Is my unoccupied property still covered?
If your property is empty, vacant, or unoccupied you are not required to disclose this to initio – however there are some conditions which apply. Unless we have agreed otherwise, our standard conditions outlined below apply to your policy.
If your rental property is untenanted for a period of more than 60 consecutive days, cover remains in place however a $5,000 excess applies to any claims that occur during this time.
If the loss is from a break-in and the home is fitted with an active, professionally-installed alarm or security system, then a $1,000 excess applies. Home owners are encouraged to fit their houses with security systems so that they are rewarded with lower excesses during times of unoccupancy.
Your policy remains unchanged for the first 60 consecutive days that your property is vacant. And after 60 days all cover still remains the same, but the higher excess applies.
Remember that is 60 consecutive days (approx. two months), and once someone lives in the property the clock resets. If after 60 days the property becomes occupied the policy automatically resets and your normal selected excess applies.
Owner Occupied Property
Like a rental property our own home policy remains unchanged for the first 60 days of the home being unoccupied. The changes to the policy after 60 days are a little different.
If no one has been living at your home for more than 60 consecutive days, we will only pay for loss that is:
- Caused by fire, explosion, or lightning, or
- Loss caused by a natural disaster.
This means if you leave your property unoccupied for over 60 days, you are still covered for natural disasters like an earthquake, but theft or vandalism of the home is not covered.
If you contact us beforehand and explain your situation we may agree to continue cover on our standard terms. It may be that you are going overseas for three months and you have arranged for your neighbour to check the mail and house regularly. If you are away from your own home for more than 60 days; and are worried about the changes to your policy, please get in contact.
You can leave your holiday home or bach empty for more than 60 consecutive days and the cover/excess will remain standard, so long as you meet the following criteria:
- The home is inspected inside and outside by you or a nominated person at least every 60 days.
- The home and its grounds are adequately maintained.
- Any mail is cleared regularly (although holiday homes don’t usually have mail boxes)
- The water supply is turned off.
- All doors are locked and all windows are secured.
If the house is unoccupied for more than 60 consecutive days and you do not meet the above requirements, cover remains the same but an additional excess applies:
- An excess of $5,000 applies to each incident, or
- If loss results from a break-in or attempted break-in at the home while it is fitted with an active, professionally-installed alarm or security system, then an excess of $1,000 applies.
We are more lenient on holiday homes when it comes to un-occupancy as we know that these are properties that are used intermittently but you, your family or paying guests.
This guide is intended to be a quick reference to vacant homes. Please refer to the relevant policy wordings located on the product pages for full details of the policy coverage.