Unoccupied Home Insurance

  • For unoccupied homes in the UK
  • Insure for 3, 6, 9 or 12 months
  • No Policy Fees
  • Cover for empty houses, flats or maisonettes
  • Flexible Property Inspections
  • Cover for non-structural renovations
Unoccupied Home Insurance

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Video: Arranging Unoccupied Home Insurance

If you need to insure an unoccupied home, you will find all the information you need on this page.

If you prefer video, we have covered all of the content on this page in the following video.

 

Whats on this page

On this page you will find a lot of useful information to help you arranging unoccupied home insurance.

If you have questions you may find they are answered on this page. If not, start a chat or contact us. You can click on any of the items in 'Contents' to jump to the section that interests you.

Contents

Why choose Insuristic?

  • You are protected by the Financial Ombudsman Service should you have a complaint with any of our services. So when you buy from Insuristic you know you are in safe hands.
  • We are an independant Insurance broker and only work with A Rated Insurance Providers.
  • We have developed our insurance policy specifically for people who need arrange unoccupied home insurance. Which makes it easier for you to understand the cover and buy a policy.
  • If you need to make a claim on your unoccupied home insurance policy, you will have access to our inhouse claims team. They will help you submit a claim and will manage the process from start to finish on your behalf.

Why get an unoccupied home insurance quote from Insuristic

  • You won't find our unoccupied home insurance on comparison sites.
  • No need to declare the Buildings Sums Insured, just the number of bedrooms
  • Cover for non structural renovations costing less than £50,000
  • Property owner’s liability up to £2,000,000.
  • You can insure just the buildings; or
  • Extend cover to include contents
  • Property Inspections are only required every 14 days

When you get a quote from Insuristic you can:

  • Tailor the cover to suit your requirements

  • Buy cover for most types of property

We have made it easy to get an unoccupied home insurance quote but if you need help, our team are only an online chat away.

You can find out more about the cover you can buy, property inspection rules and guidance on our renovation acceptance criteria below.

What is unoccupied home insurance?

If your property is unoccupied you should consider a specialist home insurance policy.

This because if a home is going to be empty for more than 30 days, it is common for standard home insurers to:

  • Apply new policy conditions to reduce the risk of a claim whilst a property is empty.

  • Increase the premium; or

  • Decline to continue cover on the property.

You may also find the cover can be more expensive than a standard home insurance product.

This is because empty homes have a higher risk of damage (such as a burst pipe), fire, theft and vandalism.

When you might need to get an unoccupied home insurance quote

A property can become unoccupied for a number of reasons. Here are the most common instances that require unoccupied home insurance:

  • Homes unoccupied during probate can be left empty for 6 months or more.

  • When a home is being sold and you have already moved into a new property.

  • When the property is being renovated. This could be because you have just brought the property and you are taking the opportunity to modernise it before you or a tenant moves in. Or maybe its your house and you’ve decided to live somewhere else until the works have completed.

  • If you like holidays for over 30 days, you may need to consider home insurance for unoccupied property on a short-term basis if your existing insurer can’t help you.

  • You have been appointed as an executor on an empty property during the probate process and you are need to insure it.

  • You’re a landlord that is between tenants and your existing insurer is reluctant to insure the empty property.

  • You are away on business a lot and need insurance for the empty property when you are away for more than 30 days.

  • You’ve just purchased an investment property and it is going to be empty until you have prepared it for future sale or until tenants can move in.

  • The owner of the property has sadly passed away and you’re a family member looking to insure it until it has been inherited.

  • You hold Power of Attorney, and the owner of the property has gone into care. You could insure the empty property on short-term or long-term basis.

 

How the cover is different to standard home insurance.

You need to be aware that unoccupied home insurance is different to standard home insurance.

It will differ in the following areas:

  • The unoccupied home will need to be inspected regularly (more on that later)

  • Insurers will recommend (some may insist) that you isolate and drain down water systems.

