Updated July 2022.
These days, houses can be left unoccupied for a variety of reasons, such as family bereavement, emigration, or lengthy hospital stays. If your house is left empty for more than 30 consecutive days however, it may officially be classed as an unoccupied home and require a specialist unoccupied home insurance policy to ensure your property is properly protected.
Even if your home is to be unoccupied for a relatively short time (for example 3 months), you should contact your insurance provider regarding short-term unoccupied home insurance cover.
Specialist unoccupied house insurance policies protect your vacant property in the following ways:
Unfortunately, no one can control the weather. That’s why unoccupied house insurance is vital for safeguarding your property from naturally occurring incidents. From lightning and storm damage to destruction caused by falling debris, insuring an occupied house ensures financial protection in the event of damage caused by many natural disasters.
Insurance on an unoccupied house is even more important due to the fact this damage may have time to worsen under the elements before it’s noticed and repairs are undertaken (though weekly inspections should be made to avoid invalidating your unoccupied house insurance policy).
Theft & Vandalism
Unoccupied houses can often be beacons for thieves. Though there are methods of deterrence, such as alarms and removing all mail build-up, these are not fool-proof. Taking out insurance on unoccupied house contents offers peace of mind, and also allows you to replace any stolen contents at a minimal financial cost.
Unoccupied homes are also at an increased risk of vandalism, though deliberate damage (and repairs required) is not always covered by unoccupied house insurance, and so should be discussed with your insurer before taking out a policy.
Most unoccupied home insurance policies also safeguard your finances in the case of a fire, allowing you to repair both cosmetic and structural damage. However, you should ask your chosen provider whether arson is covered – if the fire was suspicious or proven to be deliberately set, financial reparations may not be issued. Additionally, the majority of unoccupied house insurance policies cover fire brigade charges up to the value of €2,000. As fire brigade charges can be very expensive, this ensures protecting your home doesn’t leave you out of pocket.
Property Owner’s Liability
Property owner’s liability allows you to meet any costs awarded to someone who suffers an accident resulting in injury while on your property. However, like all of the above points, you must take every possible step to keep your property safe to avoid invalidating your policy.
We at OBF Insurance Group hope this helps you understand the value of insuring an unoccupied house. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch with our expert team today or browse our previous posts on this topic and more.