Compare Unoccupied Home Insurance Cover

We reveal the best unoccupied property insurance cover policies available to UK homeowners.

Updated: May 22, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

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Are you about to own a property you might not permanently live in? Suppose you're concerned about protecting the building and its contents and have received the news that you will not qualify for standard home insurance coverage because the property will be unoccupied.

When standard options don't apply, you might need to turn to unoccupied home insurance.

Part of your search will involve looking at the features of several insurance providers, yet our financial experts know that this can take up a lot of time.

It's not easy to compare multiple options, but that's where we can help. We have used several of the best unoccupied home insurance cover providers and gathered what we learned. For a comprehensive look at the best providers, keep reading this article.

ProviderScoreDetails
1. Halifax★★★★★Click Here
2. Endsleigh★★★★★Click Here
3. Guardcover★★★★★Click Here
4. Homeprotect★★★★Click Here
5. Emerald Life★★★★Click Here
6. Swinton Insurance★★★★Click Here

What Is Unoccupied Home Insurance? Overview

If your home is unoccupied for longer than standard coverage, you'll need unoccupied home insurance.

“Vacant” or “unoccupied” means that despite having a property that contains furniture or has your belongings inside it, you're not living in the property for a specific timeframe.

This insurance type covers you if you're away from your home for 30 days. You'll find this insurance type ideal for many reasons.

For instance, if included in the levels of coverage, it'll cover you against vandalism risks plus theft and damage. Depending on the policy and the provider, it will also ensure you're covered against storm or water damage, damage caused by fire and protection against liability claims.

You'll notice that this insurance type is also referred to as “vacant property insurance“, “empty property insurance”, or “empty house insurance” because it applies specifically to unoccupied properties.

Why Do You Need Unoccupied Home Insurance?

You'll need unoccupied home insurance for multiple reasons.

A policymaker might explain that a standard home insurance cover will not apply to you. They might explain that you'll be ineligible for standard home insurance because of the time you'll be away from the property. So you'll need unoccupied home insurance to protect your property against risks such as theft, vandalism, fire or weather damage.

It makes sense to get cover, setting your mind at ease and reducing the stress related to potential risks that may affect the property you've worked hard to purchase.

Pros and Cons of Unoccupied Home Insurance Cover

You'll notice a few pros and cons of this insurance type.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages to consider when selecting it for your property.

Pros

Receive financial reimbursement: If your property is damaged, you can get financial reimbursement to cover potential expenses. You'll receive reimbursement from the insurance provider for the damages or losses you experience.

Legal expenses assistance: Your insurance provider who offers unoccupied home insurance will provide legal expenses assistance. This assistance can apply if you are involved in a liability claim or a third party makes a compensation claim against you due to injuries on the property.

Ideal for properties you are renovating: If you're constructing or renovating a property, you can get cover for these conditions. This means you'll be covered by risks even when the property is unoccupied during the construction or extensive renovation phase.

Cons

More costly than standard home insurance cover: This insurance type may be more expensive than standard home insurance cover. The main reason it is more costly is the risk of insuring the property. If you're not living there permanently, insurers consider the risk of an empty property greater than an ordinary one.

Exclusions may apply: You may find some exclusions to your premium in some cases. For example, damage caused by specific factors like mould might not apply as the insurance provider might not cover you for these.

Eligibility requirements may apply: You may also find that several strict eligibility requirements apply. For instance, you might need to undergo inspections to qualify. The inspections ensure insurers determine which premium and coverage should apply.

Best Unoccupied Home Insurance — Reviews

After trying six empty house insurance policies, we brought together our findings on each provider's main features.

Here's what we found when using these providers to insure our vacant property.

1. Halifax

When we used Halifax and received away-from-home insurance for our unoccupied property, we could receive cover for various risks, including attempted theft or loss, financial protection for belongings and property that may have been stolen, damage done by fire and damage done by storms or floods.

We could also receive cover for vandalism, which put our minds at ease when leaving the property unoccupied. All we needed to do was inform the insurance provider when we would be leaving the property and when we would be returning as part of our application.

This insurance provider covered us for high-value items after we informed Halifax about them. The cover was included in the contents limit.

We noticed that wear and tear, rot, electrical faults and a few other factors were considered exclusions from this policy, but all in all, we were satisfied with the range of cover we received.

2. Endsleigh

With Endsleigh insurance, we were covered for a few types of risks. The three main types of unoccupied property insurance they offered us included unoccupied buildings insurance, theft and malicious damage cover and property owners’ liability cover.

The unoccupied home insurance policy covered multiple risks when our property was unoccupied.

The theft and malicious damage cover provided coverage for attempted theft and related risks, and the property owners' liability cover would have been ideal for keeping us protected if a third party had been injured on our property and raised a compensation claim against us.