  • insurers will also recommend (again some may insist) that you turn off the energy supply whilst the property is not in use.

  • The contents insurance cover provided for high value items won't be as broad. You will often find the maximum sums insured for a single item will be restricted. This is because items like art, jewellery and electronic goods are theft attractive. You should remove items like this from the property and store them securely.

  • You might also find that cover for contents in outbuildings, like garages or sheds are restricted. Again this is because items like lawnmowers, bikes and tools are theft attractive and potentially easy to steal when the main property is empty. Again you should remove items like this from the property and store them securely.

  • You will usually be able to choose from different levels of cover. More on this later.

What if you don’t tell your existing insurer that your property is now unoccupied?

If the property is going to be unoccupied for longer than your existing insurer allows, which is usually 30 continuous days (check your policy schedule for details), you must inform your insurer as soon as possible.  

Because the risks are much higher for empty properties, many insurers either won’t provide cover or will restrict cover for long periods of unoccupancy.

The Financial Ombudsman Service have listed a number of case studies on their website that involve claims being rejected due to the property being continuously unoccupied when a claim was made.  

Here are a couple of examples where the insurance provider has rejected claims because the property was unoccupied.  The Financial Ombudsman Service ruled in favour of the insurance provider on both occasions:

Claims disputes can take time to resolve and could have been avoided if a specialist unoccupied house insurance UK policy had been purchased. 

If your house is going to be unoccupied for more than 30 continuous days, don’t leave it to chance. 

Notify your existing insurer to see if they would be prepared to offer the cover.

If they don’t, you should purchase an unoccupied house insurance policy.  You can usually buy this on a short-term basis

How Insuristic helps you avoid Building Underinsurance

When you are arranging home insurance for an unoccupied property you need to be aware of the risk of underinsurance.

If you are asked to provide a building sums insured, or a declared value, this should not be the market value. It should be the rebuild value of the property.

What is rebuild value?

The rebuild value is not the same as market value.

A rebuild valuation can often be far higher than the market value as it includes:

The costs of demolishing and clearing away what’s left of the original property;

Fees for professionals, such as architects and surveyors; and

The cost of the materials and labour needed to rebuild the property to the same standard as it was before a loss.

How Insuristic can help you avoid underinsuring the property

When you are arrange home insurance for an unoccupied property with Insuristic, you may not need to worry about the rebuild value. If the property has 4 bedrooms or less and a rebuild value below £750,000, you can request a quote without providing a rebuild value.

The policy you buy then has £750,000 buildings sums insured as standard, meaning you don’t need to worry about underinsurance, providing you are confident your property rebuild valuation is below this figure. If you are unsure whether it is or not, we would recommend completing a rebuild cost assessment to be on the safe side.

If the property is likely to exceed a £750,000 rebuild valuation, you can speak to our underwriting team directly at SJL Insurance.  They will be able to provide advice, tell you how to get a valuation and then provide insurance based on a true rebuild cost.

Alternatively, you could arrange a rebuild valuation yourself. BCH are specialists in building insurance valuations and have offered a discounted price for Insuristic customers. You can arrange a building rebuild valuation for £100+ VAT from from the BCH website.

Unoccupied Home Insurance Cover Comparison

The cover provided by our unoccupied home insurance product depends on the level of cover you have purchased. You can compare our 3 levels of cover below:
Select the level of cover you wish to learn about from the menu:

How much is unoccupied home insurance?

The cost of unoccupied home insurance will vary between providers. The price will be determined by how long you need to insure the property for and the level of cover you buy.

In addition to this, there are a number of other factors that will influence the price you pay:

  • The number of bedrooms in the property: The bigger the property, the higher the cost of repair of reinstatement. So insurers often factor the number of bedrooms in the property in their pricing.

  • The property Rebuild Value: Some insurance products are priced on the cost to rebuild the house, including the cost of professional and debris removal fees.

  • The Location of the Property: will have a bearing on the price you pay. For example, if the property is in an area known for flooding or subsidence or if it is in an area with a high crime rate then this will likely increase the cost.

