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With so many properties unoccupied, it is important that property owners ensure that they have adequate insurance cover in place.

Martin Insurance access a specialist panel of Irish & EU insurers who specialise in unoccupied house insurance & unoccupied commercial property insurance. We have outlined some important information which should be considered when arranging insurance cover for an unoccupied property.

How much should I insure my unoccupied property for?

Read the following article for more information: How much should I insure my house for?.

What are the primary additional risks associated with unoccupied property?

1. Bust pipes (large amount of damage can occur as the property is not checked on a daily basis). (Burst pipes cover is normally excluded).
2. Malicious damage.

What cover is likely to be included in an ‘unoccupied property insurance policy’.

1. Some insurers will cover ‘Fire only’.
2. Some will cover: Fire, Lightning, Explosion, Smoke or Earthquake, Flood, Storm, Subsidence, Ground Heave or Landslip, Vandals or Malicious Damage (or a combination of these covers)
3. Also, Property Owners Public Liability Cover should be included.

What is the definition of an unoccupied property?

One insurer has described it as:

1. ‘a residential property not lived in by the insured or any member of their household or by any other person with the insured’s permission’ or
2. ‘a commercial property where less than 40% of the lettable space is in use’

It seems fairly clear as regards and unoccupied house, but a large commercial property which is only partially occupied could be technically unoccupied under the terms of your insurance policy. This confirms something we have always tried to hammer home at Martin Insurance – READ YOUR POLICY BOOKLET.

What about a holiday home?

Insurers accept that holiday homes are unoccupied for periods of time so a ‘holiday home policy’ will normally carry a condition similar to the following:

‘If the property is unoccupied between the 1st November to 31st March then:
1. The property must be regularly checked by a responsible person.
2. The water must be turned off and the system drained or the heating must be left on timer to come on daily and the loft hatch must be left open. In addition, if there is a thermostat then this must be left to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. You must ensure fuel supply is adequate’

Action points (when arranging insurance cover for your unoccupied property):

1. Turn off the water and drain the system or
2. Leave the heating on timer/thermostat and open the loft hatch.
3. Keep a diary/plan to make sure the property is inspected on a regular basis.
4. Arrange an adequate insurance policy and read the policy document.
5. Identify a tradesman who can assist in making emergency repairs if damage does occur.
6. Contact Martin Insurance to access a panel of specialist unoccupied house insurance providers.

If you would like a quotation, please call us on 049-4332944, e-mail or complete our online enquiry form.

Disclaimer: The material contained is this article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.

James Martin
James Martin
James Martin has 16 years of experience as a general insurance broker. He is a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute and has completed a Diploma in Corporate Finance.

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