House insurance covers homeowners from financial losses due to potential threats to their properties. Threats can present themselves in the case of fire, water flooding or burglary. Referred to as insurable risks, they are popular in the UK. The homeowner is compensated for any damages caused by the insured risks. Most insurance policies cover houses that are occupied. There are very few empty property insurance policies.
Insurance companies assume that the homeowner will be at home or within reach when the damage occurs. This is because most damages are caused by humans who are either negligent or have malicious intentions. The insurance companies assume that the homeowner will be available to prevent some of the damages. Homeowners are not expected to be careless simply because their properties are insured. They must participate in risk aversion. Risk aversion keeps the companies from spending money on things that could be avoided.
The maximum amount of time that most insurance companies can allow a house to be empty is thirty days. Any damages occurring after this period of time cannot be compensated for. The policy that limits the insured’s movements can be very inconveniencing to homeowners who travel a lot. People who travel for business or holidays stand a risk of losing their properties if they stay out for more than the stipulated amount of time. The problem with empty house insurance is not limited to those travelling. Sellers sometimes have to put their properties in the market for a long time before getting a buyer. Conveyance may also take longer than the period allowed by the insurance policy. This puts the seller at risk of losing a property that is damaged while still on the market or during conveyancing.
Empty properties in the UK
Over 700 000 houses in the UK are empty. This is a large number considering the fact that the UK is still experiencing problems with housing. Chances of having a squatter take advantage of a house are high. The squatter can misuse the property and cause massive financial losses to the owner of the building. Some insurance firms have come to terms with the need for homeowners to stay out of homes for a long time. Some of these companies have extended the periods of absence to sixty days, while other others ninety days. However, many homeowners still consider this extension inadequate.
Terms of Empty Property Insurance
There are terms that homeowners must fulfil for the period of coverage to be extended under the existing policy. The owners must regularly visit the property. This helps ward off squatters and vandals. The homeowner must also add extra security to the property. He must seal letter boxes to prevent theft of mail. Entrance to the house must be protected with alarm systems and secure doors and windows. Any valuable must be removed from the home and kept in a different storage place. The homeowner must also switch off all utilities. Water leakage is one of the leading causes of flooding in properties. Therefore, pipes should not be left running. Electricity has to be switched off to prevent fires.
Empty property give you an assurance of safety in case of a unpredictable loss. There are however terms that you will have to agree and follow. If you stay away from your home or are travelling a lot, this could very well be a good time to see if your insurance provider can offer you empty property insurance.