|Business:||Country Life Insurance Brokers|
|Address:||Suite B, Tower House, Latimer Park|
|Latimer Road, Latimer,|
|Contact No:…..||01494 766000|
Unoccupied Property Insurance – What you need to know
Do you have an unoccupied property? Maybe you have a buy-to-let but no tenant? Possibly you inherited it or an elderly relative has gone into care leaving a house unoccupied either short or long term. Maybe you are lucky and spend the whole summer holiday away.
Because house sales have slowed more of you are having work done to your current home and this can often mean moving out, particularly when having large extensions built.
An unoccupied property attracts a new set of rules as far as an insurer is concerned so it’s vital to have the right information and advice so you can make sure adequate cover is maintained.
Unfortunately, too many of you forget to tell your insurer , not realising there are strict terms in any policy about the number of consecutive days a property can be left empty. It is not until there is a disaster that you discover your insurer won’t pay out.
This is because with Unoccupied Property insurance there are some rules to observe if you want to make sure you have cover. With any standard Household or Property Owners (buy-to-let) policy there is usually a maximum of 30days allowed where you can leave your property unoccupied before the cover they provide will be reduced or even cancelled.
Don’t be put off if your insurance company doesn’t want to provide you with unoccupied property insurance, you can use the tips below to help you and we are only a phone call away. Country Life arrange insurance for many unoccupied properties of all types – both residential and commercial – and will use our expertise to find you the right cover for your circumstances.
OK, let’s start with the basics:
1. How long is the property likely to be unoccupied for?
If you aren’t sure then think of a figure and double it: it always take longer than you think.
2. What is the reason for the unoccupied property?
This may seem a silly question but it is linked to question 1 and all helps to build a profile on which any good advisor will work.
3. What are the plans for the property? Will it be let, sold or are you having an extension built?
If it is the latter, we are always happy to liaise with your Project Manager or builder.
4. JCT Contract Cover – Following on from that, assuming you are having work done, you may need not only specialist unoccupied property insurance but also a JCT contract cover. This can be required if, for instance, a basement or another storey is being added.
5. There are different levels of cover available, either on a restricted perils basis (pretty basic) or for wider cover and each need to be discussed so they are fully understood and meet an individual’s requirements. The answer to questions 3 may determine this.
6. Don’t rely on the contractor’s own insurance: at best it will only cover the materials they use for the job and the build they do – not your own house! It’s vital this is checked properly and to make sure it remains valid throughout the period of any build contract (it may be due for renewal part way through the work they are doing for you)
7. Make sure you read through all the terms on an unoccupied property insurance document and ask if there is anything that is not clear. There are variations from insurer to insurer on what is acceptable. For instance, you may be asked to seal the letter box , drain the water system down and turn off all the services. However, this may not be possible for some people: if you are trying to sell or rent the house then you need light and heat unless it’s the middle of the summer.
8. One last thing, check the cancellation terms. You may find there is no refund of premium even if the unoccupied property insurance policy is not required for the whole 12 months (usually the minimum term of any insurance policy).
If all this sounds a bit over-whelming then consulting an independent insurance broker like Country Life is the answer. We will ask the questions, source the quotations and discuss all the options with you.
We can arrange not only the unoccupied property insurance but also either home insurance or property owner’s cover once it is occupied again, solving all your problems in one!