Generally a property which is left unattended and unchecked is more at risk than one lived in. It’s purely because there’s no one there to catch a problem before it causes damage or catch a problem before it gets worse.
When a property is left unoccupied there can be higher risk of:
Damage caused by burst pipes- if the home is not heated for the duration of your trip away, pipes can freeze and subsequently burst causing damage
Vandals and thieves- sadly, when you’re away it can be obvious to those who make their living from stealing. It’s worth keeping an eye out for
Unoccupied properties in the UK
One in seven of property owners in the UK leave their property empty for more than one month at a time. This is where a regular insurance policy may no longer be enough. When leaving your UK home unoccupied for more than 30 days at a time, there are usually conditions you must comply with to keep your insurance valid. For any longer than this, you may find your cover drop to a skeleton policy which includes only public liability and possibly fire cover, if you’re lucky.
Temporarily vacant properties
If you’re heading away for a short period of time and it’s a one off, there are policies out there to cover your home for a short time without having to buy a full year’s insurance. Unoccupied property insurance from Towergate for example, can be bought for three, six, nine or twelve months at a time. So if your business trip is for 3 months you can buy home insurance to cover the 90 days for which the home is unoccupied, and then switch back to a regular insurance policy.
If you have a holiday/second home which is unoccupied
A specialist holiday home insurance policy will be catered to the fact that you’re going to be leaving the home empty, potentially for periods of time. It’s worth discussing with your insurance provider however; depending on the circumstances it may be that the home is considered to be a second home.
Storm, flood, fire and theft- these may sound like the basics but they are very important when insuring an unoccupied home. Like we mentioned earlier, these are sometimes excluded by policies which are not designed to insure unoccupied homes so make sure you check!
Lastly, just be aware of what you’re buying. Is always best to speak to a specialist insurance provider who will be happy to guide you through what you are covered for and the terms of your cover. So you understand your insurance and stay covered all the year round.