When Is a Building Considered ‘Vacant’?

Vacant property insurance is tricky. It can be difficult to source and expensive to buy. There are all sorts of considerations which contribute to whether or not your building is suitable for this type of insurance. One thing to decide is whether or not your building is truly vacant. It might sound silly, but this can be quite confusing and, in many situations, you may be leaving your property (even just temporarily) without the right kind of cover. Here we look at the main different circumstances in which your building is technically vacant.

• Holiday Home Owners
Holiday home owners all too frequently overlook the need for vacant property insurance as they do not consider their property to be unoccupied. This is especially true of the privileged few who own ‘summer’ and ‘winter’ homes. An absence of two weeks or so does not qualify a property for vacant property insurance, but longer stays will. As a good rule of thumb, this type of insurance generally becomes relevant after an absence of 3 weeks or more.

• Landlords
Landlords also are prone to forgetting about insurance for empty properties, especially if they have a number of properties on their books. When a tenant leaves a landlords property empty for more than a fortnight, the property is technically unoccupied and needs to be covered by this insurance until the tenant returns or new tenants move in. This can be pretty tricky to stay on the ball with if you are a landlord who has seen many tenants come and go from many different properties.

• Death of Owner
This is one of the key reasons that there are so many unoccupied properties in the UK. By recent estimates there are over 700,000 unoccupied homes in the country which, considering the fact that we are currently experiencing a ‘housing crisis’, seems ridiculous.

Nevertheless, the death of a property’s owner is one of the chief reasons that a building needs this type of insurance. This is easier said than done because, sadly, it can sometimes be hard to track down a probate or next-of-kin to deal with the premise. If a probate is found, they will need to arrange vacant property insurance for the building until such time as the property can be sold.

• New Property Owners
you’ve just bought an exciting new property and, before you move in, you have wild and wonderful plans for its refurbishment! These alterations and renovations could take months and, if you are not living in the building while they take place, your building is technically unoccupied and needs vacant property insurance.

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