Conceal and protect, how to keep your property safe when it’s unoccupied

If your property has been unoccupied for more than one policy year some standard insurers will not offer renewal on properties that will remain unoccupied long-term, or cover will likely be restricted to Fire, Lightning, Earthquake and Explosion only (FLEE).  If you are looking for more extensive level of cover you may need to seek specialist insurance but regardless, there are some key details to always keep in mind when the property is unoccupied:

How long has the property been unoccupied for and what is the reason for unoccupancy?  Is the property in a ‘good state of repair’?  Security is a key factor – does the property meet minimum security requirements, such as approved key-operated window locks on all accessible windows and approved door locks on all final exit doors?  Are there any windows or doors bricked or boarded?  Insurers dislike the terms ‘boarding or bricked up’ as although it may seem a good idea for you to board doors or windows to protect your property, it acts as a beacon to advertise that the property is unoccupied and in turn leaves your property open to theft and malicious damage risks, particularly if the boarding is visible from the road.

A main factor for any property that is now unoccupied is if you have made arrangements for the property to be inspected weekly, internally and externally by a responsible adult and for all flyers and post to be removed, this helps reduce the increased theft and escape of water risk.  Are the gardens maintained?  What is the intention with the property moving forward, is it to be sold, let out etc?  This will assist insurers with understanding your long-term goal and help make you aware of the long-term risk of unoccupancy.  The longer a property stands unoccupied the higher the chance that it will become obvious that it is vacant and the likelihood that the state of repair will deteriorate, despite every precaution.  Following the above advice will help to conceal that the property is in fact unoccupied and help prevent against the increased unoccupied risks.

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