Unoccupied property insurance for landlords

Unoccupied property insurance for landlords

10:30 AM, 22nd April 2024, About 2 months ago

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Leaving a rented property unoccupied can spell trouble for landlords.

This is where unoccupied property insurance comes in and can help when the property is left empty between tenancies.

Here at Property118, we have teamed up with The Home Insurer who can help with unoccupied property insurance and could help save you money.

Why landlords might leave a property empty?

Unoccupied property insurance protects a landlord’s property and contents against financial loss.

There are a variety of reasons why landlords might leave a property empty. According to comparethemarket.com, it’s best to have unoccupied property insurance in place if:

  • Your tenants have moved out and you haven’t yet found replacements.
  • You’re a new landlord, or it’s a new property and you haven’t found tenants.
  • It’s a student rental and will be empty over the summer.
  • You’re redecorating or doing maintenance.

Empty properties stand a greater risk of being damaged or broken into because there’s no one around to deter burglars or spot problems such as leaks.

Most unoccupied property insurance covers properties left empty for more than 30 days, but some specialist insurers can offer up to 12 months.

What am I covered for?

According to comparethemarket.com, your insurance should cover your empty property for a variety of reasons:

  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Storm damage
  • Subsidence
  • Burst pipes
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Escape of Water

To make sure your claim is successful, you’ll need to meet the policy conditions. This may include having certain security measures in place and carrying out regular property inspections.

It’s important to check the terms and conditions carefully.

David McDermottroe, home and van insurance expert at moneysupermarket.com, said: “Unoccupied property insurance can be a valuable extra cover for landlords, but it can also add to the cost of your landlord property.

“Not every provider is willing to offer this type of cover, which also means it can limit your options when shopping for policies. It pays off to take some extra time to compare quotes to see for yourself how to get the best value out of your landlord insurance.”

How much does unoccupied insurance cost?

Insuring an empty property can be more expensive due to the increased risk of vandalism and theft.

According to moneysupermarket.com, other factors affecting the cost of unoccupied property insurance include:

  • Security – You can reduce the cost of your policy by enhancing the property’s security, such as placing locks on doors and windows and installing burglar alarms.
  • Location – Insurance will be more expensive if your property is based in an area with a high crime rate or a high risk of flooding.
  • Property details – The property’s size, age, building materials, roof structure, and the value of its contents will all affect the cost of insurance.
  • Policy cover – The cover options you add to your policy will affect the cost. Choosing higher levels of cover or additional cover will make insurance more expensive.
  • Your claims history – Your insurance will be more expensive if you have previously claimed on the insurance or if people have made claims against you for compensation.

What’s not included?

Some exclusions may apply when it comes to unoccupied property insurance depending on the insurer. According to moneysupermarket.com, some common reasons why you might not be able to claim include:

  • Unforced entry: Leaving your doors and windows unlocked or open is a surefire way to void a home insurance policy because thieves and squatters can get into your property without forcing entry.
  • Major works: Some insurers might even refuse to cover incidents that happen during major works such as an extension or repairs to the home’s structure.
  • Contractors: If you’ve hired contractors to work on your home while it’s unoccupied, you might not be covered for any damage they cause. Contractors should have their own insurance to cover the damage.

If you think your rented property is going to be unoccupied for long periods, it’s best to keep regularly visiting it to ensure that it is secure.

According to comparethemarket.com, other ways to protect your empty rental property include:

  • Turn off the gas, water and electricity in warmer months to minimise the risk of a leak or fire.
  • Keep the heating on low during winter to prevent frozen pipes.
  • Make sure doors and windows have secure locks.
  • Set up a smart security system, so you’ll be notified of anything untoward.
  • Regularly visit the property to make checks.
  • Make the property look lived in – mow the lawn, keep curtains open, and don’t let the post pile up.
  • Ask your neighbours – It might be worth asking the people who live around or next to the property to keep an eye out if they can. However, you shouldn’t rely on this as a failsafe measure.

Just call us and tell us what you need

The Home Insurer’s Jason McClean said: “If unoccupied for less than 30-days then your existing policy may still offer cover – but you need to read the policy conditions to be sure. If you know the property will be unoccupied I suggest you should consider moving to a specialist policy as quickly as possible as it gives the most appropriate cover.

“There are various levels of unoccupied insurance you can buy but we recommend full cover as the best option. That way you can have confidence if you make a claim. The price difference between reduced FLEA (Fire, Lightning, Explosion, Aircraft perils only) and full cover is often not that different, so a prudent landlord will look to full cover.

“The cost of unoccupied insurance is not that different with The Home Insurer’s panel than let property insurance. It is competitively fought for and there are some cracking policies and prices out there. Just call us and tell us what you need.”

He adds: “If you are having works done on the property whilst unoccupied then you need to tell us. This may need to trip over to renovation insurance; another specialism of ours and one that shouldn’t frighten landlords but give them confidence they are properly insured. Again, cost in most occasions is not that different to let or unoccupied insurance.  Whether unoccupied or renovation, there will be specific endorsements such as visiting the property and turning on the heating you need to comply with.

“Once the property is occupied or works are finished, it’s normally easy to switch back to landlord insurance too, just let us know the tenant type and when they move in. The best thing you can do is call us to talk through what you need and we will do all we can to help.”

Having the right insurance in place

Having an empty rental property is a huge worry for landlords, but having the right insurance in place can help offer peace of mind.

The Home Insurer can help ease the worry for landlords with unoccupied property insurance to deal with all eventualities and all for the best price.

The most efficient way to get a personal quote with the best price and cover possible is to call the team on 01832 770965 so we can focus on your enquiry when you are ready and sitting down with your portfolio details to hand.

Alternatively you can use the form below to request one of our team give you a call back.

Landlords Buying Group Insurance Renewal


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