Insuring Unoccupied and Vacant Properties

property insurance - balder sons insuring unoccupied properties

Unoccupied and vacant properties present unique challenges for property owners and require specialised insurance coverage to mitigate risks. As a broker, it’s crucial to understand the nuances of insuring these properties and provide clients with comprehensive coverage options. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of insuring unoccupied and vacant properties and share tips for protecting them.

The Risks of Unoccupied and Vacant Properties:

Unoccupied and vacant properties are more susceptible to various risks, including vandalism, theft, fire, and water damage. Without occupants present to monitor the property and address maintenance issues promptly, small problems can escalate into significant losses. Additionally, unoccupied properties may attract trespassers or squatters, increasing the likelihood of damage or liability issues.

Specialised Insurance Coverage:

Standard homeowners or property insurance policies typically exclude coverage for unoccupied or vacant properties after a certain period, often 30 or 60 days. As a broker, it’s essential to be aware about the need for specialised insurance coverage to protect their investment adequately.

Types of Coverage for Unoccupied and Vacant Properties:

Unoccupied Property Insurance: This type of insurance provides coverage for properties that are temporarily vacant, such as homes undergoing renovations or awaiting sale or rental. It typically includes coverage for property damage, liability, and additional living expenses if the property becomes uninhabitable.

Vacant Property Insurance: Vacant property insurance is designed for properties that are unoccupied for an extended period, often more than 30 or 60 days. It offers similar coverage to unoccupied property insurance but may have additional restrictions and higher premiums due to the increased risks associated with long-term vacancy.

Builder’s Risk Insurance: For properties undergoing construction or renovation, builder’s risk insurance provides coverage for property damage and liability during the construction period. It’s essential to ensure that builder’s risk insurance remains in place until the project is complete and the property becomes occupied.

Tips for Protecting Unoccupied and Vacant Properties:

Regular Inspections: Encourage clients to schedule regular inspections of unoccupied properties to check for signs of damage, vandalism, or maintenance issues. Promptly addressing any issues can help prevent further damage and maintain the property’s value.

Security Measures: Installing security systems, including alarms, motion sensors, and surveillance cameras, can deter trespassers and vandals. Advise clients to secure doors and windows with sturdy locks and consider installing security lighting to illuminate the property’s exterior.

Property Maintenance: Ensure that clients maintain unoccupied properties regularly, including landscaping, HVAC systems, and plumbing. A well-maintained property is less likely to experience issues such as water damage or pest infestations.

Neighbourhood Watch: Encourage clients to inform neighbours or local authorities of the property’s vacancy and enlist their help in keeping an eye on the property. Neighbours can report suspicious activity or emergencies promptly, reducing the risk of vandalism or theft.

Insurance Review: Regularly review clients’ insurance policies to ensure they have adequate coverage for unoccupied or vacant properties. As circumstances change, such as properties becoming vacant for an extended period or undergoing renovations, adjust coverage accordingly to mitigate risks effectively.

As a broker, we want you to understand the unique risks associated with unoccupied and vacant properties and provide you with specialised insurance coverage to protect their investment. By educating clients about the importance of insurance and offering proactive risk management tips, brokers can help property owners safeguard their assets and minimise potential losses.

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Established in 1972, Baldersons Insurance, is an insurance brokerage that has been successfully providing a professional and individual service to meet all the insurance needs of both their personal and commercial clients.

In April 2022, we were acquired by Needham Insurance Services as a way to continue our growth and to improve the products available for our clients.

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