Home insurance for empty properties
If you are preparing to leave your home unoccupied for several months, you may have spotted many of the advertisements for empty property insurance.
Do not be fooled by some of the claims made for such products, however, since home insurance for empty properties varies widely in the nature and scope of the protection it offers.
FLEA and FLEE
The majority of such policies provide only basic levels of cover – commonly referred to simply by their initials FLEA (against the risks of fire, lightning, explosions and aircraft) and FLEE (fire, lightning, earthquake, explosion).
Although these might offer a modicum of protection for your unoccupied home, you might be asking yourself just how common or likely an occurrence in the UK are lightning strikes, earthquakes or explosions.
If you are concerned to safeguard your home against a much wider range of risks – such as those typically included in standard home building insurance or landlord’s insurance – therefore, it is imperative to check precisely what level of cover is provided by any home insurance for empty properties you wish to compare. For that, you might want to consult a specialist broker experienced in the provision of such cover.
Why is specialist empty property insurance necessary?
Specialist, standalone insurance for empty properties becomes necessary because the cover which protects your home or let property under normal circumstances is typically restricted, or may lapse entirely, once the premises have been unoccupied for between 30 to 60 consecutive days – the prescribed interval varying from one insurer to another.
That is because the risks faced by an empty property are typically amplified when there is no one at home:
- a faulty electrical circuit, for example, might be readily rectified if there is someone there to spot the fault – but might spark a raging fire unless the alarm is promptly raised; and
- empty properties attract all manner of unwanted attention from vandals, arsonists, thieves and squatters – there are some 22,000 squatters in the UK, says security company Secure Empty Property, and they are involved in an estimated 100,000 incidents each year.
That is why specialist, standalone unoccupied property insurance is necessary and why it is essential to choose cover that protects the full range of risks.
What it covers
By choosing a comprehensive empty property insurance policy, you may rest assured that the all safeguards are in place. Thus, risks such as fire, storm damage, flooding, impacts (from vehicles and falling objects), vandalism, theft and attempted theft, continue to be there even when the premises are empty and unoccupied.
These policies also restore the property owners’ public liability cover which provides you indemnity against claims that your negligence has caused a third party – a visitor to the property, a neighbour or a member of the public – injury or other loss or damage. That public liability is one you have, as the owner of the premises, even when the injured party is there unlawfully as an intruder.
By choosing your empty or unoccupied property insurance carefully, therefore, your home may remain as safe and secure against loss or damage as even when you have temporarily vacated it for several months.