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Unoccupied home insurance

Unoccupied home insurance covers your property if it's left empty for more than 30 days.

We don’t compare specialist unoccupied home insurance policies which offer long-term cover for empty properties.

But, a standard home insurance policy usually offers some level of cover if your home is unoccupied for a short time.

How long you can leave your home unoccupied varies between standard home insurance policies, so check the details carefully when comparing quotes. Dedicated policies for unoccupied homes can cover your property for up to:

  • 3 months
  • 6 months
  • 9 months
  • 1 year
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What insurance is available?

Most standard home insurance policies cover properties on an annual basis but state that it must not be unoccupied for 30 days or more. Some policies set the limit at 60 days, but there are insurers who offer cover for even longer.

If you have a property that's going to be unoccupied for over 30 days it's worth considering a specialist unoccupied home insurance policy. You might need this type of policy if:

  • You've inherited a house after someone has died and you’re waiting for probate
  • You're going into long-term care
  • You've bought a new house and you're waiting to sell the old one
  • You want to insure an unoccupied house that’s currently for sale
  • You’ve moved in with a partner and haven’t sold or rented your house
  • You're going on a long holiday or you're spending some time abroad
  • You own a holiday home and it's the off-season

If you're a landlord and you’re between tenants, landlord insurance should be able to cover an empty property for up to 3 months. Depending on your insurer, you may need to add empty property insurance as an extra to your policy. So, it's worth checking this before assuming you're already covered.

What does unoccupied house insurance cover?

Unoccupied home insurance usually covers your home against damage from:


What’s covered


Some policies also cover:

  • Legal expenses: This could be useful if you have to start legal proceedings to evict squatters.
  • Public liability: This covers you if a tree branch falls from your property and damages a car in the street below, for example.

What does unoccupied house insurance not cover?

Home insurance policies tend to exclude cover for:

  • Unforced entry or burglary: If the windows or doors aren't secure, any theft or damage claims might be turned down.
  • Damage caused by poor maintenance: For example if your roof leaks because it hasn’t been maintained properly, causing water damage.
  • Damage caused by contractors: They should have their own insurance to cover this.
  • Damage from renovations or extensions to the property, unless you’ve told your insurer building work is happening and they’re happy to cover it.

How long can a house be unoccupied for?

How long a house can be unoccupied depends on the type of insurance you have and the exact terms of your policy.

When you get a quote you can select the amount of days your home will be unoccupied for. Most insurers offer cover for unoccupied homes between 30 - 60 days. If you want cover for more than 60 days, you'll find fewer insurers who are willing to cover you. You can still find cover, but your options are more limited.

You might be able to extend your cover if you're unexpectedly away from your empty house for longer than the time stated in your policy. Speak to your insurer to find out if this is possible.

It's best to try and accurately calculate how long you may be away from the home, so you can get the cover you need rather than under- or over-insuring your property.

How much does unoccupied house insurance cost?

The average cost of home insurance for an unoccupied property is:

Length of time property will be unoccupied Average annual cost of home insurance*
Up to 30 days
30-60 days £184
60+ days £240

The cost of home insurance for unoccupied properties depends on the following factors:

  • The length of time your house is empty for
  • The date when someone will be living in the house again: This is important for getting an accurate quote. If you don’t know exactly when the house will be occupied, you might be better off with specialist unoccupied home insurance.
  • Your address
  • The value and condition of your house
  • The level of home security at the unoccupied home
  • The level of cover you’ve chosen: The more comprehensive the policy the more expensive it could be.
  • Your claims history

*Confused.com data Jan 2023 - June 2023 for buildings and contents insurance.

What if I fail to tell my insurance provider that my house is empty?

You may invalidate your cover if you keep your standard home insurance in place but your property is empty for longer than the policy allows.

This means if you need to make a claim, you may be rejected because you've broken the terms of the policy. For this reason, you should always let your insurer know if your house will be unoccupied for longer than the amount of time set out in the policy details.

What our home insurance expert says:

"It’s important to be as accurate as you can when getting a quote for unoccupied home insurance. The length of time the property will be unoccupied for can affect your costs, as does the date the property will be occupied from.

If you’re unsure about any of this, don’t guess. Your quote won’t be accurate and you may not have the cover you need for your unoccupied home. Instead, you may need to get quotes from providers who can offer dedicated unoccupied house insurance."

Matthew Harwood, Home & lifestyle insurance expert at Confused.com
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