Homeowners and landlords are being urged to check that their buildings insurance covers their property when it is unoccupied for a number of days.
Richard Burgess, Director at Cover4LetProperty, says: “Many property owners – both owner occupiers and landlords – may be unaware that their existing buildings insurance will have a clause relating to unoccupancy.
“In cases where the owner-occupier or, in the case of a rented property, the tenant, has an extended absence from their property for a number of consecutive days – perhaps for an extended holiday or while working away – their existing buildings insurance may become invalid”.
Mr. Burgess explains that all buildings insurance policies have a clause that excludes – or severely limits – cover for a property when no-one is living there for a number of ongoing days. This is usually 30 or 45 consecutive days for a residential property, but will depend on the individual provider.
He says: “Note that when an insurer refers to a property as being ‘unoccupied’, it means that no-one is living there – and not that the property is empty of furnishings and fittings.
“Policyholders should also be aware that whether covered under their existing policy or a new unoccupied property insurance policy, they will have obligations that need to be met in order to keep the cover valid”.
These typically include:
· regular, logged visits made to the property (sight of these logs will be required in the event of a claim);
· things such as setting the heating to a certain temperature in order to avoid frozen pipes in the winter, and/or draining down the water system etc.
“While there may be some very rare exceptions to the 30 or 45 consecutive day rule, in most cases, property owners will need to invest in additional protection for this period of unoccupancy” says Mr. Burgess.
He adds: “Landlords and homeowners alike should check the unoccupancy clause within any buildings insurance they have, or speak to their insurer so they fully understand when additional, unoccupied cover, will be needed.”