Unoccupied Property Insurance for Probate
When an individual has died, an executor or administrator has the responsibility for collecting together the deceased’s assets and distributing them.
A key asset is any property that the deceased owned. Any existing property insurance is unlikely to be of use because of:
- The death of the policyholder and
- The fact that such properties are often left unoccupied for an extensive period renders standard home insurance invalid.
It is the responsibility of the executor/administrator to protect the deceased’s assets and they must put in place appropriate probate house insurance. This needs to be a specialist cover, often referred to as Unoccupied House Insurance, Unoccupied Home Insurance or Unoccupied Property Insurance.
Unoccupied Probate House Insurance Product Features
Under the specialist LawSure Unoccupied House (Unoccupied Home) Insurance there are a number of special features:
- No inspection is needed for unoccupied property insurance.
- Houses are automatically insured for a rebuilding cost of up to £1m (with higher sums available on request) and basic contents of up to £10,000 (again, increasable on request.) and as sometimes it is difficult to know the precise construction date of the property, an estimate is all that’s required.
- The unoccupied house insurance application process is incredibly simple. This can be completed by the executor/administrator without needing to know the precise history of the house.
Our unoccupied home insurance application form takes less than two minutes to complete and terms are usually confirmed within an hour or so, providing fast Unoccupied property insurance.
Unoccupied house insurance can be arranged for three months, six months, nine months or twelve months and is typically arranged on a flexible basis either for a three-month period at a time or for an initial period of twelve months with a refund in the event that the property is sold sooner.
Why is Empty Property a Specific Insurance Risk?
The short answer is that empty buildings represent a higher risk and taking out Unoccupied Home Insurance, financially protects you against this risk. No one being around makes them more susceptible to break-ins and vandalism, and if a fire or flood strikes it can go undetected for longer and the ensuing damage can be much worse and costlier to put right. For those reasons, an Unoccupied House Insurance policy is typically needed.
What is Unoccupied Property Probate Insurance?
Frequently, when a person dies and someone is dealing with the Administration of the Estate (often called Probate) a house or other property can be left unoccupied for an extended period. Most house insurance policies (buildings and contents) state that if a property is left vacant for more than a set period of time – anywhere from 30 to 90 days depending on the policy – then cover will be reduced or even withdrawn. Even within that period, there are likely to be restrictive terms and conditions. For those reasons, it is usually necessary to take out an Unoccupied House (Unoccupied Home) Insurance policy.
In what Circumstances is Cover Required?
Unoccupied home insurance is typically needed where a property forms a part of a deceased’s Estate. It is the responsibility of the Executor or administrator of the Estate to protect the assets and arrange appropriate unoccupied house insurance.
What are the best tips when leaving a property empty?
If a house has to be left empty for a while, whilst awaiting a probate sale, there are a number of simple things that can be done to make sure that the property is protected. In addition to unoccupied property insurance, the following should also be considered:
First, ensure that the home is secured against intruders. Strong locks should be fitted to all doors and windows, any open windows or skylights should be closed, and external gates should be closed securely and an alarm system fitted if possible. A security light could also be considered. Your unoccupied home insurance premium may be considerably reduced if all these measures are in place.
Secondly, utilities should be checked to ensure that they do not run out and potentially leak and cause damage. With a central heating system, the boiler should be switched off and drained of water. All taps should be turned off, as well as any unmetered supplies such as outdoor taps or sprinkler systems. All toilets should be flushed and the washing machine filled with water if possible. All electric gates should be switched off, or at least set to close when the property is unoccupied.
Finally, any bins should be emptied so they don’t overflow while the property is vacant. The fridge should be emptied and kitchen surfaces wiped to ensure they don’t smell.