Empty Homes, the housing charity, has raised concerns that people are unaware of the clauses in many insurance policies which will leave property owners uninsured if they leave their property unoccupied.
There are an estimated 930,000 empty properties in the UK and while their owners think they are covered, this unoccupied property insurance clause means that they are actually uninsured
The soft housing market means that properties are selling slowly, meaning many are left unoccupied for extended periods of time, while second homes may also be unoccupied for much of the year.
Most of these unoccupied property insurance conditions state that if a property is left vacant for more than 30 consecutive days then cover is reduced to Fire, Lightning, Aircraft and explosion, or in worst cases no cover at all.
Owners are urged to take out specialist unoccupied property insurance, or to contact their insurer, or broker, to check if they are covered.
If the current occupied insurance policy is extended to cover an empty property it is likely that it will only be for up to three months and it may exclude such risks as malicious damage, or water damage.
Specialist policies will provide cover for water, fire and subsidence damage and will also provide property owners liability.
Taking out a specialist vacant property policy may even work out cheaper than modifying existing building and contents cover.
However, homes will generally need to be in a good state of repair, securely locked, and checked regularly in order to be eligible for cover.
The best way to make sure you are getting the best deal, and the right cover is to get in touch with a specialist property insurance broker, who can tailor cover to your exact needs.