Do I Need Unoccupied House Insurance?

antoine fruchard Antoine Fruchard  updated on July 23, 2020

When leaving your home alone, who’s looking after it? Whether you’re going away on an exciting travel adventure, venturing abroad for work, or even moving to a new house altogether, you need to protect yourself when your home is unoccupied.

This means finding yourself a great unoccupied home insurance policy, but what are the ins and outs of this kind of policy, and how to find the policy that’s right for you? We’ll detail everything you need to know in this complete guide.

Should I take an unoccupied home insurance policy?

If you are leaving your house empty for 30 days or more in one period of time, you’re going to need to get yourself an unoccupied home insurance policy.

As a rule of thumb, if your property is unoccupied for any reason above the length of a couple of days, averagely, then you’re going to want to think about getting yourself an unoccupied property insurance policy. 

This could be both for temporary or long-term periods of time.

Why do you need an unoccupied home insurance?

There are different reasons why you would need this type of insurance. This could be both for temporary or long-term periods of time.

For example;

  • You may be travelling the country or internationally for a long period of time
  • You may be a landlord and not currently have tenants
  • You’re waiting on the probate process
  • You have brought a property but you’re not moving in just yet
  • You’ve sold your house and you’ve already moved into your new one
  • The property is a holiday home or an inherited home

Considering whether you need an empty property insurance policy is important because some traditional home insurance policies won’t cover any damages or claims you make because you’re not living in the house that you’re claiming on. In many cases, you can’t have two home insurance policies or two different houses.

What is covered by unoccupied insurance? 

When taking out a second home insurance policy, you need to make sure you’re taking the time to choose a policy that works for you. Each provider will offer something a little different, and depending on your personal situation, you need to make sure you’re covered for what matters for you.

Some of the key points you’ll want to consider when choosing a policy include;

Insurance Policy FeatureDefinitionExamples of IssueAverage Cost of Service (without unoccupied home insurance)
Weather DamageProtects your property in the event of a storm, flood, or most kinds of nature fire damage while in an unoccupied home
  • Broken or loose roof tiles
  • Broken windows
  • Broken guttering
£75 – £300
Water Leakage CoverIf any part of your plumbing bursts, such as a leak in the walls or a burst pipe
  • Burst pipe
  • Burst sewage works
  • Burst drainage system
£60 – £400 (depending on where pipe is and how much needs to be repaired.
Theft CoverageCovers you in the event that your property is broken into, either successfully or there is an attempt, removing any belongings you have in your home.Stolen property, such as television, laptop, mobile phones, furniture, etc.Depends on the value of personal items.£60 – £8,000
Vandalism CoverProtects you in the event that criminal damage takes place in or to your property
  • Broken property, including fencing and outdoor lighting
  • Graffiti removal
£50 – £200
Legal Expenses CoverIf you ever have to pay legal fees relating to an unoccupied property, your legal fees will cover the costs.The process to remove squatters or trespassers from the property£40,000+
Public Liability Insurance CoverIf some part of your property damages or hurts someone and their possessionsA falling roof tile hitting somebody’s passing car£20,000 – Unlimited
Services prices if you don’t have empty property insurance

How does home insurance for unoccupied property work?

If you are leaving your home empty for 30 days or more, you’ll need vacant house insurance. However, the process is simple.

Just like most traditional forms of home insurance policy, you choose which policy you want to be covered by, and by which provider, and then you know your property is covered for that length of time.

Usually, providers who specialise in insuring an empty house will offer 30, 60, and six month, and year-long policies.

In the event that one of the causes above happens, you’ll need to contact your insurance provider to begin the claim. After handing over all the related information, they’ll process your claim and you’ll be reimbursed the amount of money you’re owed after you’ve confirmed you’re happy with the settlement. More often than not, a small investigation will take place to ensure the claim is legitimate, but once everything checks out, you’ll receive your money directly into your bank account.

What is not covered by empty house insurance? 

While there’s a lot covered by most insurance for unoccupied house policies, it’s important to remember that these policies are not designed to cover everything. For example;

  • Most policies won’t cover you if you do not protect yourself. If you have left the windows and doors of the property unlocked or in some way unsecure as so anyone can walk in, this can void your policy.
  • If there are major project works being undertaken at the property, such as groundworks, the erection of an extension, or repairs are taking place to the structure of the property.
  • If you have contractors working at the property while it’s in an unoccupied state. Any damages made by the contractors will not be covered by this kind of policy. In most places, contractors should have their own insurance to cover this.

Will home insurance can cover my empty property?

