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lurker

Le dullard de la commune
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I am about to complete on a house purchase.
We will then spend around six months modifying and reconfiguring. During this time the property will be technically unoccupied.

Can anyone recommend a house and contents insurance.
Most bog standard sellers require the property to be occupied.

I am hoping that there are a few people here who have done this.
 

Richard_C

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Similar situation a few years back, found NFU helpful. Look up their local office and give a real person a call.

There were some rules, htg drained down and visits but not onerous. Words like temporarily unoccupied help, not "empty".

Might have changed by now of course.

Most standard policies allow 30 days continuous absence for holidays so I guess you could take a camp bed every 4 weeks but seems risky.
 

banjerbill

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Can't suggest an insurance company but make sure you get the right cover. I did some work in a property and a kitchen fitter with no liability insurance left a crumpled oil rag on the worktop causing a fire which gutted the kitchen. The homeowner, who was insured , did not know about the 30 day occupancy clause and when asked admitted leaving it for longer. Cost them £30,000.
Bill
 

Blackswanwood

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We used a broker who I think were bought out by Towergate when we were renovating a few years ago. Hiscox also do this type of cover and have a very good reputation.
 

AJB Temple

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I have done numerous renovations where the property has been vacant but worked on for long periods. Both domestically and commercially.

I always found NFU expensive. I have used Hiscox years ago and they are good - but aimed at high value market - but for the past 10 years or so have used a broker (Bridle) who have been excellent at getting the cover I want. We presently use Stirling for buildings and contents insurance and as long as you give full disclosure they will allow extended absence periods. However, you may well need suitable security (depending on value).

In my experience a good relationship with a broker will help a lot if you have a claim. Make really sure that you understand all exclusions and be very clear about what is not covered (often things like damage to fences, damage caused by contractor carelessness or lack of supervision, etc).

If you allow unsupervised contractors on site, make sure that they have proper insurance (get them to give you a copy of their certificate) and make sure you have PLI (accidents with site visitors, deliveries etc).

Cloud based CCTV is cheap and a good idea on development properties. Just saying.
 

Rorschach

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What do they consider occupied?

A friend has a house that is not being lived in (he should have sold it years ago, long story). The insurance there states it must be occupied one night in 60 to keep the insurance valid so he stays a night every 6 weeks or so.

If yours is similar it wouldn't be to onerous a task to sleep there one night every 2 months would it? If your works take 6 months that is only 2-3 nights in total.
 

lurker

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Thanks for all the advice, just for anyone who is in the same position:

Hiscox, NFU etc doesn’t do these anymore.
We are off to see a broker on Monday.
Not used one for donkeys years!
 

lurker

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I am planning to do much of the work myself, but with trusted tradesmen.
So I will be on site most days, plus I have a friend Who lives about ten doors away.
 

RogerS

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lurker":2z0s1uje said:
....
Most bog standard sellers require the property to be occupied.

...
Are you sure about that ? When we were renovating our house and living elsewhere we insured via Lloyds..about as bog standard as you can get. The small print says 'Unoccupied for more than 30 days at a time' or some such legalese. Bought a cheap folding foam mattress. Had a sleeping bag already. Set a date in the diary. Go to the pub. Eat a hearty meal. Loads of beer. Plastic sheet on the floor. Mattress on top. Took a selfie holding that days newspaper just in case they quibbled.

Job done. Reset diary for 29 days hence.
 

lurker

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RogerS":2e61ohmm said:
PS Plan for the work to take a lot longer than you planned.

A LOT longer ....DAMHIKT :(
We have given ourselves a target of six months, but if it is longer it doesn’t matter too much.
 

stuartpaul

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RogerS":2je2rtwp said:
..... Loads of beer. Plastic sheet on the floor. .......
Those connected? :D

If you're going to be there most days working on it then is it 'unoccupied' or does the occupation need to cover night time as well?
 

lurker

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Thanks
Been to the broker, got insurance that is maybe a bit ott but covers all potential issues.
It did cost £500 but we are paying monthly and can cancel at any time, so I can cancel it two months before we move in ( ie after big changes are done) and use the 30 day unoccupied provision on a bog standard replacement.

My pet plumber just needs Huge amounts of tea and hobnobs.
The electrician just needs to sign everything off ,so he won’t be there long.
My plasterer always refuses any kind of refreshment as does the decorator.

These are all folks who I have worked with before on my sons houses.
Just need a bricky now.

Exchange tomorrow and complete next Tuesday!
 

Rorschach

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stuartpaul":2v5cmyk4 said:
RogerS":2v5cmyk4 said:
..... Loads of beer. Plastic sheet on the floor. .......
Those connected? :D

If you're going to be there most days working on it then is it 'unoccupied' or does the occupation need to cover night time as well?
From what I was told, occupation only covers night time. Doesn't matter what you are doing during the day, if you are away at night it classes as unoccupied.
 

Rorschach

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Inspector":1psbayvm said:
So working all night, like mudding drywall or painting, qualifies as occupied? (hammer) :wink:

Pete
I guess it doesn't matter what you are doing as long as you are there.
 

Blackswanwood

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Having been part of a panel that considered suspicious claims for one of the big insurers I would counsel against doing anything other than being open with the insurer on anything like this (as the OP has done). Pushing the interpretation of occupied and unoccupied risks a claim not being paid.

My view if presented with a claim for someone who didn’t live in a property but attended it to carry out renovation work at night would be that it’s unoccupied based on the policy wording for the company I was working for. I would have been happy to decline the claim and for the customer to take us to the Ombudsman and Court if they disagreed. Other companies will have their own wordings but fundamentally a property not being lived in and renovated presents a different risk to a house being lived in.
 

Rorschach

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Blackswanwood":1qq1ay87 said:
Having been part of a panel that considered suspicious claims for one of the big insurers I would counsel against doing anything other than being open with the insurer on anything like this (as the OP has done). Pushing the interpretation of occupied and unoccupied risks a claim not being paid.

My view if presented with a claim for someone who didn’t live in a property but attended it to carry out renovation work at night would be that it’s unoccupied based on the policy wording for the company I was working for. I would have been happy to decline the claim and for the customer to take us to the Ombudsman and Court if they disagreed. Other companies will have their own wordings but fundamentally a property not being lived in and renovated presents a different risk to a house being lived in.
As you say, it all depends on the wording and you should certainly check with your insurer.

Out of interest, what is the wording of the company you worked for?
 
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