Will Your Insurers Pay Out?

Posted: 3rd June 2011

Increasing numbers of people are spending substantial periods of time away from their homes on account of working away, having a second home or for any of a number of other reasons. Houses can also frequently be empty for substantial periods after the death of the owner or prior to sale. If you are the owner of, or are responsible for, a property that is likely to be unoccupied for a considerable period it is worth checking your house insurance policy. Many policies contain clauses which invalidate the cover if the property is unoccupied for more than a minimum period – often 30 days, a period which would be exceeded by some holiday cruises.

Normally, the insurer will agree to extend cover when requested, although this might involve the payment of an additional premium or compliance with specific requests, such as turning the water off at the main. An alternative might be for the insurer to reduce the level of cover or increase the excess payable for certain types of claim during the period of absence. Also, substantial additional premiums are often required for household contents policies where there will be an extended void period. In some cases, it might be cheaper to put all or some of the household contents into secure storage.

There are insurers who specialise in providing cover for unoccupied homes and second homes.