Unoccupied Properties: Are You Fully Covered?

Nathan Brown  -  Jan 26, 2021  -  Comments Off on Unoccupied Properties: Are You Fully Covered?

Having the right type of cover in place for your property is crucial, however with a growing number of business premises remaining unoccupied for extended periods of time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to make sure you have the level of cover in place.

Standard property insurance generally allows a short period of time where the premises can be unoccupied, however, this is generally limited to around 30 consecutive days. This type of exclusion tends to apply to residential and commercial properties alike.

Why Is Leaving My Property Empty An Issue?

Insurers tend to have this exclusion in place because the longer a property remains unoccupied, the greater the risk is of a claim arising. Whilst you may deem popping in every now and again as the property being occupied, this may not always be the way your insurer will see it.

There are a number of risks that can occur when leaving a property empty for an extended period of time. These include:

  • Problems such as leaking pipes and other damage that may go unnoticed, leading to more serious damage occurring
  • General deterioration of the property may not get the immediate attention that it ought, and this could lead to an increased level of damage
  • Your building may become more attractive to thieves or squatters (particularly if it begins to deteriorate) and this could cause additional damage to the building and contents etc

How Will My Insurers Know?

It is quite common to think that your insurer will simply now know if the building is empty when (if) you need to make a claim. You may also be tempted to state that it was occupied when it was not should you need to make a claim.

When you make a claim, it is assessed by your insurer who will have a wide range of techniques at their disposal to investigate before they agree to pay out and it is more likely than not that they will find you have not been completely honest.

As well as refusing to pay your claim, if they find that the property was empty, they may even commence legal proceedings against you which could make it harder and more expensive for you to get cover in the future.

I’m Not Sure If I Am Covered

If you’re not sure whether you are covered, it is always best to check rather than assume! With over 40 years of experience, we are well placed to advise you and would be more than happy to help where we can.

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