  • Property Security: If your house is fitted with above average levels of security, such as alarm, this may result in some insurers providing a discount to reflect the lower risk of theft.

  • Property Maintenance: If the property is in a good state of repair, well protected, is regularly inspected and all water pipes are insulated then the likelihood of a claim is reduced. If the house has been continuously claims free, most insurers will offer a no claims discount. The level of discount increases by the number of claims free years.

  • The level of cover you buy: Unoccupied house insurance UK policies, usually have three levels of cover. The cheapest is FLEEA only cover. You can find out more about the levels of available cover available from Insuristic above.

Property Inspection Condition

Unoccupied properties have a higher risk of fire, theft, escape of water and other types of claims.  This is why your insurer requires the property to be regularly inspected, to check for damage or loss.

If you insure with Insuristic, the property will only need to be inspected every 14 days.

Unlike many insurance providers, we do not need a written inspection report to be produced.

As most people have a mobile device, we have decided to accept images as proof of inspection.

The person inspecting the home only needs to take two images with their mobile phone (one of the front of the property and one inside).

In the event of a claim you will need to share these pictures with your insurer.

Cover if the property is being renovated

If you are renovated an empty home, many insurers will require you to tell them about any renovations (other than painting and decorating) that are being made to the home.

Insuristic makes this process easier.

If you are planning renovations that cost less than £50,000 that don't include making structural changes to the walls or roof we can provide a quotation for the property online.

This means if you are changing kitchens or bathrooms, re-wring or re-plumbing or replacing the doors and windows (costing less than £50,000 in total) we can cover this without increasing the premium or needing to refer your circumstances to our underwriters.

If you are undertaking a major project, you can complete the quote information, but we will need to refer these changes to our underwriter. If your circumstances don't fit our scheme, the team at SJL Insurance Services can provide advice and access to a range of specialist renovation insurers.

Risk Management Considerations

You should always review your policy documents to ensure you understand your cover you are buying and the policy conditions that you need to comply with.

Here are some examples of insurance and risk management factors that people who buy house insurance for unoccupied properties should be aware of.

Keeping the property in a reasonable state of repair

Your insurers will expect you to keep the property in a reasonable state of repair. This will help you preserve the value of the property and help prevent any claims or issues.

If you fail to keep the property in a reasonable state of repair, it could result in some claims being declined. For example, if there is storm damage to a roof that had missing tiles.

Remove valuables from the property

Your insurer will provide cover for contents but the maximum they will pay out for an individual item is £1,000.

You should remove all valuables, collections, art and jewellery from the property.  These items are theft attractive and should be secured away from the empty property.

Remove high value items from outbuildings

You should consider removing expensive, theft attractive garden and tool equipment from any outbuildings. The insurer is likely to restrict the amount of cover for these items given their level of theft attractiveness. You should consider removing these items from the property and storing them elsewhere and securely.

Adhere to minimum security

If you are insuring less than £10,000 of contents, you will need to have as a minimum, working locks on all windows and doors.

If you need to insure more than £10,000 of contents with Insuristic it is likely your policy schedule will contain the following minimum security condition:

External Doors will need either:

  • a 5 Lever Mortice Deadlocks (conforming to British Standard 3621); or

  • if a composite or UPVC type door, a multi locking point system.

Patio Doors: will need:

  • a central locking device

  • key operated bolts to top or;

  • a multi locking point system.

Windows: need key operated security locks.  These need to be on all ground floor and other accessible windows.

If you fail to keep the property secure, it could mean claims following illegal entry are declined.

Isolate and drain down the water supply

To prevent damage caused by an escape of water it, is advisable to drain down your water systems.  This should be at the point of entry to the property, usually from an internal stop cock.

If you don't do this and there is a claim, the level of cover provided could be reduced or excluded.  For more information, please check your policy schedule.

Consider how you can reduce escape of water incidents during the winter months

Burst pipe claims can be expensive to put right.  Because of this your insurer will:

  • Recommend you drain down your water systems. 

