Unoccupied landlord insurance

Unoccupied landlord insurance

Not all landlord insurance is straight forward and if the property is unoccupied then it can be confusing as to what type of insurance you may need or what type of insurance will fit your needs the best. There are a few different types of unoccupied property that you can have such as:
  • A property that is to be let within 90 days
  • A property that is to be let within the next year but after 90 days
  • A property that you plan to do up first and then sell on
We deal with various insurers that can insure your property under any of the circumstances but each one will come with its own terms and conditions about the property whilst it is unoccupied.

A property that is to be let within 90 days

This is the most common type of unoccupied landlord insurance and will generally only cover Fire, Lightning, Earthquake, Explosion, Aircraft and subsidence cover before the tenants moves in to the property, but when they do move in then full cover will be given immediately as long as you inform the insurance company of the change. The only problem that people have with this type of insurance is that the insurance company will cancel the policy after 90 days if you haven’t found a tenant within that period.

This will be cheaper than if you were going to rent it out after 90 days but if you are unsure it is always best to go for the longer time limit as if you get a 90 days policy and it is cancelled it will end up costing you more to reinsure the property after the 90 days insurance has been cancelled.

A property that is to be let within the next year but after 90 days

If you have to do a small bit of redecoration before you find tenants or if you are having trouble finding tenants then this may be the insurance for you. Quite a lot of the time Landlords will take advantage of an empty property to give it a coat of paint or two and then rent it out, well this is ok but if you are in that situation then the 90 day time limit may not be the best for this situation. If any of your works involve touching either load bearing walls or the roof then you probably will not get a quotation as insurers do not like these two areas being modified in any way.

There are three levels of cover that you can get on these quotes, basic level cover will only cover the basic perils as above, whereas the second level of cover will also cover things such as escape of water and oil and storm damage. The third level of cover, which is also the most expensive, will cover everything that an occupied property would cover including theft or attempted theft damage and malicious damage cover.

This policy is highly beneficial simply because it does not have a time limit in which you must find a tenant and if the property is vacant for the whole year of the policy then that is fine, although as with most things the longer the property takes to be rented will earn a few questions from the insurers about why it hasn’t been rented in a year but you are in no danger of having this policy cancelled due to not finding a tenant.

A property that you plan to do up first and then sell on

There are a lot of people that have a second property that for one reason or another they may want to sell, which means that they may want to do some work on the property and then sell it on. If they are not living in the property then they cannot insure it as a normal household insurance so the best thing to do in this case is to get insurance for a vacant property that will be sold.

As with the other type of long term unoccupied insurance there are the three different levels of cover, again with level 3 being the most expensive. The only big difference is the fact that if the property is to be sold then the insurers will not cover subsidence as that is something that happens gradually over time and this policy usually will not last longer than a year as most house sales are done within a year.

The only reserve that people have with this insurance is insurers generally put a time on risk charge of around 50% which means that should you cancel it then the refund that you get back will not be a lot especially if you cancel the insurance within the first couple of months.

General Unoccupied Landlord Insurance Conditions

As with any type of insurance there are always terms and conditions that get put on the policy and these are very important if you want to insure a property that will be vacant for any period of time. The main terms that are on vacant property insurance are detailed below:
  • Property must be in a good condition
  • The policy does not cover loss or damage or liability arising from the activities of any builder that you may have in the property
  • Property must be inspected at least once every 7 days
  • No major structural works on load bearing walls or the roof are to be undertaken
  • Security precautions must be put in place and maintained
  • The gas and electricity must be turned off at the mains unless used for security or to maintain the heating
  • The water supply must be turned off and the system drained or the heating must be maintained at a minimum of 15 degrees Centigrade or 58 degrees Fahrenheit at all times
  • The insurance company must be advised immediately if the property becomes occupied. If they are not advised the cover will remain restricted as if the property were unoccupied
Unoccupied landlord insurance