Most traditional home insurance policies will only cover an empty house for a period between 30 and 60 days, depending on your provider and their own terms and conditions. Any period of time longer than this and you’re going to need an insurance for unoccupied property policy to cover you.

For a breakdown of what kind of time limit you can expect per insurer, check out the table below.

Insurance ProviderDays covered by Home Insurance
logo esure travel30 days
logo admiral 245 days
logo tesco bank pet 160 days
logo halifax 260 days
saga logo60 days
logo lv60 days
logo rias 260 days
logo churchill 260 days
logo ms bank 290 days
sunlife logo90 days
Building Insurance Unoccupancy in Which You’re Still Covered

How much is unoccupied house insurance? 

The cost of your building insurance for empty property will vary depending on a range of factors, including how long the property is empty for, and what kind of cover you’re receiving. As with most policies, the more cover you get, the more expensive the policy will be, but for average prices, you can check out our table below.

Days of Policy RequiredAverage Cost
1 – 14 Days£140
15 – 30 Days£120
31 – 45 Days£145
46 – 60 Days£150
61+ Days£172
Never£113
Unoccupied house insurance

Some of the varying factors that will change this insurance premium includes;

  • The value of your property
  • The estimated value of your furnishings and belongings inside the property
  • The location of your property
  • The security features of your property
  • How well maintained your property is
  • What level of house insurance for empty properties cover you want.

What is the best unoccupied buildings insurance?

To help you find the very best unoccupied house insurance policies, check out our comparison table below where you’ll see everything you need to know on each policy.

Insurance Policy ProviderCost of PolicyFeatures Included with Policy
homeprotect logo£573 per year
  • Includes building cover up to £550k and £50k contents cover
  • Includes Legal Cover as standard
  • Includes Home Emergency cover as standard
flux direct logo£706 per year
  • Includes building cover up to £279k and £50k contents cover
magnet logo£759 per year
  • Includes building cover up to £279k and £50k contents cover
  • Includes Legal Cover as standard
  • Includes Home Emergency cover as standard
logo admiral 2£828 per year
  • Home insurance platinium.
  • Includes unlimited building cover and £50k contents cover
  • Includes Legal Cover as standard
  • Includes Home Emergency cover as standard
  • Includes accidental building and contents cover as standard
intelligent insurance logo£1054 per year
  • Includes building cover up to £1m and £50k contents cover
  • Includes Legal Cover as standard
  • Includes Home Emergency cover as standard
fresh logo£1068 per year
  • Includes building cover up to £279k and £50k contents cover
  • Available to add legal cover for £28
  • Available to add home emergency cover for £40
Quotes for 61+ days in a row unoccupied- London centre – 500 000 value of the house – 50 000 content- 

All prices and policy details are correct at the time of writing but can vary depending on your own personal information and the provider policy details. Always treat these as estimates and use our comparator to find the best prices today.

How long will your home will be unoccupied?

Most policies will differ depending on what kind of policy and duration you want, but as a rule of thumb, most providers will offer the set policy terms that include;

  • Three-month policies
  • Six-month policies
  • Nine-month policies
  • Year-long policies

While some providers will offer custom policies term plans, these are the basics you’ll want to start with. You’ll get a much better price if you think about how long you want your policy to last and then picking the most accurate policy to match how long you want. It’s a waste to choose a year-long policy if you only need to be covered for six months.

What extras can I add to my unoccupied house insurance? 

Some house insurance for empty properties policies will allow you to add optional extras to help you customise your policy to ensure you’re covered for whatever you need. Some policies will include these things as standard, whereas others you can add them on for a set price.

Keep your eyes open for extras in this table.

Type of Optional ExtraFeatures of Optional Extra and Cover
Building CoverIf your property is damaged and needs repairing, your insurance will cover the cost of the repair work, including the materials used and the labour costs.
Contents CoverIf your belongings are damaged, stolen, or need repairs or replacements, contents cover will make sure the costs are taken care of.
Legal CoverThis is the kind of cover that takes care of the costs of any legal proceeds or fees you may have to pay. If you need to go to court, for example, to remove trespassers, this can be an expensive process without insurance.
Home Emergency CoverIf you’re subject to a home emergency, such as a pipe bursting, your bolier breaking down, or an electrical failure, this coverage will help you pay the costs  of damage and repairs to your property and belongings.
Accidental Damage Cover‘Accidential damage’ is usually defined as sudden and/or unexpected damage to your property from an outside force. This means situations like spilling drinks or drilling a hole accidentally through a pipe. This insurance covers the costs of repairs.
Extra to add to your empty house insurance