Unoccupied Property During Lockdown

How To Protect Your Business While You're Away From It


The Coronavirus has taken the world by storm. It's forced millions of people to remain at home and thousands of businesses to change their working practises by moving to remote working or simply shutting up shop.

An unexpected and unwelcome side-effect of the crisis has been the sharp rise in the number of business owners who have suddenly been left with unoccupied properties. From pubs to salons, offices to shops, a huge number of usually busy premises have been left empty, leaving their owners with the additional headache of wondering whether they have insurance cover in place. Most business policies, you see, assume that the premises will be occupied for the vast majority of the time.

If this is a problem you're facing, then Coversure's quick guide to unoccupied property can help. In it you'll find some cover advice and some helpful tips on keeping your business safe during your enforced absence.

We hope this is of use, but if you'd like some independent insurance advice regarding your business, then please contact your local Coversure office.

Unoccupied Property: Are You Covered?

Most property insurance policies include a clause that if a property – be it business premises or a residential dwelling – is left vacant for longer than a specified length of time, then it will not be covered unless an unoccupied property option is included.

The length of time that has to pass before its deemed to be unoccupied varies from policy to policy, but it can be as little as 30 days. Since the Coronavirus outbreak and the enforced lockdown, some insurers have extended the vacancy limit to 45 or even 60 days, but it's important that you know where you stand so you can make the appropriate arrangements.

Another issue is whether the tools of your trade are covered for working from home? Computers and other standard office kit may be covered while you are at your normal place of business not when you're working away. If you are in any doubt, then please contact your local Coversure office and they'll be happy to help.

Five Top Tips For Protecting An Unoccupied Property

Having premises laying vacant is a worry – even if you have cover in place - so there are some steps that you can take to keep them safe while you're away:

  1. Turn off electricity, gas and water supplies at the mains and drain down all water systems. Leave sprinklers and any other fire suppression systems in operation and, should this drag on into the autumn, make sure your heating comes on to prevent burst pipes
  2. Ensure burglar and security lights are working and switched on
  3. Lock all doors and windows, put grills down and see that stock and tools are stored away
  4. Empty bins and see that any combustible material – paper, packaging, rubbish – is either stored away or removed from the premises
  5. Try and inspect your premises inside and out once a week. Obviously, only do this if it's safe and you can maintain social distancing and try to keep a record of each visit; the time, date etc.

Unoccupied Property Insurance

If the lockdown continues for a prolonged period, then you may need to take out unoccupied insurance cover. This is a Coversure specialism and we can offer you affordable, flexible short or long-term cover to suit your needs. If you would like to know more, then contact your local Coversure office.

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