unoccupied home insurance comes in handy

When it comes to it, most people have never insured an empty property before.  Knowing how long the property will be empty can also be tricky, so insuring empty property on a short-term basis can be helpful.

If your current provider doesn’t offer this, you can look for specialist short-term unoccupied home insurance providers like Insuristic.

Rather than buying an annual policy, paying monthly (which often incurs interest charges) until you need to cancel, which, as I have already suggested, could incur cancellation charges, can cost more.

Instead, you can buy short-term unoccupied home insurance for three, six, or nine months.

If you need to extend the cover, you can buy another policy, particularly as all insurance providers still have to provide you with a renewal notice on short-term policies.

Here are some common examples of when people need to arrange short-term unoccupied home insurance:

  • During Probate it is common for property to be empty. Insuristic has designed an exclusive probate house insurance policy for this purpose.
  • If the owner has moved into care, someone with a power of attorney will need to insure the property.
  • If the property is empty between tenants, you might need unoccupied landlord insurance.
  • Perhaps you have moved house but you haven’t sold your old property yet.
  • If property is being renovated and the occupants move out until it is completed.
  • If the occupants are away on Business for more then 30 days; or
  • They are lucky enough to be away on long holidays

Here are some key things to consider when shopping for short-term cover:

  • The length of time you need cover: Policies are typically available for 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, or annually.
  • Check the level of cover: Don’t focus on the cheapest, make sure you are happy with the level of cover provided and that you are comparing quotes on a like-for-like basis.  Remember, the cover will vary between providers.
  • Policy Conditions: can you comply with them, such as draining water systems, keeping the heating on in winter months, removing post and maintaining the property.
  • Inspections:  Make sure you can comply with inspection conditions such as the frequency and if the insurer requires written reports.  Failure to comply with this condition can result in claims being declined.  Check out our post, “Unoccupied Home Insurance Inspection Explained”, for more information.
  • The level of cover you need: Do you need building insurance, or do you also want contents insurance?
  • Cancellation fees: Does the provider charge to cancel their policy.  If they do it is going to bump up your costs if you need to cancel early.

Why Insuristic for Short-Term Unoccupied Home Insurance.

Insuristic makes it easy to buy a policy online in a couple of minutes.

We have developed two policies (follow the links to get a quote):

  1. A Probate House Insurance policy designed for beneficiaries or executors that need to insure empty property after the death of the owner.
  2. An Unoccupied Home Insurance Policy for everything else.

You can buy cover from three months to a year and have three levels of cover to choose from.

We won’t charge you to cancel a policy early and provided you haven’t made a claim you will receive a refund for any unused cover.

Lastly, if you need to make a claim, our inhouse claims team at SJL Insurance will help you every step of the way.

This article was submitted to be published by Insuristic as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Wills and Probate. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Wills and Probate.

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