How to help reduce insurance premiums on an unoccupied property

Whether you are responsible for an unoccupied property for a matter of weeks, months or even years, the cost of maintaining your property can be costly and time consuming. That is why it is important for property owners to be savvy when it comes to saving money where possible, on utilities, maintenance and importantly, insurance premiums. Below, we have listed a few helpful tips on how you could reduce your insurance premiums.

Below are some common mistakes that could be avoided when it comes to buying an unoccupied property:

General security

Unoccupied properties are more likely to experience theft, criminal damage, or arson because of the lack of human presence within the property. But by taking extra security precautions, property owners could minimize the risks of human interference and damage to the property, that could help reduce insurance premiums.

  • Secure all access points such as doors, windows, and skylights, by installing British standard locks, window bars, security panelling or fencing.
  • Install fire alarms at key points of the property.
  • Install CCTV cameras and alarm systems that can be accessed remotely, so owners can monitor the property in real time.
  • Flood lights that are directed at access points and blind spots are a great deterrent, as criminals prefer to hide in the dark.
  • Try to limit the amount of time your unoccupied property sits empty and unchecked. By visiting the property at regular yet random intervals, criminals could be put off by the human activity.
  • Inform your neighbours, Neighbourhood Watch or even the police that the property is going to be unoccupied for a period of time. Your neighbours might be able to spot any potential signs of unwanted activity at the property.

Environmental factors

Although environmental factors cannot be controlled, property owners can manage how elements such as wind, rain, frost, and heat could affect a property. Taking additional measures to reduce the risks these elements could have on your property, could help prevent any claims or premium price hikes.

  • Maintaining the condition of the property’s roof could prevent rain and excess water from dripping through rotten batons, damaged or rotten roof underlay and broken tiles.
  • Check the quality of guttering, fascia boards, soffits, and bargeboards to ensure they are not blocked with debris, are rotten or need replacing.
  • Clear out gutters and drains during the dryer months in preparation for wetter weather. If you have low hanging trees by your property, you may have to clear the gutters and drains during autumn as falling leaves can cause serious blockages and water build-up.
  • Exposed pipes (especially external pipes) are prone to freezing and can rupture when the temperature drops below freezing, which can cause water pressure to build up between the ice blockage and the faucet.
  • If you have any trees or large shrubs near the property, try to cut any low hanging, rotten or overgrown branches that could cause damage if they fall.

Other factors

  • Other factors including turning off your water, electric or gas if the property is going to sit vacant for a long period of time, could reduce the risk of flooding or electrical fires.
  • Review your policy on a regular basis to be sure you are meeting all the policy requirements, and that the cover is also providing you with the best protection possible.
  • By increasing your excess to an amount, you would feel comfortable paying upfront, could significantly reduce the price of the policy.
  • It can often seem more convenient to stay with your current insurance provider when your policy is up for renewal, however by shopping around for an insurance policy or for a renewal, could save you money.
  • Avoid over insuring if possible. It might sound odd, but you want to be as accurate as possible when insuring your unoccupied property. If the utilities in the property have been turned off or removed, then it might not be worth insuring against burst pipes or for electrical fires.
  • Paying annually is usually better value for money than paying monthly. If possible, pay for insurance premiums up front to save on cost.

With many specialist unoccupied property insurance policies, property owners will have to abide by some of the requirements of the policy, if not, the cover and any claims made could be void. However, by following these helpful tips and taking extra measures, it could save you money in the long run.

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