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Insurance

Why You Need Empty Property Insurance

June 5, 2017 by admin in Insurance, Tips

Is the residential or commercial property you own going to be left temporarily empty and unoccupied because you are:

  • going on an extended holiday of a month or more;
  • having to work a contract away from home, or perhaps even abroad for part of the year;
  • in the course of renovating or remodelling your residential or commercial property and it is unable to be occupied or used until the work is complete;
  • a buy to let landlord or owner of commercial property waiting until a vacancy is filled between previous tenants or lease holders moving out and new ones moving in; or
  • awaiting the conclusion of probate affecting a property in which you may have an interest.

These – and many others – may be valid reasons why you need empty property insurance.

But why?

The answer is because of the way in which your current insurer – of standard home insurance, buy to let insurance or commercial property insurance assesses the risks of an empty and unoccupied property. In a word, those risks increase when the building is empty.

Amongst the heightened risk factors are the facts that an unoccupied property:

  • attracts unwelcome attention from all sorts of intruders, such as burglars, vandals, squatter and arsonists – the last being the subject of a special Arson Awareness Week, reported ITV News on the 20thof March 2017; and
  • faults that might otherwise require little more than reasonably routine maintenance might escalate into a full-blown emergency if no one is on hand to detect the problem and raise the promptly raise the alarm.

Your insurer’s response

Given these heightened risks, your regular insurer is likely to limit the extent of cover or treat your policy as lapsed entirely once the building has been vacant for longer than 30 to 60 consecutive days – the precise interval varies from one insurer to another.

The result is that your property may be left completely unprotected against a number of key risks, leaving you open to considerable personal expense if an incident occurs whilst the premises are unoccupied.

Empty property insurance is designed to step into the breach and restore an appropriate level of protection – which is why you need such specialist insurance once the property has been unoccupied for longer than a month or so.

Most providers are likely to offer a choice of different levels of cover, from the more basic to a fully comprehensive insurance that effectively restores all the cover you currently enjoy whilst the property is occupied.

Empty property insurance is also sufficiently flexible to allow you to choose cover for just the period of time that you need it. If the property is going to be empty for no longer than six months, let’s say, you may buy this standalone form of insurance cover for just those six months and not have to pay premiums on the remaining six months to complete the full year typically required by other forms of general insurance.

If it subsequently turns out that your property is going to be empty for longer than you anticipated, the insurance may typically be extended by the appropriate number of months.