An Introduction To: Vacant Property Insurance

Posted 05/04/2016

Regardless of whether your property is used as your own private dwelling, a residential let, holiday accommodation or even occupied by a business, the insurance in place for these types of properties are all based on the premises being fully occupied.

But did you know, once even a portion of your property becomes unoccupied the insurance cover in place can be drastically restricted?

Typically an insurer will continue to cover your property with no changes for a short period of time, usually 30 days. This is generally enough time to allow for holidays and even tenant changes. However, once the property becomes vacant for a period exceeding thirty consecutive days, whatever the reason, your cover changes significantly.

Usually your cover will decrease from an all risks basis to the more restricted perils of Fire, Lightning, Earthquake, Explosion and Aircraft only (this will vary depending on the insurer, with some also including subsidence and flood cover). Your excess may also increase and you may even be charged an additional premium. The reason for this is that the longer a property is left vacant, the more susceptible it is to damage by theft or malicious persons and minor problems such as a slow leak can become major problems when there is nobody there to spot them.

Along with this change in perils comes a change of policy conditions, which will need to be abided by to ensure that your policy remains valid. The purpose of these conditions is to try and restrict any potential loss or damage as far as is reasonably possible. These conditions will vary between insurers, but usually include inspecting the property every seven days and keeping a record of these inspections (including the notation of any defects and the remedy sought). Most insurers will also insist on all electric, gas and water services being switched off at the mains and the heating system being drained.

So, when do you need to tell your insurers that a property has become vacant?

We would always suggest informing your broker as soon as the property has become vacant. This will ensure that your broker can fully inform you of the timescales before your cover becomes restricted and the conditions that will apply to your policy. It also means that once your grace period has finished your broker can call to remind you that these conditions are about to be applied.

At a recent landlord’s convention in Norwich, it was announced that the average time a property is spent vacant between tenants is sixty four days in Norwich, so if you are reading this article it is likely that the above will apply to you at some point in time.

Here at Drayton Insurance Services, we can cater for all types of property owners policies, including long term unoccupied policies. We even have a specialist Landlords Insurance policy to offer with an A rated insurer - providing full cover for a period of vacancy up to 90 consecutive days. We find that many insurers are unable to match the covers we provide as standard.

For more information, please call our team on 01603 954054 or contact us.

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An Introduction To: Vacant Property Insurance
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