UNOCCUPIED PROPERTY Insurance
Quick to buy online
- Furnished and unfurnished cover
- Holiday homes, empty houses, vacant on extended holiday, owner in care home and empty between tenants all covered.
- Underwritten by AXA Insurance.
WHAT IS UNOCCUPIED HOME INSURANCE?
Unoccupied home insurance provides cover for properties empty for more than 30 days. The price of cover is determined by a range of factors such as the rebuild cost of the property, its location, security, and the reason it’s empty. Unoccupied home insurance may even be a requirement from your mortgage provider, as unoccupied properties tend to be more susceptible to fire and other hazards. Find out more about why an empty home is riskier in our guide.
who does unoccupied home insurance cover?
Examples of the most common types of customers purchasing home insurance for unoccupied homes include:
- Short-term solution – Did you know landlords need to declare when they are between tenants as it could affect their cover? Empty home insurance can protect the property and landlord during this period.
- Preparing an empty house for new tenants – There can often be plenty of work required to prepare a property – and this can delay tenants moving in.
- Between tenants – Empty property insurance is useful when there are admin tasks that delay new tenants moving into a home, including advertising, interviewing and viewings.
- Probate – If a homeowner passes away, empty house insurance may be needed if their estate is left unoccupied for an extended period during the probate process.
- Long-term illness – Homeowners who are taken ill and treated elsewhere for an extended period, may consider home insurance for an unoccupied house.
- Pending sale – Moving home is a complicated process, with buying and selling dates not always aligning.
- Home renovations – Homeowners may need to make significant structural changes to the property that may last over 30 days.
- Extended holiday or sabbatical – Homeowners may seek vacant property insurance if find themselves vacating a property due to holidays, work trips and more.
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What’s covered by UNOCCUPIED HOME insurance?
Unoccupied home insurance cover varies depending on whether the property is empty on a short term of long term basis.
Short term unoccupancy
If the property is usually occupied but is left unoccupied for between 31 and 180 days, then you typically get all the cover of our standard policy terms, but with exception of certain exclusions, see what is and isn’t covered below:
Quick home emergency response times
Have a home emergency, such as electricity failure, faulty locks or vermin infestation? With the 24/7 Home Emergency cover, which we provide as standard, you can typically get an engineer at your home within four hours. And if you’re worried about an uncontrollable leak in your home, we aim to have an emergency plumber to you within two hours.
Extreme weather conditions may extend response time. Policy terms and claim limits apply.
5 star rated buildings cover
Our building insurance has been given the highest rating by independent financial research companies, Defaqto and Moneyfacts.
Any buildings work we undertake is guaranteed for 24 months following a claim and any contents repair work we undertake is guaranteed for 12 months.
New for old
Where we replace an item, we will do our best to meet the original specification on a ‘new for old’ basis. If we can’t find an exact replacement, we’ll offer you a suitable alternative, or a full cash settlement.
We provide Legal Protection cover as standard, giving you access to telephone legal advice on any personal legal issue, under the laws of the UK, any European Union country, the Isle of Man, Channel Islands, Switzerland and Norway.
What isn’t included?
Escape of water incidents during the period: 1 October – 1 April (inclusive).
Theft incidents, unless all security features (e.g. locks and alarms) included in your property are maintained in good working order and in full operation.
Claims involving money and high risk items (e.g. jewellery).
Damage cause gradually, or by wear and tear, or by failure to fix a known issue.
Faulty design or poor workmanship.
Damage caused by pets.
The cost of repairing or replacing items following a mechanical or electrical fault.
Long term unoccupancy
If the property is not usually occupied, or is left unoccupied for more than 180 days, there are two levels of cover. Basic cover is available online. Extended cover is available over the phone, via referral to our underwriting team. The following table compares what sort of insured events are covered:
|Insured loss||Basic cover (available online)||Extended cover (call for quote)|
|Fire, Lightning, Earthquake, Explosion, Aircraft or other flying devices (FLEEA)||✔||✔|
|Liability to the public||✔||✔|
|Escape of Water or oil||✖||✖|
|Storm or flood||✖||✔|
|Subsidence or tree roots||✖||✔|
|Theft (including attempted theft)||✖||✔|
|Collisions with wild animals or vehicles||✖||✔|
|Aerials & falling objects||✖||✔|
|Damage by emergency services||✖||✔|
Looking for more cover? Give us a call on 0330 660 1000 to talk to our team about extended cover.
