At a glance
  • Escape of water, storm and theft are the three biggest risks facing your home
  • Not only is there the cost of your excess to consider, there is the upheaval of having the work completed to rectify the damage.
13th February 2017

Leaving your home unoccupied

Leaving our homes unattended can always leave us feeling slightly uneasy. We’ve all suffered from that ‘have I locked the door’ feeling just as you check in at the airport, or worried about our home being empty whilst undergoing works. Thankfully, insurance is there for those unfortunate eventualities in life, but there are a number of ways you can prevent a claim on your household insurance.

One thing to bear in mind is that the word ‘unoccupied’ has a different meaning for insurers than it does for you and me. Your policy wording will have a definition for ‘unoccupied’ and details of how the scope of cover might change if the property is unattended for a long period of time, so this is always worth checking.

There are some key risks that your property faces when you are not there:

Escape of water

This is one of the most common and most costly causes of household claims. Imagine if a pipe bursts when you are home, this may cause several thousand pounds worth of damage to floors, ceilings and contents but if this happens when the property is unattended, water can be pouring out for weeks, causing extensive damage to your home. Not only is there the cost of your excess to consider, there is the upheaval of having the work completed to rectify the damage. Simply turning your water off at the stopcock (normally under the kitchen sink) and running the taps to drain the system is a simple way of avoiding this kind of damage whilst you’re away from the property. If, however this is not feasible, it is worth making sure the property is heated to a minimum of 13 degrees Celsius to avoid any frozen and burst pipes.


Damage resulting from storm is inconvenient at the best of times; however the extent of the damage is far greater if this can not be mitigated quickly if you are not there. Making sure the home is wind and weather tight does not need to be difficult. Simply keeping an eye on the consistency of the pointing between brickwork or stone work, and having a look at the chimney or roof tiles will show any areas that could require attention. There might be something that you have walked past every day but not noticed before.

Last year, the largest household claim was for an aggravated burglary for £468,711.

Theft / malicious damage

The simplest way of keeping your home safe is to make it look as though someone is in. Lights on timers, a car parked on the driveway, or someone visiting the house are all good ways to give the appearance of someone being there, and any opportunists are more likely to move on to another house that looks less occupied.

The below case study is a great example of the services we can offer and how we do all we can do to protect your home.

An older couple had been burgled twice but still wanted to remain in their home even though they were worried it would happen again. So they approached us for advice and we suggested a number of precautions they could take.

We advised them to erect attractive wooden security fencing with anti-climb paint, get a Master Locksmith to reinforce their rear doors and windows and also to fit a GSM alarm system with panic buttons linked to the police.

We also provided them with the contact details of a confidential fitting service that installed a cost-effective, insurance-approved safe.

Many people say that making a claim is the ultimate test for a policy, but we like to make sure that clients have the advice available to make it so they will not need to make one. What is important is keeping a client's home and dearest possessions safe.

If you need to make a claim, rest assured you will have the advice and support of our dedicated and experienced claims team.