We are finally seeing the finish-line of what is hopefully the final lockdown and the end of all the restrictions we’ve been living under for the past year. Unfortunately we’ve still got another few months of restrictions with a number of businesses unable to trade or working remotely leaving their business premises unoccupied for longer periods.
The occupancy of a property is a material fact in insurance which must be declared to your insurers. It is essential that your insurer is kept informed if your property becomes unoccupied. Most insurers are allowing more leniency than normal due to the pandemic and will allow for at least 30 days unoccupancy before applying any additional conditions, however it is vital that insurers are notified as soon as practicable of any changes in occupancy.
Most insurers have their own unoccupied property conditions that will be applied when a property is unoccupied for a certain length of time. These do vary by insurer and we can discuss the conditions with your insurer if you are struggling to comply with certain aspects. The conditions will often include the following precautions:
- Existing premises security protections and alarm to be activated
- Carrying out internal and external inspections every week
- Repairing any issues detected in the inspections (e.g. removing graffiti) as soon as possible
- Keeping a log of the weekly inspections
- Where possible turn off electricity and water at the mains
- Removing all waste and gas bottles from the premises – either within or outside the premises
If you have not notified your broker that your property is unoccupied or are unsure of any additional conditions that may apply, please contact your insurance broker and who will be able to advise you accordingly.
By Kate Bacon ACII – Chartered Insurance Broker & Commercial Account Handler