There are times when the home you live in, the holiday home you own, or the house or flat you let, for one reason or another stands temporarily unoccupied and empty.
From an insurer’s point of view, this significantly increases the risk of loss or damage to the property. A guide published by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), for example, points to the increased risks of the building falling into a state of disrepair, the chances of criminal trespass and damage and major incidents from fire (sometimes started deliberately by arsonists).
Because of these heightened risks, the majority of insurers significantly reduce, or regard as lapsed altogether, existing insurance cover after a given number of consecutive days, so making the property more vulnerable still.
In that event, unoccupied property insurance is needed to restore the level of protection you require. The good news is that here at Primecover, we are specialists in arranging such unoccupied property cover – whether this is your own home, a holiday home or a commercial investment property.
Tips on arranging your unoccupied property insurance are mainly related to the steps you take to minimise and mitigate the risk of loss or damage – indeed, a number of reasonable measures may be a condition of any insurance you arrange:
- for commercial or especially high-end residential property, for instance, you might want to engage professional property management services to maintain the building in a good state of repair and to ensure its overall security;
- your home or holiday home also needs to be maintained in a good state of repair – so that otherwise routine maintenance jobs do not develop into major incidents of loss or damage;
- there are a number of precautions you might take with fairly minimal investment to improve the security of your own home;
- these include the upgrading of locks on all doors and windows, and the installation of intruder alarms and smoke detectors;
- one of the objectives is to minimise every appearance of your home remaining empty and unoccupied;
- timer-switches may be used to turn strategically placed lights on and off, any deliveries need to be taken indoors or collected by friends or neighbours as soon as they are made, and you might consider asking a neighbour to park their car in your driveway to help convey the impression that there is, in fact, someone at home;
- in commercial or higher-end residential property, it might be necessary to carry out a more detailed risk assessment – and to take the appropriate precautionary measures identified in that assessment;
- in these cases, you may want to inform the police and fire services that the property is going to be vacant for a while and provide a list of all key-holders who need to be contacted in the event of an emergency;
- in larger properties, you may need to turn off utilities such as water (except for sprinkler systems), gas (unless it is used to provide ambient heating) and electricity (except where this is needed to power alarms or to provide background heating).
By keeping in mind these tips and suggestions, you might identify the unoccupied property insurance most suitable for your particular, individual needs and circumstances – and but it at a competitive price.
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