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Unoccupied Property Insurance

Adele MacGregor

Written by

27th Nov 2023 (Last updated on 27th Nov 2023) 5 minute read

Unoccupied property insurance covers a home if it is empty for longer than your regular house insurance permits. This happens when a property is going through probate or the owner is away for an extended period. It can also occur when there is a gap between tenants if a landlord owns the property.

The property must be insured while it sits empty. Most standard home insurers will offer policies that cover 30-60 days. Following this you will need to take out an unoccupied property insurance policy.

Empty homes are considered a bigger risk as they can attract thieves, squatters or vandals. It could become more of a target if the home is full and furnished. With this in mind, it is recommended that all valuables be removed. It may even be worth hiring a house clearance company to clear unwanted items.

Below we look at when you need unoccupied property insurance, how much it costs and what it covers. This can help you prepare and stay covered when dealing with an empty property.

  1. When Do I Need Unoccupied Property Insurance?
  2. What to Do with a Property If a Loved One Has Passed?
  3. What Does the Insurance Cover?
  4. What Doesn’t It Cover?
  5. How Much Does Unoccupied Property Insurance Cost?
  6. Find a House Clearance Company

When Do I Need Unoccupied Property Insurance?

You will need unoccupied property insurance for any dwelling or commercial property that is left empty for 30 days or more. This is the case if nobody is living there or they have left for an extended period.

A standard house insurance policy will usually not cover a home that is left empty. You must check your policy documents to see what yours will cover.

  • A property may be vacant for several reasons including:
  • Rental properties once tenants move out/between tenants
  • If the owner or occupier of a home passes away/during probate
  • If the occupier is in hospital for a prolonged period of time
  • The occupant has been taken into care
  • When the home is being sold and the occupants have moved out
  • When you’ve purchased a home but can’t move in yet
  • During home renovations that take more than 30 days
  • A holiday home
  • A second home or investment property
  • The home of someone who is travelling for an extended period

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What to Do with a Property If a Loved One Has Passed?

The death of a loved one can be a very distressing time for friends and family. Dealing with the person’s estate may not seem like a top priority once a life has been lost, but it is essential. When a person dies, the legal process under which the estate is managed is called probate.

You must hire a conveyancing solicitor to transfer property ownership to you. They can also handle the legal side of selling the property. While the property is in probate, you will need to make sure it is insured. If the home is likely to be empty for an extended period, you will need unoccupied property insurance.

Below are a few other steps you can take during this time:

Secure the home

Make sure the home is locked, including all windows (if possible) and garden gates. Not doing this will likely invalidate the insurance. You should also switch off any appliances. It is also highly recommended that you remove any valuables. You may also want to clear the home.

House Clearance

After a loved one has passed, the executor of the will is responsible for clearing the house. This is where a reputable house clearance company can help. Many house clearance companies will specialise in bereavement clearances or probate house clearances. You must make sure they hold a Waste Carriers Licence and have Public Liability insurance. This will give you peace of mind and also ensures they are a professional company who will not fly-tip your items.

Council Tax

You will also need to consider council tax on the home. This needs to be paid even if nobody is living in it. In fact, it can cost more if the property is left unoccupied. You must inform the local council of the death of the occupier. They can advise you on council tax payments while the home is unoccupied.

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What Does the Insurance Cover?

You can get unoccupied home insurance for both furnished and unfurnished homes. What it covers will depend on the level of care you take out. As a minimum, you should always ensure that the policy includes:

  • Break-ins and theft
  • Vandalism
  • Squatters
  • Fire
  • Storm damage
  • Flooding

You should also be sure it covers property owner liability. This is if any part of your property falls and damages someone else’s property. This includes trees in the garden, garden walls or parts of the house.

What Doesn’t It Cover?

What the policy doesn’t cover will depend on the provider you opt for and the policy itself. Always check your documents thoroughly and raise any queries with your provider.

Usually, unoccupied property insurance will not cover the following:

  • Loss or damage if any windows or doors have been left open or unlocked
  • Damaged caused by renovations and contractors
  • Damage caused by structural repairs taking place.
  • Any damage caused by poor maintenance

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How Much Does Unoccupied Property Insurance Cost?

The average cost of unoccupied property insurance for up to 30 days is £162, according to Confused.com. For 30-60 days the average cost is £184 and goes up to £249 for over 60 days. Keep in mind that these are annual averages based on 2023 data.

The overall price will depend on several factors. First of all the policy and the insurer will determine the cost. The property itself is a key factor, with the size, age, location and value all considered. Whether it is furnished or unfurnished is also taken into account.

Find a House Clearance Company

We can match you with up to 6 house clearance companies in your local area. This can help you save up to 70% on your costs. Our service allows you to find the right experts at a price to suit your budget. Whether you are clearing a loved one's home or are a landlord removing items left behind by tenants, these companies can assist.

We ensure all house clearance partners hold a Waste Carriers License. We also require them to have Public Liability insurance. Our dedicated team only takes on the best in the business. This way you know your clearance will be handled with the utmost professionalism.

Adele MacGregor

Having worked at Compare My Move for over five years, Adele specialises in covering a range of surveying topics.

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