Sometimes you might have no other option but to leave an empty property – but you are likely to worry about the additional and specific risks to which it is exposed when there is no one living there.
An empty property – whether it is otherwise owner occupied or let out to tenants – is exposed to extra risks, such as:
- the attraction of an apparently empty building to burglars, vandals and other unwelcome visitors; and
- the risk of a minor repair developing into a major incident if it goes unnoticed and unattended when no one is at the property.
Despite the increased risk, there are a number of measures you may take to help protect your empty property:
- not least of these is the standalone purpose designed unoccupied property insurance which is available from specialist insurance providers such as those of us here at GSI Insurance;
- insurance is only part of your arsenal, though, and just as important are the steps you may take to improve the security of an empty property;
- one of the strongest defences, for example, is advertising the fact that it is empty as little as possible;
- install simple timer switches to turn on lights in selected rooms;
- timer switches may also be useful for switching a radio on and off at various times throughout the day too;
- give some thought to the impression created whether the curtains are drawn or closed – downstairs curtains closed during the daytime, for example, may give the clue to the home being unoccupied;
- make sure that any regular deliveries of newspapers, milk and the like are cancelled and that any occasional deliveries are taken in and put out of sight as soon as possible – a friendly neighbour might offer to do this simple task for you;
- the same friendly neighbour might also be persuaded to use your driveway on which to park their car – thus helping to give the impression that your home is in fact occupied;
- if you are asking a neighbour to keep an eye on the property remember to give them a key rather than attempting to hide one under the front door mat, above the frame or dangling from a string inside the letter box – wherever you choose, it is almost certain to be somewhere easily discovered by an intruder and could invalidate the terms of your insurance cover;
- it might seem counter intuitive, but a relatively weak trellis on top of boundary walls may prove a more effective deterrent to intruders than the apparent robustness of barbed wire or broken glass – if a trellis breaks when someone tries to clamber over it, this may be deterrent enough.
You can read more tips here.
Although you may be unable to do much about having an empty property for one reason or another, there are nonetheless a number of measures and precautions you might take to help to protect it. Further reading is available with our Guide to Unoccupied Property.