Unoccupied buildings – what you need to know
An unoccupied or vacant home, building or property is perceived as a higher risk.
Insurance policies generally allow for short periods of unoccupancy; however the allowance period varies. It can be up to 60 or 90 days, although not all policies are the same.
One Landlord’s policy calls for notification everytime there is a vacancy during a change in tenancy.
What period does your policy allow? If something happens during a period of unoccupancy and you have not advised us to discuss with your insurer/s, there is a risk a claim could be rejected or any claim payment be reduced.
Common information required is:
1. The reason for the unoccupancy?
2.  What measures are being undertaken to reduce unoccupancy risks?
3. Has any increased security been installed?
4. How often is the property being checked and by whom.
Unoccupied properties are exposed to a range of risks, such as theft, vandalism, squatters and water damage.
To combat the unoccupied problems consider:
1. Having a house-sitter or a friend or family member   occupy the premises while you are away. You then do not have an unoccupancy exposure.
2. If you are not located locally to the property arrange for someone who is local to regularly check the property at least weekly removing all signs of unoccupancy e.g. junk mail, free paper etc. and regularly have yard and gardens maintained.
3. Review and upgrade security specifically door and window deadlocks and quality security screens on all doors and windows including the small bathroom and toilet windows.
4. Fit back to base alarms supplying the name of local contact.
5. Turn off all water taps to all equipment e.g. washing machines, dishwasher, fridges etc.
6. Tell your neighbours giving them your local contact details.
If a premises is unoccupied, it must be declared to your broker so they can address accordingly.