Table of Contents
- Effective home insurance for empty property
- Home insurance cover for empty property
- House insurance for unoccupied and empty properties
- How to compare insurance for unoccupied property
- Empty property insurance FAQ
- Risks faced by an unoccupied property
- Short term unoccupied house insurance
- Second home insurance
Effective home insurance for empty property
Finding home insurance for empty property can be a lot more difficult than it may sound. Policy providers in the UK are reluctant to cover properties which lie empty or abandoned for long periods of time and obtaining cover for a completely derelict property can be a real mountain to climb.
This article is designed to make you more aware of the issues that concern the large insurance companies and why they may charge you a lot of money for insuring an unoccupied house. it will also explain why providers tend of offer very short periods of cover for these kind of policies, as well as how rates vary greatly depending on the type of building you are trying to insure.
In addition to the points above, this article will also discuss:
- Types of insurance for empty property
- Information you should provide your policy provider
- How to compare insurance for unoccupied property
- The kinds of risks faced by an unoccupied building
- Unoccupied commercial property insurance
Home insurance cover for empty property
There are many different reasons why a house or building may lie empty and many different classes of unoccupied homes. This can range from your normal place of residence which is going to be unoccupied for a period of time right through to a derelict property you have purchased or an abandoned building you intend to renovate. It may also include a second home which you wish to protect or even an unoccupied commercial property you want to insure.
As you can see, the term “empty property” is very broad, so in this article we shall assume your building falls into one of the above categories. So where do you start when searching for the right type of cover with premiums you can afford?
House insurance for unoccupied and empty properties
Initially let us assume this is your normal place of residence which, for one reason or another, is going to lie empty for a period of time. For example, you may own a house or flat and you are going abroad to work for six months or more. Maybe you also own another home in a different part of the UK or abroad and your primary home will remain unoccupied for a period of time.
How long does empty property insurance cover last?
Home insurance companies do not like properties remaining unoccupied for any length of time and therefore cover for this type of policy in the UK tends to be very short. Most UK based policy providers will not insure an empty home for more than 30-60 days. From their point of view it essentially means a house or flat is far more vulnerable if left completely unoccupied.
When searching for a quote or speaking to your current provider, try to provide them with as much information as possible and any steps you are taking to protect your home while you are away. If, for example, you are going abroad to work for nine months and your flat in London is going to lie empty, they may well offer you a degree of cover but the premiums may be much higher than normal.
The type of cover and the areas they are willing to protect will also vary greatly, as will the premium cost depending on your individual situation. Do you have a burglar alarm installed? Will someone be able to keep an eye on the property for you while you are away? What, if any, measures are you taking to protect your home against fire? These may be just some of the questions your home insurance company will ask.
How to compare insurance for unoccupied property
Due to the nature of this type of cover and the vulnerabilities mentioned above, as well as the premiums being much higher than normal home and contents cover, it’s wise to shop around and take the time to compare insurance for unoccupied or empty property.
Use the selection of comparison websites available in the UK but don’t let your search stop there. Often the best option is to discuss the situation with your current policy provider, as an existing customer you may be entitled to a substantial discount or maybe they will be more familiar with your personal circumstances.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate when comparing insurance quotes. It can also be very worthwhile talking to smaller, local companies aside from the large national name brands. These smaller companies are more likely to offer you longer periods of cover and may have fewer restrictions of what will be protected in the home insurance policy.
Empty property insurance FAQ
How much does it cost to insure an empty property in the UK?
The rate varies greatly but on average the premium for insuring an empty property in the UK ranges from £400 to £1200 depending on your personal circumstances. Talk to your existing insurance provider for possible discounts or shop around to compare quotes for empty property insurance.
Can I insure an empty house?
Yes you can, but you might pay a much higher premium than normal house insurance. Take the time to speak to different UK insurance companies and explain your situation. Quotes for unoccupied property insurance will vary depending on how long the house will be empty for and the steps you have taken to protect your property while away.
Do you pay council tax on an unoccupied property?
Yes, you do. The amount of council tax you pay may be higher or lower depending on your circumstances. For example, if it is your primary residence which will be unoccupied for a short time, your council tax rate may not change. If it is a second home or a derelict building, the council tax may be much higher. Talk to your local authority for specific advice on council tax.
Risks faced by an unoccupied property
Leaving a property empty is always a gamble and depending on your location and individual circumstances the risks also vary. In essence you must take reasonable steps to protect your empty property. Here are just a few of the risks more commonly associated with unoccupied properties and why insurance companies may be reluctant to cover your building for any length of time:
- Burglary – an unoccupied house is far more vulnerable to theft
- Fire – damage from fire can be more severe in an empty property
- Natural events such as flooding – empty properties have a slower response time
- Water & gas leaks – again, it can take longer for anyone to notice & respond to any problem
Short term unoccupied house insurance
If you simply require cover for a limited amount of time you can take one or two steps. Firstly you can talk to your policy provider and find out how long your current policy covers you for if you are away from home. Secondly you can search for quotes for short term unoccupied house insurance – if the property is going to be empty for a very short period of time such as 30-60 days, you may be able to secure a very reasonable deal and good cover.
With many UK home insurance policies there is a built in window of time, such as 30 days, where your insurance company will cover you if you leave your house completely unoccupied. It may not be necessary to purchase separate short term unoccupied house insurance if your current policy allows for this type of cover, check with them before seeking quotes for a new home insurance policy.
Second home insurance
This is an entirely different situation. If you own a house which is not your primary residence then you need to shop around and compare quotes for second home insurance, particularly if the second home is likely to be unoccupied for longer periods of time.
Talk you the company which covers your primary residence and explain the situation to them, you are far more likely to receive a more favourable quote from your current policy provider. If your property is a holiday home you should ask about rates for holiday home insurance. This will differentiate your second home from a holiday property.
Useful empty property resources: