As a Landlord, chances are, one or more of your properties will be unoccupied during your period of ownership. Whether it be a gap between tenants or a new property purchase awaiting refurbishment, you should be aware that owning an unoccupied residential or commercial property can pose serious liabilities as unoccupied buildings are more susceptible to vandalism, undetected repairs, fire and other losses.
Unoccupied Property Cover
If you own unoccupied property, it is advisable to purchase Unoccupied Property Insurance, also known as Unoccupied Building Insurance to protect against the specialist risks.
You may also find that a standard Landlord Insurance policy will exclude cover while your property is unoccupied or impose specific policy conditions which need to be adhered to.
Very often insurers will restrict cover to Fire, Lightning, Explosion, Earthquake and Aircraft (FLEA to FLEEA cover) for an empty property. In these circumstances, you should be aware that no cover exists for water damage, losses, or theft (including attempted theft) claims. The best practice is to impose risk management practices to protect your investment, such as turning off the mains water and gas supply.
Either way, if your property is unoccupied you should notify your insurers immediately to ensure they are fully aware of your change in circumstances.
Unoccupied Property Risks
The increased insurance risk while a property is vacant is driven by the heightened number of claims insurers receive. The most common losses which occur for unoccupied properties are as follows:
- Lightning damage
- Windstorm or hail damage
- Smoke damage
- Theft and attempted theft
- Riot or civil commotion damage
- Escape of water
- Vandalism (no one is present to deter vandals)
- Malicious damage to the property and general property destruction
Bespoke Insurance Solutions
As noted above, most standard Let Property Insurance policies, can only provide protection if your building goes unoccupied for up to thirty days. Beyond this period, bespoke vacant property insurance will need to be arranged.
Under empty property cover you may also be able to choose the length of cover required (3, 6, 9 or 12 months) to ensure that you are only paying for the cover you need. It also protects against liabilities in the event someone is injured on or at your property and claims damages. It may also be a viable option if the property is in the process of being sold or if it is under construction or renovation and is uninhabitable.
Depending on your specific policy, there may be certain conditions that must be met for a claim to be covered, such as specific lock requirements and security devices being fitted throughout the property. Utilising a specialist advisor such as Insync will make sure that you know all limitations and requirements of your Unoccupied Property Insurance policy.
In addition to purchasing cover for an unoccupied building, we would advise you to take the following actions:
- Regularly inspect the property for damage or threats of damage
- Make sure you have window locks and 5-lever mortise deadlocks to secure the property
- Install alarm systems that are triggered by intruders, fires or floods
- Remove all valuables
- Switch off utilities
FREE Landlord Insurance Review
Insync specialises in all areas of cover for property owners, including House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO Insurance), Landlord Insurance and Unoccupied Property Insurance. Whether you own one, or one hundred properties, our team of expert Gurus can help you find the right cover at the right price.