Unoccupied property insurance

If you are a solicitor acting on behalf of your client who owns the property, please call us on 0800 316 9842

our cover

Specialist cover for unoccupied properties

Unoccupied property insurance

We've been insuring unoccupied properties for over 20 years.

Many standard household policies restrict cover or even automatically cease cover when a property becomes unoccupied. Guardcover's solution is wholly focused on insuring empty properties and in most cases offering a product without unnecessary terms to comply with.

Unoccupied and probate insurance for solicitors

We work alongside hundreds of solicitors firms each year, insuring residential and commercial properties for them and their clients.

Your unoccupied property quote

Unoccupied Property

Our unoccupied property insurance caters for most types of property, whether it's a private house or flat, small commercial property, or even if it's just land you need to insure.

Residential property owner, landlord, executor or power of attorney - if you have responsibility for an unoccupied residential property that needs insuring, then you can request a quote here.

Solicitor / Acting on behalf of a client - if you have an unoccupied commercial property or you are looking to insure any type of property on behalf of a client, then call on: 0800 316 9842

Specifically tailored

Specifically tailored to insure unoccupied properties

If a property you are responsible for is left unoccupied for more than 30 days, whether it's a gap in tenancy, being renovated, in probate or intestate, or even going through the conveyancing process, it's likely that cover may be restricted on a standard home insurance policy.

Trying to find insurance cover for an unoccupied property can be a minefield of restrictive covers and a list of terms and conditions that you must undertake. Some insurers put in place stringent terms (“Unoccupied Building Conditions”) which must be enforced before they will provide cover. For example, draining down the water systems, switching off the utilities, weekly documented visits, installing certain locks, sealing up letterboxes, etc. Failure to comply could lead to a claim being turned down.

For most standard-construction properties that have been unoccupied for less than 12 months, and are under £500k in rebuild value, you can choose which, if any, conditions you want to include. This is why our cover for properties that have been unoccupied for less than 12 months is possibly the most flexible solution available.

what's included

We can cover damage to your insured property caused by:

  • Accidental damage and malicious damage

    Essential protection for your property

    Our wide-ranging cover goes beyond some of the standard ‘unoccupied property’ policies. Taken a fall through your ceiling? Or discovered that your property has been singled out and damaged? Our cover will help.
  • Theft and attempted theft

    What does theft and attempted theft insurance cover?

    Empty properties can sometimes attract the wrong attention, which is why our buildings cover includes damage caused by break-ins or attempted break-ins. You can also include our contents cover if you have specific items that are being left in the home. Security requirements apply.
  • £5million property owners' liability

    £2million if insuring land only

    If someone is on your property and they injure themselves or damage property belonging to them, then there is the potential that they could hold you liable. If that happens, our liability cover will help cover court costs and potential compensation.
  • Escape of water or oil

    Including water from a plumbing or heating system

    We understand that water damage can be extensive, especially in a home where there is no one regularly about. We automatically cover escape of water from any tank, apparatus, or pipe; or escape of fuel from any fixed oil heating installation.
  • Fallen trees

    Do you have a dangerous tree?

    If there has been one storm too many and a tree damages your property, our cover can help get your house fixed and back in to shape.
  • Storm, flood, fire and subsidence

    Protection against unforeseen events

    Our policy includes cover for times when the damage can be serious; which may result from the consequences of a storm, flood, fire, or incident of subsidence.

More benefits of our Unoccupied Property insurance

  • Damage to locks following theft, attempted theft or loss of keys

    Maximum £5,000 per claim and £15,000 per policy period

    We will pay for the cost of changing locks at your insured property if the keys are lost following a theft or attempted theft from your property or your home. This also includes digital access cards, safe keys, or safe combination access codes.
  • Tree felling or lopping

    Maximum £500 per claim (£2,500 in any one period)

    Worried about the potential damage that one of your trees might cause? We can cover the reasonable costs of lopping or removing trees, which you are responsible for, if they are at risk of injuring someone or damaging your property. Confirmation required by an approved, qualified person.
  • Fly-tipping

    Found unwanted rubbish at your property?

    If your unoccupied home has been picked out as the ‘local dumping ground’, we will cover the costs of clearing and removing any property illegally deposited in or around your insured premises. Up to £5,000 cover per period of insurance (policy does not cover the first £1,000 of any claim).
  • Finding the source of a leak

    Up to £5,000 per policy period

    Trying to find the source of a leak can often require professional help. We will pay reasonable costs required to locate the actual source of damage caused by the escape of water from any tank, apparatus or pipe, or leakage of fuel from any fixed oil heating installation.
  • Breakage of glass

    Includes boarding up costs.

    If you discover a broken window, our cover will include the costs of boarding up, if necessary, and replacement of the broken glass.
  • 24 hour helpline

    We're here to help

    24 hour, 365 days a year claims helpline, providing emergency assistance where needed.

