At GSI insurance, we would like to take this opportunity to again highlight certain issues arising from unoccupied property insurance, and particularly properties that have moved into what is termed “unoccupied property status”.
Occupied, unoccupied and empty properties
Property insurance typically sees property as being either “occupied” or “unoccupied”. Some policy providers may add a third category to that list, that of “empty”.
The first thing to be clear of is that typically these categorisations apply to any property, both those that are owner-occupied and those which are let out for rental purposes. So, whether you are a landlord or an owner-occupier, what follows may be important to you.
Typically properties will have in place home insurance cover for the buildings concerned plus any furnishings and contents inside. Those types of policies are very familiar to the majority of property owners and the cover they provide continues in situations where the property is left unoccupied for what might be termed “normal durations”.
The reasons for those normal durations might include things such as holidays, weekends away, business trips and shorter periods working elsewhere.
Home insurance policies typically consider such normal absences to be below a specified figure of consecutive days – usually somewhere between 30 and 45 consecutive days.
Once your property remains unoccupied for a period longer than the maximum number of consecutive days specified in the policy, it will have moved into unoccupied status.
Why this matters
Your property insurance policies will make certain assumptions about the risks constituted by its status. Insurance statistics indicate that typically properties that are unoccupied are at higher risk than those which are occupied.
That may be intuitively obvious because if a problem arises and you’re not there to fix it, then it may become significantly worse. In addition, burglars and vandals typically find unoccupied property far more attractive, as it reduces the chances of them being discovered as they go about their activities.
As a result of this, if your property moves formerly into unoccupied status, you will need to take action in order to ensure the continuity of your cover. That will usually involve you taking out home insurance for unoccupied properties.
It is worth noting that should your property be formally unoccupied and you have failed to take out the appropriate cover, any claims you make for issues arising during that period may be refused.
Unoccupied property insurance
This cover’s start point accepts that your property is unoccupied.
It will offer you the cover required to protect your interests in such circumstances but it’s important to read the policy carefully and note that such cover may bring with special additional requirements you will need to comply with.
Empty property insurance
Some insurance providers may see a technical difference between a property that is unoccupied and one that is unoccupied and empty (perhaps defined as being un-inhabitable) for extended periods of time. An example of the second category might arise if a property is under extensive renovation with builders in place etc.
There may be special cover available for properties in such situations and it may be described as “renovation insurance” or something similar.
It is important to understand the status of your property at a given time and what implications that might have for your unoccupied property insurance.
Why not contact us for a more detailed explanation?