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If your property is unoccupied for more than 30 days at any one time you may need specialist insurance for vacant properties.
Reasons can include:
- A pending sale
- Waiting to move in,
- Renovation or redecoration
- The property is changing owners
- Death of a previous owner
Vacant properties are also seen as more high risk, as they are more likely to succumb to theft and vandalism. There is also the fear of squatters and any damage caused as a result of property neglect for long periods of time.
Going away for more than 30 days
If you own a property that is unoccupied for a length of time you may need a different iinsurance policy as most underwriters only allow up to 30 days for a property to be vacant.
Unoccupied at short notice
A property may also be classed as unoccupied if it is undergoing refurbishment or the owner is away for a long trip overseas. Alternatively the property may be inherited and going through probate or perhaps bought at an auction and waiting for renovation to begin.
Empty for commercial investment
If you are the owner of a property that is either a holiday home or are buying an iinvestment property which through circumstances may be left vacant then this would also be considered unoccupied.
Temporary insurance cover
Unoccupied property insurance can be arranged for periods of 6 months or more, however if your building is vacant for less time, it’s advisable to talk to your insurance broker to see how they can help.
When a home is unoccupied there is a greater risk as the property can go unchecked for water leaks and electrical faults. There is also an increased likelihood of vandalism from unwanted visitors.
Be aware of the risk of injury to people. The Occupiers Liability Act 1957 makes the owner of a vacant property legally liable for death or injury to visitors or trespassers to the property. According to the Act, owners owe a duty of care to ensure that premises are and remain well secured, particularly in preventing access by children. The correct cover is therefore an essential requirement.
To minimize the risk a number of measures can be taken. These include securing windows and doors and carrying out a regular inspection of the property.