Endsleigh calculated our quote based on a few factors, such as our occupancy, the property's value and postcode and the level of cover we required. Since we maintained our property well and increased our voluntary excess, we could save money on our unoccupied house insurance coverage with Endsleigh.

We also found that Endsleigh's unoccupied home insurance covers fire, flood, and subsidence, so we had the peace of mind that we were covered against a wide range of risks. For this reason, Endsleigh makes our list of the best providers of unoccupied property insurance coverage.

3. Guardcover

Using Guardcover, we could rely on their reputation of 20 years of unoccupied property insurance services that reduced our stress and increased our confidence.

This insurance provider could offer coverage for flats, small commercial properties and even land, but we used it for private property.

We used this specialist unoccupied property insurance when our property was being renovated, but Guardcover also provides a few other advantages for alternative scenarios. For example, we learned that this provider offers cover for gaps in tenancies, when the property is going through the conveyancing process, or is in probate or intestate.

When our property sustained damage from the escape of water, Guardcover was able to cover us. We found that it would have also covered us in various other circumstances. For instance, if we had been the victim of attempted theft, accidental or malicious damage, storm, flood, fire and subsidence issues or fallen trees, we could have received cover.

Multiple perks came with Guardcover, including the flexible policy terms that could last between one and 12 months. We found that no inspections were needed and that if we had a non-standard home, we could still have qualified for cover.

Guardcover provides various cover, such as contents insurance, for various circumstances. Each of these advantages makes this provider a top option for flexible unoccupied property insurance.

4. Homeprotect

What we liked about Homeprotect was that its insurance for vacant properties was wide-ranging and comprehensive. We could use it for various circumstances, such as when we were completing home renovations.

If we wanted to rent out our property and were between tenants, we could have also received cover to protect against risks during the vacancy period.

Homeprotect offers cover for properties going through the probate process, for second homes and holiday homes.

Despite unoccupancy for between 31 and 180 days, we could still receive cover with Homeprotect's standard protection. Some of the main risks that Homeprotect covered included a repair guarantee, legal advice, a replacement guarantee that would replace “new for old” and fast responses for home emergencies.

Despite the lack of coverage for high-risk items, we valued Homeprotect's policies and the chance to select from two types of long-term unoccupied property insurance coverage. While the basic cover applied only to fire, lightning, earthquake, explosion and aircraft or other flying devices (FLEEA), the extensive cover would have applied to a much more extensive selection of risks, which is why we valued Homeprotect.

5. Emerald Life

When using Emerald Life unoccupied home insurance, we had a choice of the duration of our policy. This provider offered us cover options of three, six or 12 months, and we selected the 12-month coverage. With their most comprehensive cover, we had cover from burglary and vandalism.

We could contribute a voluntary excess to change our pricing. By making this contribution, our insurance costs were lower.

Our building insurance would have been ideal for various circumstances. For instance, if we were between tenants or waiting for probate, we would have gained the necessary cover to protect against risks when the property was vacant. We used it when completing renovations and were pleased with the cover.

We liked the fact that we could cancel a 12-month policy when required if we had not made any claims. We did not need to pay an administration fee for this.

6. Swinton Insurance

With Swinton Insurance, we received coverage options for various risks, including flood, fire and storm damage, vandalism, theft and attempted break-in damage, and coverage for burst pipes, leaks and public liability risks.

Swinton Insurance covers some properties, including holiday homes, properties undergoing renovation work, unoccupied properties when the owners leave for business trips, and more.

Swinton has a few exclusions if applicants are not accepted for insurance on an unoccupied basis. For example, interior water pipe frost damage and attempted theft or theft are not covered in this case.

What we liked about Swinton Insurance was the option to tailor our insurance to our needs. We could choose additional cover and receive reimbursement for the escape of water. Swinton gave us a tailored quote based on our needs. 

We could also review our insurance documents through the online hub when we applied for additional cover with this provider. This feature made handling our cover more manageable and more efficient. 

Best Unoccupied Home Insurance: The Verdict

Getting insurance for an unoccupied property is an ideal process for multiple reasons. It will keep your mind at ease. Additionally, it'll give you the financial coverage you need when your property is damaged in events such as flood, fire, vandalism, theft and various other types of risks.

If you're finding it difficult to get the standard home insurance policy you need, it might be time to look into unoccupied home insurance.

Comparisons can be tricky. However, our list will help you get off to a good start. Some of the best unoccupied property insurance providers include Halifax and Endsleigh, but shop around to find the best option that works perfectly for you. Compare unoccupied home insurance to find the optimum policy.

Related Guides:

FAQs

Is Unoccupied Home Insurance Worth It?

Can You Insure a House If You Don't Own It?

What Affects the Cost of Unoccupied Property Insurance?

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