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Buildings & contents insurance for unoccupied property

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nautical
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Buildings & contents insurance for unoccupied property

#97239

Postby nautical » November 20th, 2017, 3:52 pm

OK, so this isn't a property investment question, but a practical property issue that some investors must face.

With both my parents now residing in a care home, the family home is now completely unoccupied save for the occasional visit from myself or my sister every couple of months. We plan to put it on the market next Spring, but need to renew the building and contents insurance early next month.

Does anyone have any advice, recommendations or warnings on insurers' treatment of property which is largely or completely unoccupied?

TIA

nmdhqbc
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Re: Buildings & contents insurance for unoccupied property

#97262

Postby nmdhqbc » November 20th, 2017, 4:38 pm

I had a similar situation a few years back. All I remember was my current insurance only allowed a shortish period unoccupied then I needed to get "specialist" unoccupied insurance. AltaVistaing "unoccupied house insurance" seems to give a few broker options. I recall it being a a bit of a con but not completely bank account emptying. Sorry, it's a bit vague.

PinkDalek
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Re: Buildings & contents insurance for unoccupied property

#97264

Postby PinkDalek » November 20th, 2017, 4:42 pm

nautical wrote:OK, so this isn't a property investment question, but a practical property issue that some investors must face.

With both my parents now residing in a care home, the family home is now completely unoccupied save for the occasional visit from myself or my sister every couple of months. We plan to put it on the market next Spring, but need to renew the building and contents insurance early next month.

Does anyone have any advice, recommendations or warnings on insurers' treatment of property which is largely or completely unoccupied?

TIA


Have you looked at the existing policies with specific regards to unoccupancy and have you informed the insurers of the current position?


Buildings

On renewal we ended up using a specialist broker who summarised the insurers requirements for Buildings cover broadly as follows:

They agreed to provide full perils, rather than all risks, to cover the property until sold.

1. The property was to be protected by the fully functioning burglar alarm.
2. The property was to be visited regularly. At least once every 7 days and inspected internally and externally. We were asked to keep a log of these visits.
3. The central heating was to stay on to keep the property ordinarily warm to prevent freezing pipes. Alternatively an option was to drain down the water tanks and pipes and the supply to be turned off at the mains.
4. There was a relatively small additional premium to pay.

It was also suggested that we clear the property of any combustible rubbish and consider sealing up the letter box but this wasn't a condition of the policy. I suggested sealing the letter box would serve to indicate the house is unoccupied.

Contents

We were forced to remove all jewellery, all valuables (which included paintings) and items of high worth and to provide a full inventory of the remaining contents. On renewal there was a specific unoccupancy wording in the policy, which again mentioned the regular visits at least every seven days.

Even then the contents cover excluded losses for theft, malicious damage and the escape of water from fixed water installations. Despite the best efforts of our broker the insurers wouldn't budge. In effect we were only covered for fire and storm damage.

macbrains
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Re: Buildings & contents insurance for unoccupied property

#99152

Postby macbrains » November 27th, 2017, 10:03 am

When my sister and I had the same problem with our parents house, admittedly a few years ago now, the insurance was already with the AA, who were helpful in extending it. They did require a few not unreasonable things, like a visit at least every few weeks.

HTH
Rob

Crazbe7
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Re: Buildings & contents insurance for unoccupied property

#108191

Postby Crazbe7 » January 5th, 2018, 4:53 pm

Due to family bereavements been in a similar position since Jan 2017. Parents house now empty.

AA would not continue to insure for an empty property. Now with a specialist insurer - required installation of a burglar alarm, locks on doors and windows were OK, required heating to remain on/or drained. I have kept running and regular visits - weekly.

Fortunately, my neighbors check on the house, so I meet the regular visits criteria. They have keys. Letter box still open, but neighbors keep an eye on any post/junk mail sticking out as a flag that the house is empty.

All valuables have been removed, but insurance has still tripled!!

Crazbe7

dspp
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Re: Buildings & contents insurance for unoccupied property

#108216

Postby dspp » January 5th, 2018, 6:29 pm

Why not rent one room to a lodger ? Just a thought.
- dspp


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