Key features

With over 20 years' experience, we understand the needs of solicitors, homeowners, conveyancers and more. To ensure we cover a variety of eventualities we have spoken to our customers, partners, and solicitors to ensure we include features for a wide range of unoccupied property situations. We understand that every property is different, requiring its own specific policy.

Flexible policy terms

Cover that gives you flexibility with policy terms of 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months available.

No inspections

For most residential properties, recently unoccupied, you can choose cover to exclude regular, documented property visits.

Non-standard construction

We understand that properties come in all shapes and sizes, which is why cover is available for many non-standard construction types including most timber-framed, pre-fabricated, flat-roof and other building types.

Wide range of cover

Whilst other insurance policies can look to limit the cover available for your property at a time when you need the cover most, we provide a wide range of covers for your unoccupied property.

Variety of circumstances

We can cover most circumstances from properties going through probate, deputyship and power of attorney, to extended holidays and secondments and gaps in tenant residency.

Contents cover

Whilst unoccupied properties are at increased risk of vandalism, theft or access by squatters, we can still provide contents cover alongside your building cover.

Security discount

Our pricing for your unoccupied property insurance cover will automatically include a discount covering the different levels of security in operation at your property.

making a claim with unoccupied property

We've made making a claim so easy

Our easy-to-use claims process is listed below with some helpful information regarding what to do if you need to make a claim.

1. Call the police

If you’ve been the victim of theft or malicious damage, your first port of call should be to inform the police.

2. Contact our claims team

Contact our in-house UK team to make your claim.

You can call us on: 0333 004 1999 to get started, or alternatively, you can email us with details of your claim at:

3. Make your claim

We'll provide you with your claim reference and talk you through the next steps. Should we need any further information to help process your claim, we can explain what's needed and support you.

Frequently asked questions about Unoccupied Property insurance

Want to find out more about our insurance

If you’re wondering what our Unoccupied Property insurance includes, then we’ve answered a few questions here!

  • Our cover
  • General questions
  • Solicitors
  • What is unoccupied home insurance?

    Unoccupied home insurance covers you when your home is empty for more than 30 days in a row. It may be that there’s a gap in the tenancy, you’re working abroad, or the property is going through a probate or conveyancing process while waiting to be sold. Whatever the reason for the property being unoccupied, you could find that a standard home insurance policy doesn’t provide enough cover or has specific conditions imposed as a requirement of covering the empty home.

  • Do I need unoccupied house insurance?

    If you have a house or flat that’s empty for more than 30 days in a row, it’s worth considering taking out an unoccupied home insurance policy. An unoccupied house could be an easy target for thieves. What’s more, if the property is damaged by fire or water while there’s no one living there, this might not be covered under a standard home insurance policy. So, if you know your property is going to be empty for some time, it’s worth investigating unoccupied home insurance. Get a quote today

  • What does Guardcover’s unoccupied home insurance cover?

    We are able to provide a wide range of covers for your empty or unoccupied home that can include:

    • Accidental and malicious damage
    • Fire, storms and floods
    • Breakage of glass
    • Impact from falling trees
    • Theft and attempted theft
    • Escape of water or oil (including water from a plumbing or heating system)
    • Subsidence
    • Excesses, terms and conditions and full details are available in the policy documentation

    Unoccupied properties are at increased risk of vandalism, theft, or access by squatters. Get a quote today

  • What are some of the other key features of Guardcover Unoccupied Property insurance?

    Property owner’s liability

    Protects against your legal liability for bodily injury to third parties and damage to their property for incidents that occur at the insured property.


    Reasonable costs of clearing and removing property that has been illegally de-posited in or around your property. Up to a maximum of £5,000.

    Changing locks

    Following a theft, attempted theft or if you lose your keys. Up to a maximum of £5,000.

    Employer’s Liability

    Covers your legal liability for bodily injury to your employees up to a limit of indemnity of £10,000,000 including costs and expenses.

  • What’s the difference between a vacant and an unoccupied property?

    Vacant properties are those with no people or personal items in them. For example, an unfurnished house that’s normally rented but currently has no tenants.

    Unoccupied properties are those which have personal possessions in them, but where nobody has lived for 30 days in a row, or more. Your property could be unoccupied because you work away from home. Or, it’s a furnished flat that’s normally rented but currently has no tenants. It could also cover any property in probate that still has people living in it.

  • How long is an unoccupied property policy valid for?

    Standard home insurance policies generally cover a 12-month period. At Guardcover we know you might not need to insure your unoccupied property for as long as 12 months. That’s why we offer more flexible cover, with policy terms of 1, 3, 6, 9 or 12 months.

  • What is short-term unoccupied property insurance?

    Short term unoccupied home insurance allows you to take out cover that’s better suited to your needs. For example, we can provide unoccupied home insurance cover with policy terms of 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months.

  • Does it cost more to insure an empty house?

