Unoccupied property insurance fills the gap left by other policies that cannot cover a property being left empty for a prolonged period of time. In most cases, this time period is 30 days or longer.

There are a number of situations whereby a property owner might need this type of policy, they include:

• A property standing empty between lets
• A property undergoing renovation or refurbishment
• A property in probate
• A property for sale, where the owner has already moved
• Properties belonging to elderly or unwell owners who have gone into hospital or care

There are a number of issues to be aware of when taking out this type of policy. Be sure to tell your insurer if the property is under refurbishment, since some unoccupied property insurance policies will not cover properties that are boarded up or are technically building sites. Most policies require that doors and windows have five lever mortise locks fitted to optimise security. You should also be aware that any damage caused by contractors may well be excluded, since those businesses should have their owner insurance.

Additionally, during winter months your insurance provider is likely to expect that water and heating systems are fully drained - particularly over winter months.

Another key issue is contents insurance: most insurance products will require an add-on policy. One way to avoid this is to remove valuable items from the property while it is vacant.