Written by, Marija Petkova
Updated November, 24, 2022
If you are planning to leave your house for longer than two months, getting unoccupied house insurance may be more than worth it. Empty homes are more likely to be broken into and are at higher risk of structural damage.
What does unoccupied house insurance cover and how much does it cost?
You can find all the answers in the article below.
Unoccupied home insurance covers properties that have been left empty for longer than the standard home insurance policy permits, which is usually 30 to 60 days (depending on the terms of your insurance). It is usually taken out to cover homes that are not occupied on a regular basis, such as second homes or holiday properties.
Typically house insurance for empty houses provides coverage from three to 12 months, with the possibility of an extension when renewing your policy. Should you need cover for longer than a year, it might be a good idea to shop around for new specialist insurance.
Because empty homes are seen as high-risk properties, you may have to pay higher premiums for your unoccupied property insurance policy. Vacant houses are more likely to be targeted by burglars, plus the risk of structural damage is higher as there will be no one to minimise the extent of the damage in case of a fire or water leak.
Several of the top-rated home insurers in the UK offer specialist insurance policies for unoccupied homes, but since the cost is higher you need to carefully compare quotes to find the best deal for you.
As previously stated, most customers take out house insurance for an unoccupied property to cover second or holiday homes. However, there are other situations that might force a homeowner to leave the property empty for an extended period of time, such as
Before you opt for specialist house insurance for unoccupied properties, check your existing policy to see what exactly is covered. Most insurers will provide coverage for homes left empty for up to 30 days, but some might cover you for up to 60 days. Carefully read the policy documents to check whether you actually need specialist insurance.
The same applies to those letting property out. In fact, landlord insurance policies are even more flexible when it comes to how long the property can be empty (with some providing full coverage for up to 90 days), so if your insurance covers you during the time the home is vacant, you will not need to take out a separate unoccupied property insurance policy.
However, if you plan to be away for longer than 30 days (or the amount of time specified in your policy), you must let your insurer know. Otherwise, you risk invalidating your insurance, which means even if you make a claim, your insurance company will not pay out.
In most cases, home insurance for an unoccupied property will cover the same risks as a standard policy. These can include:
Most of these factors are covered as standard among insurers, although every provider is different so it is important to check the terms and conditions of the unoccupied home insurance policy before purchasing it.
While coverage may vary from insurer to another, there are some common exclusions that are typically not included in home insurance for an empty property, such as:
As mentioned above, unoccupied house insurance is typically more expensive than regular homeowners insurance due to the greater risk of damage or theft. What’s more, the exact cost of home insurance on an empty property can’t be determined as insurers use a set of criteria to calculate premiums for each of their customers.
These are some of the most common factors insurance companies consider when determining the cost of home insurance.
Each insurer has their own way of managing claims, but in general, these are the steps to follow when making a claim on your empty house insurance policy:
Make sure that you have the following things:
Call your provider and inform them about the incident.
Your insurer will look through the details of the claim and if everything checks out, they will authorise the payout for repairs or replacements.
Before you make a claim though, think about how it will affect
To keep home insurance costs for your empty property down, here are some tips to follow:
Keep the property in good shape, by regularly checking the roof for leaks, cleaning gutters, and carrying out regular repairs. If your home is not regularly maintained and you make a claim on a leaking roof or burst pipe, your insurer might reject your claim and you will have to pay for repairs out of pocket.
Install security cameras and alarms and make sure all doors and windows are locked at all times.
Only opt for extras that you need—for instance, if the house is empty, contents insurance is not an absolute necessity as you can remove all high-value items before you vacate the home.
If you’re leaving your home empty over the winter, take extra precautions to prevent any frozen or burst pipes. This means shutting off the water at the mains or making sure that all pipes in cold areas are appropriately insulated.
Most insurers offer a discount when you pay upfront for the entire year, rather than on a month-to-month basis.
Yes, you can and should get home insurance for an unoccupied property if you plan to leave the house empty for an extended period of time. Even if you are expecting a quick house sale or going for a longer holiday, homeowners insurance will give you peace of mind and protect you against losses or damages to the property.
Before taking out insurance, though, research and compare quotes to get the best possible deal for your home and needs.
A property that has no occupants or tenants yet has fixtures or furnishings inside is considered unoccupied, whereas vacant property is one that is completely empty of people and belongings. If you have a vacant property, you might need to take out a different insurance policy.
Yes, a specialist unoccupied house insurance policy is generally more expensive than standard home insurance since empty homes are seen as being at a higher risk for theft or damage. Although this is not always the case, so check several quotes before choosing your insurance.
My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.