Empty property insurance is very much what it says on the tin – insurance for your property whilst it is vacant and unoccupied. It is suitable for any type of property, including an owner occupied home, accommodation let by a landlord or commercial property occupied either by its owners or under lease.
Why is it necessary?
To answer the question about why empty property insurance is necessary, it is important to remember that insurance in general is always a question of risk.
In the case of an empty or temporarily unused property that remains the case, where certain risks in particular are likely to come to the fore. Property management company, VPS, for instance, states that “empty properties are far more vulnerable to everyday risks” and goes on to explain how a relatively minor repair and maintenance problem might turn into an expensive major catastrophe if left to develop unbated because there is no one on the premises to deal with or report the incident in the first place.
VPS go on to say that empty properties are also targeted by vandals, squatters and arsonists – revealing statistics which suggest that more than 60 fires every day are set within or alongside empty buildings.
Although the premises are normally covered by home insurance, landlord insurance or some other kind of property insurance, once the building become empty, insurers grow increasingly alarmed by these additional risks of loss or damage. Indeed, they are typically sufficiently alarmed to severely restrict cover – or lift if altogether – once the home or commercial premises have been empty for longer than 30 to 60 consecutive days (the precise time that needs to lapse is likely to vary from one insurer to another).
What does it cover?
Empty property insurance may be tailored to cover just what you want it to cover. Depending on the circumstances of the vacancy, the type of building and its location, for example, you might choose to retain relatively modest and basis insurance. If the property in question is your own home – and all of its contents – on the other hand, you might want unoccupied property insurance which maintains comprehensive cover against the full range of risks and perils.
The point, however, is that purpose designed unoccupied or empty property insurance is essential if you are to maintain the level of cover you require once the insurance which usually protects the property is limited or lifted after the 30 to 60 days or so which most insurers apply.
Because unoccupied property insurance may come in many different forms and variations, offering different levels of cover, you might want to consult a specialist provider – and read the detailed guide we have published here at GSI Insurance – before arranging your chosen policy.
Specialist advice and guidance may prove all the more valuable because of some of the continuing risks which you might easily overlook when thinking about your empty property.
Even though it might have been entered illegally – by squatters, arsonists or vandals, for example – you might still be held liable as the property owner for any injury sustained by such an intruder. When arranging your unoccupied property insurance, therefore, you might want to pay close attention to the level of property owner’s liability cover that is included – it is typically a minimum of £1 million.