UK second home insurance

I imagine that many SFers will still have property in UK. Do you encounter issures with insuring a house that is empty for prolonged periods? I am currently buyi:ng a house in England, and due to travel restrictions, it is likely to remain empty (and unfurnished) following completion. And some insurers apparently won’t even touch non-UK residents. Another has just withdrawn their quotation, and assigned me to another member of their group “due to Brexit”.
Is this a common situation?
Orry la Ville

Hello Dave. I sold my house last year so don’t know about “Brexit” changes, although I can’t really see that there should be any… Anyway, it was empty for a long time since I was trying to sell it. I insured through the Nationwide and they were fine provided that there were appropriate locks and that someone was checking on it regularly. They wanted window locks, which I didn’t have, but insured me anyway.

As I haven’t moved in, I haven’t made any friends yet :frowning: so nobody to ask to check…

That’s tricky! Worth asking different insurers though as they do seem to vary in what is acceptable. I certainly found Nationwide to be very accommodating and wonder whether Building Societies may view things differently from other people?

Yes, we used to have problems. I solved it by getting a weekday lodger who was just there mon to fri. Lodgers have no rights, so you can ask them to leave with a few weeks notice. Suited us, and him, perfectly.

Perhaps get a local letting agent (or the estate agent you are buying through - most seem to do lettings as well these days) to do a check weekly or whatever the insurance company requires - I am sure it would not cost a fortune and will give you peace of mind until you can get there and make other arrangements.


When my daughter trolled off to heal the sick in Oz I sold the family home and bought an apartment. Theoretically it shouldn’t be empty for more that six weeks at a time but I’m not too worried. IMO they can’t prove when you last visited or a relation or friend stayed. Just more of the insurance industry’s “take the premium and run” T&Cs.

Depends on the size of the claim…insurance companies are very quick to reject claims and leave it to you to prove the case. For example utility bills that show consumption…

Good point. I may leave the heating ticking over from now on.

Do the wonderful British Police still provide a service?
IIRC it was the case that you inform your local nick that the property is empty and they will make occasional visits at different times of the day…

unfortunately not an option for me unless he was a camper. The house is unfurnished.

Yes Peter, I had the same thought. but when I asked the broker what “the insurance company requires” he couldn’t gove me an answer - it depends on the insurance company, policy… But not a bad idea anyway, as you say would give peace of mind…

Though according to my broker, water damage in an unattended property is what the insurers fear the most. He said that a possibility might be to insure with that risk excluded - in which case I would definitely cut off the water - so no heating ticking over!

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Interesting thought. The house is in the same road as the “Cop Shop”!
This is something I will look into irrespective of the insurance situation. Thanks.

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I had similar issue in an empty property - my fathers after he passed away. For the spring / summer we drained down the water system/tanks and turned the heating off so the possibility of leak was minimised.

Another good point. I’ve had a couple of catastrophic burst pipes in my time. It’s amazing how much damage an inch long split can do over a couple of days.