UNOCCUPIED HOME Insurance Cover Levels
The following cover levels apply for both short and long-term unoccupancy:
Covers the main structure of your home if you need to rebuild or repair it.
up to £1 million
(eligibility criteria applies)
Covering the value of all your possessions in the home, on a new for old basis.
Covers emergencies that occur in your home like uncontrollable water leaks, electricity failure, faulty locks and vermin infestation. Two levels of cover are available.
up to £500
Family legal protection
Provides a 24/7 legal advice helpline and up to £25,000 cover for claims involving contract disputes and property damage. For a claim to be successful, there must be reasonable prospects (more than a 50% chance) of winning the legal case. Two levels of cover are available.
up to £25,000
Covers rebuild or repair of your outbuildings (such as detached garages, greenhouses, sheds and summerhouses).
Liability cover involving accidental death, bodily injury or illness or property damage that you are legally liable to pay.
up to £5 million
protect your property with empty home insurance
If you’re planning to be away from your property for over 30 days – or if you’ve unexpectedly left your property vacant and don’t know when you’ll be back, get a quote with Homeprotect and protect your unoccupied property. Empty property insurance provides the protection you need.
what to do when leaving a house unoccupied
If you’re planning to leave your home empty for an extended period, there are a few safety and security considerations. Many unoccupied house insurance policies will expect the home to be inspected regularly, water and electricity to be switched off and more.
If you’re deciding on whether to buy home insurance with us, you can use our latest policy booklets as a guide.
Your Questions Answered
There are no regulations around how long a homeowner can leave their property unoccupied. However, when it comes to purchasing vacant property insurance with Homeprotect, your home must have been unoccupied for more than 30 days.
Homeowners and landlords must be aware of the additional expectations on them when leaving a property unoccupied. Most empty home insurance providers will still require certain conditions to be met with the property, even if it’s not being lived in.
Insurers will not pay for loss or damage caused by your failure to safeguard your property at all times, so you must take precautions to minimise the risks.
This could include, but is not limited to, locking all external doors and windows, ensuring that someone checks on the property once a week, and turning off all sources of electricity, fuel and water.
There is no regulation around how often a home must be monitored while the homeowner is away. However, many insurers offering empty property insurance will require regular property checks to maintain the policy.
Unoccupied properties can be more susceptible to risks such as fire, burglary, and other hazards. Find out more about why an empty home is riskier in our guide.
The term unoccupied does not mean completely empty of all items or furniture – it refers to a property that is not being lived in. Unoccupied often refers to a property that is left in a state in which the homeowner could return to live in at any point.
If you’re planning to leave your home empty for an extended period, there are a few safety and security considerations. Firstly, after 30 days unoccupied, most home insurance policies are void – so, the homeowner would need an empty home insurance policy to protect against theft or damage. Many empty home insurance policies will also expect the home to be inspected regularly, water and electricity to be switched off and more.
Additional considerations include installing a home security system and using smart devices such as leak detection technology.
Yes, most empty properties will still require the homeowner to pay council tax. However, you may be able to apply for an exemption in a few specific instances. This includes properties that have been unoccupied for two or more years, those undergoing a probate process, instances in which the owner is in the hospital or a care home and if the property cannot be lived in by law.
See the full list of empty property council tax regulations and exemptions on the government website.
Empty properties carry greater risks in terms of burglary, vandalism or even squatting, and also the amount of damage caused by unnoticed issues like burst pipes.
Homeprotect needs to know if your property is unoccupied for more than 30 consecutive days or more so that they can factor these increased risks into your policy terms.
Many of the factors that affect insurance premiums for empty properties are the same as those for occupied homes, such as location and rebuild value.
The cost of unoccupied home insurance may be higher for a particular property because of higher security risks, or it may be similar but with limitations on what is covered. For example, buildings cover may be limited to fire, lightning, explosion, earthquake and aircraft collision, but not include storm, flood or subsidence.
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