  • Require you to leave the heating on during the winter months to a minimum of 15°C (if water systems can't be drained). 

Failure to adhere to these conditions could result in your cover for escape of water claims being excluded or reduced.

Switching off your utility services

Your policy will include a condition about turning off services at the mains.  The exception is when electricity is needed to maintain an intruder or fire alarm.

Failing to do so could mean a claim related to the services at the property is declined.

If you are appointing contractors to renovate the property

Your insurance won't cover damage due to the activity of any contractors.

You should therefore check your contractors hold a valid public liability insurance policy.   If they damage your property, you could claim against their insurance to receive the money to rectify any damage or loss.  It also provides protection if they injure someone on your property that doesn’t work for them.

You should check their public liability insurance policy schedule to ensure:

  • The business activities listed match the work they are doing for you,

  • The expiry of the policy is in the future,

  • That the level of cover they have purchased for the work they are doing is adequate.

Regularly remove post

It is advisable to redirect all mail and newspapers.

You should also remove any post on each property inspection.

This helps the property appear as though it is occupied, reducing the threat of illegal entry. It also reduces the risk of fire from a build-up of combustible materials.

Your insurance policy will contain a policy condition requiring this to be done.

Keeping the garden tidy

A messy garden can help thieves identify unoccupied property.  Keeping the garden and lawns tidy can make the property look lived in.  So will clearing snow from paths during the winter months.

 

Making a claim on unoccupied home insurance

If you need to make a claim, don’t worry.  The team at SJL Insurance Services are only a phone call away.

Between the hours of 9am and 5pm call 01905 27775. Outside of these hours call 0121 411 0535.

We have created a short guide on what is involved in making a claim, which you can find here.

About our Unoccupied Home Insurance Underwriting Partners

The Insuristic home insurance for unoccupied property scheme is underwritten by certain underwriters at Lloyd’s and administered by SJL Insurance Services.

Lloyds is the world's leading insurance marketplace, with an insurance premium income in excess of £35 billion.

SJL Insurance Services are a leading UK Insurance broker with offices in Worcester, London and Bristol.

Policy information

If you want to see at a glance what is or isn't covered, please view the IPID (Insurance Product Information Document). The policy wording contains the full terms and conditions of the insurance policy. There may be other exclusions and these will be listed on your schedule.

Bronze IPID

Click to view

Silver IPID

Click to view

Gold IPID

Click to view

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I cancel my policy?

If you cancel the unoccupied policy, the insurer will provide a pro rata refund.

We will not charge you a cancellation fee. 

To cancel, you would just need to provide the info on our contact us form, including a reason for cancellation and we will do the rest – https://insuristic.co.uk/contact/

How do I find out when the home was built?

This will usually be found on the deeds of the document.

If you do not have these, you can usually find an estimated build year on the property checker website  

Alternatively, check out our guide 'How to find out when a house was built' for more ways to find out when the home was built.

Get an unoccupied home insurance quote online in a couple of minutes

Related Insurance Pages

Unoccupied Home Insurance Related Guides

About the Author

Rob Faulkner CEO of Insuristic

Hi, I'm Rob, CEO and Founder of Insuristic. My mission is to make insurance easier to understand and buy online.

I hold an Advanced Diploma in Insurance (ACII) which demonstrates I have a solid technical understanding of Insurance and have committed to continuous professional development. I am also a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute and hold the a Chartered Insurance Broker status.

Over the last 27 years, I have worked for insurers, insurance brokers and insurance technology businesses, specialising in product, sales and marketing.

You can find out more about me on my author page.

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Insuristic Limited (No: 13926650), is an Appointed Representative of SJL (Worcester) Ltd, who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority with the reference number 763599. This can be checked by visiting https://register.fca.org.uk/s/.  Insuristic is a registered trademark. ©Copyright 2023 Insuristic Limited.  All Rights Reserved.

 

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