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Unoccupied property insurance for residential property owners or landlords. A specific policy can be used when a property is not occupied. While some standard household policies offer minimal protection, most will not provide the level of cover required.

  • Cover for long-term unoccupied properties
  • Wider levels of cover than standard household insurance
  • Low policy excesses
  • Policies from 1 to 12 months available


The Alan Boswell Group Difference

ABG Difference - Non Standard Home

Having dealt with a variety of insurance requirements over a number of years we appreciate that not all risks are standard. As an independent insurance broker we are not tied to any specific insurer enabling us to select from a range of products suitable for your needs. We work closely with insurers and have access to options many of our competitors do not.

How our customers rate us

Excellent advice in understanding my requirements. I have no hesitation in recommending. Keep up the good work!

Mr & Mrs Slater - Specialist Property Insurance

Unoccupied Property Insurance in detail

Non-standard risks can vary significantly and it is important you have the appropriate covers:

  • Property owners' liability This covers costs or damages awarded to a third party for injury or damage sustained on, or related to, your property e.g. postman slips over on an unsafe path on your property.
  • Property damage Cover for property damage, including damage caused by: fire, flood, storm, escape of water, subsidence.
  • Contents insurance Cover for damage or theft of contents within your property.

This cover provides high levels of flexibility:

  • High limit of £500,000 works to property.
  • Wider cover applies to renovated properties as soon as work starts, minimal cover until then.
  • Not just basic cover of FLEEA – fire, lightning, earthquake, explosion, aircraft.
  • Policy excesses of only £250.
  • Existing structure cover only.

Unoccupied properties will be required to be visited once every 7-14 days (depending on the insurer). Most insurers will have minimum security requirements which must be met to keep the property secure.
Heating must be on from 1st October to 31st March or the heating system must be drained for unoccupied properties.


What is unoccupied home insurance?

Unoccupied home insurance is designed to provide cover for domestic properties which are left empty for longer than a standard home insurance policy will allow – up to 60 days a year depending on the terms of the policy.

Homes that are left unoccupied for extended periods are more at risk of vandalism, fire, burglary, and burst pipes, each of which can cause far more damage than if the property is lived in.

What is the definition of an unoccupied property?

Unoccupied properties are defined as where no-one resides at the premises as their main residence. There is normally a defined period of time where a property needs to be empty for it to be classified as unoccupied, but this varies from 30 to 90 days dependent on the policy and previous use of the property e.g. main residence or inherited.

What is the difference between unoccupied and vacant?

The terms unoccupied and vacant may appear to mean the same thing, but there is an important distinction in law.

A vacant property is one which is completely empty and contains no personal possessions, such as an unfurnished rental property waiting for a new tenant.

An unoccupied property is one which contains possessions but no people. It could be lived in as soon as the owners return.

  • There are several reasons your home may be unoccupied for an extended period, including:

    • A holiday longer than 60 days.
    • Long term care, whether in hospital, a care home, or moving in with relatives.
    • Spending time at a holiday or second home, either in the UK or abroad.
    • Working away for an extended period.
    • Moving out to have renovations done. Read more: A guide to buildings insurance for renovations
    • Landlords finding themselves between tenants.
    • Waiting to sell a house after you’ve already moved into your new home or selling a home you’ve inherited.
    • Waiting for probate.
  • Our unoccupied home insurance policy includes cover for:

    • Natural disasters including fire, storm, and flood.
    • Escape of water, including for burst pipes (subject to keeping the heating on low in winter or draining the heating system).
    • Subsidence, heave, or landslip.
    • Property owners’ liability insurance, covering damages awarded to a third party injured on, or because of, your property.
    • Vandalism caused by criminal damage to your property.
    • Theft or attempted theft of your contents, including damage caused to the building by forced entry.
  • Cover will vary from insurer to insurer, but most will exclude theft from unforced entry as a result of a failure to take adequate precautions to protect your property.

    Our unoccupied property insurance covers buildings in the course of renovation or repair, but some insurers exclude cover for incidents that happen as a result of major works. For more details visit our home renovation insurance page.

    Building contractors should have their own public liability insurance for any damage they cause to your property.

    Full details of what is and isn’t covered can be confirmed by reviewing your policy documents after receiving a quotation.

  • As there are many variables within an unoccupied home insurance policy, how much you pay will depend on your requirements. For instance, the length of time you want to be insured for, the value of the contents of the property, and the location of the property will all make a difference to the premium you pay.

  • Yes you can, although at the outset it makes sense to overestimate the time involved as the pricing to extend is based on short-term policies.

  • No, until the property is secured and brought up to a reasonable standard you are unable to insure the property.

  • Most standard home insurance policies provide cover for unoccupied properties up to 60 days in a year. If your home is empty for longer and you fail to inform your insurer, you risk invalidating your policy should you need to claim.

  • Your insurer will have a standard procedure to follow when making a claim, which should be clearly stated in the policy documents.

    Before making a claim, consider if the value of the claim is worth losing any no claims bonus you have built up, also taking into account any excess that would be due.

  • Yes you can, but you are unable to do so on a household policy and it will require an unoccupied commercial property insurance policy.

  • No, but it is possible to get another policy to cover this. Please see our home renovation insurance

  • Not all unoccupied home insurance policies are the same, so you shouldn’t judge a policy on price alone.

    Different insurers will include different levels of cover, have different excesses, and insist on different security and water / heating system requirements to prevent burst pipes.

    Before you decide which policy to buy, check you’ve got the cover you need and you can fulfil all the terms and conditions.

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