Video: All about empty properties

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How to prepare your property before you leave it empty

When a residential property is left unoccupied the threat of burglary, vandalism and squatting increases. But there are several preventative measures that we recommend you put in place to reduce the risks to your home.

Naturally, you should inform your home insurance provider that you are no longer occupying the property. Most unoccupied house insurance policies include terms about the maintenance of your house as the appearance of a well-cared for, and lived-in, property is a good deterrent to thieves.

Take steps to protect your property while it's left empty

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You may well find that standard home insurers will not cover your house if it is going to be vacant for over 30 days, in which case a specialist insurance provider like Homeprotect can offer you an online quote – no matter how long the property might be left empty.

The level of cover that you receive is dependent upon the information you share when taking out a quote. It is therefore in your best interests to make your insurer aware of any changes in circumstances so that they can continue to protect your home. If something happens at the property while it is unoccupied, and your policy does not reflect this, then your insurer may not be able to cover your losses in the event of a claim.

Key points

  • Let Neighbourhood Watch and the local police know that your property is unoccupied.
  • Check that your window and door locks are insurance approved and conform to British Standards.
  • Install an approved burglar alarm (NACOSS: National Approval Council of Security Systems or SSAIB: Security Systems and Alarm Inspection Board).
  • Either leave the utilities connected with the heating system on at a low temperature throughout winter, or switch them off completely.
  • Have someone keep an eye on the house. Check security, look for water leaks, damp and mould and pests or vermin.
  • Lock valuables away in a safe or move them to a secure place.
  • Remember to secure your outbuildings and their contents.


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