Home insurance may not cover empty properties
Housing charity Empty Homes has highlighted a clause in many insurance policies which could leave homes uninsured if they are left unoccupied.
It is estimated that there are 930,000 empty properties in the UK and while their owners may think they are covered by insurance, this clause could mean that many are actually uninsured
The sluggish housing market means that properties are selling slowly and may be left unoccupied for a prolonged period of time, while second homes may also be unoccupied for much of the year.
The insurance clause could mean that a policy becomes invalid if a property stands empty for more than 30 days.
The best option for owners of unoccupied properties could be to take out a specialist policy to cover the building and its contents.
If an existing policy is extended to cover an empty home it is likely that it will only be extended for up to three months and it may not cover risks such as water or malicious damage.
Specialist policies will provide cover for water, fire and smoke damage and will also provide liability cover.
Taking out a specialist policy may even work out cheaper than extending existing building and contents insurance.
However, homes will generally need to be in a good state of repair and securely locked in order to be eligible for cover.
Meanwhile, MoneySupermarket.com has published separate research showing that 3.5 million homeowners are failing to insure their homes adequately against the threat of damage.
Around 1.5 million respondents to the survey said they only had contents insurance, while 1.3 million said they only had buildings insurance.
MoneySupermarket.com also found that people living in rented accommodation are under-insured, with a third of renters saying they had no insurance cover in place.