    Not necessarily, but there are greater risks with an unoccupied property, it may be more likely to be targeted by thieves, for example. That’s why it’s important to insure your unoccupied home, for however long the property will be unoccupied for.

  • Can I save money on an unoccupied home insurance?

    You may be able to make your premium cheaper by choosing a policy term of 1, 3, 6, 9 or 12 months. Plus, we can often offer a discount based on the level of security you have in place at the property. Contact us today to find out more

  • Does unoccupied property insurance include contents cover?

    Not all policies do. So, it’s important you do your research if you need to cover the contents and personal possessions in an empty house. Remember, unoccupied properties are at a greater risk of being damaged due to theft, fire, water or squatters. Guardcover can provide you with contents cover for your unoccupied property insurance to give you peace of mind. Get a quote today

  • How do I make an unoccupied property insurance claim with you?

    If you need to make a claim for your unoccupied property insurance, please call our claims line on: 0345 450 4993

    Lines are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In all cases, please quote your policy number. For both our protection, telephone calls may be recorded and/or monitored.

  • Is it a legal requirement to have unoccupied property insurance?

    No, you are not legally required to insure an unoccupied property. However, you may find that a standard home insurance policy does not cover you in the event you need to make a claim.

    Specialist unoccupied property insurance from Guardcover provides cover for property damage, employer’s liability and property owner’s liability.

  • Does standard home insurance cover my unoccupied home?

    It depends on how long your property is going to be empty for. Typically, if the property is going to be empty for longer than 30 days in a row, you will need a specialist unoccupied house policy. If you fail to tell your standard home insurance cover provider that the property is vacant, it may invalidate your cover meaning any future claims you make could be turned down.

  • Who should take out an unoccupied home insurance policy?

    Unoccupied property insurance is suitable for anyone who is responsible for an empty or vacant home. The property may be empty because:

    • You work abroad or away from your home
    • You have a vacant house that isn’t your main home, for example a second home
    • You have recently bought a new home and aren’t moving into it straight away
    • You’re in the process of selling your home, but have already moved out
    • You’re a landlord but don’t currently have a tenant in your property, so you want to ensure the property is protected
    • The empty house in question is in probate, whether someone is still living there or not
    • You, or the person who normally lives in the property, needs specialised care in a care home and so has to move out
  • What if I don’t let my insurance provider know that my home is unoccupied?

    If you have a standard home insurance policy, it’s really important you let your insurance provider know if your home is going be unoccupied for longer than the period covered by the policy.

    If you don’t, you could risk invalidating your insurance and having any future claims turned down. If your home is going to become unoccupied, it’s a good idea to consider taking out a specialist unoccupied home insurance policy.

  • Is water damage covered on empty properties?

    Yes, we can provide cover for escape of water from any tank, apparatus or pipe or escape of fuel from any fixed oil heating installation. If you have a leak in your empty home, we will also help cover the costs of finding and repairing it.

  • Do I need to switch off utilities to get an unoccupied property insurance policy?

    Some policies require you to drain down the water systems and switch off the utilities in your empty or vacant home. However, at Guardcover, we let you choose whether to include these conditions on your policy.

  • Is squatting in an unoccupied home illegal?

    Yes, squatting in a residential property was criminalised in September 2012 under Section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. The offence is punishable by 6 months in prison, a £5,000 fine or sometimes both. Guardcover can help you cover the legal cost of evicting squatters.

  • How can you protect your unoccupied home from squatters?

    You can reduce the risk of your unoccupied home being targeted by squatters. Make sure the property is well-secured by locking all doors and windows. Consider installing a security system or alarm, too. Not only will this help deter squatters, but it means we can offer you a discount on your policy.

  • What should I do if I find squatters in my empty home?

    You should immediately contact the Police, who can advise you if they can remove the squatters. If they are classed as squatters by the Police, you will have to serve them an eviction notice. Guardcover can help cover the legal costs of evicting squatters. Read more in our handy guide here

  • Can Guardcover help solicitors and their clients with unoccupied property insurance?

    We work with probate solicitors, deputies, attorneys, surveyors and anyone responsible for a property that is unoccupied. This could include a family member appointed to care for a relative who has moved out of their home and into a care home. Or, a person who is responsible for a home in probate.

  • How does unoccupied property insurance help solicitors?

    If a homeowner moves into residential care or passes away, someone else usually takes responsibility for the house. This could be a family member or a solicitor. Unoccupied property insurance policy from Guardcover is designed to give both solicitors and their clients, peace of mind that the property is protected.

  • Is unoccupied property insurance suitable for solicitors?

    Yes, Guardcover have been helping solicitors and their clients insuring unoccupied properties, or occupied properties in probate for over 20 years. Find out how we can help solicitors here.

Your policy document explorer

For customers incepted on, or after 24th February 2020, click below to access your policy wording. For customers incepted before 24th February, please contact us.