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Unoccupied houses 'risk to insurance policies'

30 January 2006
Each year more than half a million British homes are left unoccupied for long periods of time and homeowners are unaware of the risks that this could pose to their home insurance policies, according to new research.

Around 561,000 property owners leave their houses unoccupied for more than 30 consecutive days every year and half of these homeowners are oblivious to the fact that doing so might invalidate many potential claims, such as for theft, vandalism and water damage.

Halifax Home Insurance claims that 47 per cent of insurance policies will have a restriction on the cover offered if the policyholder leaves their property unattended for a month.

Vicky Emmott, senior underwriting manager at Halifax Home Insurance, said: "Halifax recommends that any householder anticipating leaving their home unoccupied for a significant period of time carefully review the terms of their policy.

"Furthermore, homes are increasingly vulnerable when left unoccupied so householders should take sensible steps – such as putting lights onto a timer switch – to make the property look lived in and minimise the risks they face."

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