Most Common Causes of Unoccupied Property Insurance Claims

 In Probate

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There are a number of issues that could lead to financial difficulties for a property owner, which is why finding suitable insurance can prove vital. We might not be able to predict the future, but we can learn from the history of Vasek’s Unoccupied Direct Property Insurance. Our product launched in February 2017, so I looked at claims data from then to September 2021.

From this information, I found the top 5 most common causes of damage that led to a claim:

  1. Escape of water
  2. Storm
  3. Theft
  4. Accidental damage
  5. Malicious damage

It’s worth noting that these are issues that a standard home insurance policy might not typically cover if the property is empty for over 30 days. This highlights the importance of having suitable cover in place.

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I shared these findings on LinkedIn recently, but before revealing the top five, I conducted a short poll to see what some of my connections thought the results would be. 70% said escape of water, 20% said accidental damage, and 10% went with fire2. I was pleased to see that the majority answered correctly, as it’s important to know the potential risks an empty home might be exposed to, especially during the colder months.

At this time of year, frozen pipes can be an issue. If a property left unoccupied over winter has not been drained down, it might be costly. Any remaining water may freeze, causing the pipes to expand and crack. The burst pipe might then cause damage once thawed. Our policy has a water drain down/heating clause specifying requirements to help reduce the risk of such damage.

As well as the most common causes of damage, I also looked at the data for the most costly claims. Although only 1.7% of our claims were for damage caused by flooding, this had the highest average cost per claim, at just over £27,600. In comparison, although being the most common cause of a claim, escape of water cost on average less than half that amount, at just under £11,500.

Overall, the least costly insured event was collision with the property by aircraft, animals, or vehicles, which resulted in an average of £350.

unoccupied claims

To conclude my review of the claims data for our Unoccupied Direct Property Insurance, this is my summary:

  • Draining down an empty property can be worthwhile, as over a quarter of our claims have been for escape of water.
  • The most expensive cause of damage was flooding, which stresses the need for a suitable policy that provides flood cover for an unoccupied property.
  • Finding cover suitable for the risks that an empty home might be exposed to can help reduce the likelihood of a rejected claim. For example, a standard home insurance policy may not provide the same level of cover if no one is living in the house.
  • It can also be worth confirming the current level of cover with the existing insurance provider and comparing it with other products, helping you make an informed decision.

If you would like to know more about Vasek Insurance’s Unoccupied Direct Property Insurance for homes that are empty due to probate or the owner moving into care, please get in touch. You can email me at wayne.shinn@vasek.co.uk or call me on 07833446070.

The opinions and views expressed in the above article are those of the author only and are for guidance purposes only. The author disclaims any liability for reliance upon those opinions and would encourage readers to rely upon more than one source before making a decision based on the information.

  1. Data collected between February 2017 and September 2021 of which made up; 26.7% Escape of water, 18.3% Storm, 12.8% Theft, 10.6% Accidental damage, and 9.4% Malicious damage.
  2. LinkedIn poll ran for 1 day on 19th January 2022 with 10 respondents.

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