Some of the large losses connected with unoccupied property insurance are a result of the insured not meeting conditions specified in their policy wordings.
Turn off the gas and electricity; drain the water system
Even if the property is only insured for the basic level of cover of Fire, Lightning, Explosion and Aircraft perils, it is important that this is done. An escape of water could well come into contact with electricity that could spark and ignite. Insurers only prefer services to remain switched on if a heating system is being used or if the property is alarmed.
Door and Window Locks
Insurers will, in the main, require a minimum of 5 lever mortice deadlocks on doors and window locks that are key operated. However, they will often accept alternatives providing it is equal or an improvement on this minimum requirement. This can include simply screwing or nailing any windows shut or multipoint locking systems found on modern composite doors.
Sealing letter boxes
In vacant properties, fires are constantly being caused by items being put through letter boxes. This is not always the result of a targeted arson attack. These can often be caused by bored youths putting fireworks through the letter box which ignite the junk mail that may have accumulated. Sealing the letter box is a simple way of avoiding this.
Keeping a log of weekly inspections
This is a favourite one from the insurers. It may not have to be carried out every week but the frequency required will be stated on your policy documentation. By carrying out the inspections, you can ensure the property remains secure and that it is in a good state of repair. An unchecked property is more at risk to vandalism and illegal entry. Keeping a log of these inspections provides proof to the insurers in the event of claim.
As squatting within residential property is a criminal offence, there has been an increase of squatting in commercial properties. The property of choice by squatters tend to be empty hotels, care homes and pubs. Installation of boarding can reduce the risk of illegal entry significantly which, in turn, reduces risks of fire and malicious damage.
All unoccupied property risks are different and there are some properties that are unable to meet policy conditions such as those above. As an experienced insurance broker, I am able to advise and negotiate with the insurers so a solution can be found that is agreeable to all parties.
If you need this insurancce please do not hesitate to get in touch.