Sometimes a property can become vacant or empty and generally its ordinary insurance in the UK does not cover that period. For such periods one must purchase a vacant property insurance.
The reasons why the property gets vacant may vary. The property might be in a process of building and developing in order to sell it for profit, the owners might be moving to another house and selling the old one, occupants may be temporarily out of the house because of renovation or extension works or the property might be bought as a holiday or a vacation home. All these reasons determine periods of different length in which the property stays vacant.
Generally UK insurance companies offer insurance policies for such vacant properties that are located in the UK. Offering policies for properties located abroad is much more difficult as these types of insurances are often connected with an initial inspection of the property’s conditions. Insurance for vacant properties located outside of the UK is easier to get from the respective country office of an international insurance company or a local insurance company in the country where the property is located.
Vacant properties often require special insurance arrangements. Usually these are properties that will be vacant for some time and then become inhabited again. For this amount of time is needed the special insurance for unoccupied properties. The main difference with ordinary property insurance is within the cover clauses. For the cover to be effective and valid in the case of a vacant property usually some actions are required from the owner.
These might be preliminary actions such as in case of a prolonged vacancy to insure that the property is well protected, locked and the gas, electricity or water is securely stopped, and subsequent actions such as arranging with someone, possibly a neighbor, to keep an eye on the property on a regular basis (every one or two weeks).
The most common case of a vacant property is a rental house that is changing its tenants. The landlord should then arrange a vacant property insurance for that period to be sure any risk that might occur is covered. The usual period for such insurances is between 30 and 60 days and they could be prolonged if the period of vacancy extends.
One should ask for any taxes or fees for such continuation of the policy or if it could be transferred to a policy of an occupied house when the property gets habited. Some companies offer automatic continuations while others don’t.
Their fees for that if any, also may vary.
The owners should also pay attention to what risks are covered for the vacant properties and not chose the policy solely based on price. It is a common practice the insurances for properties that are currently under development or being built not to cover the content of the properties as in the most cases such buildings do not have anything inside them. The owner should arrange a special agreement if there is something inside the property that he or she wants to be covered.