Looking for Unoccupied Commercial Property Insurance?
Unoccupied commercial property insurance covers the greater risk of vandalism, unchecked damages or unnoticed flooding that is associated with vacated properties.
It’s a sad fact, but empty commercial properties can be a bit of a headache when it comes to keeping them safe and in good condition for the next tenants. This quick guide explores the do’s and don’ts of insuring unoccupied commercial property.
Why pay for unoccupied commercial property insurance?
Unoccupied commercial properties tend to attract unwanted visitors who may not have the best intentions and can cause expensive damage to your property if left unchecked, which is why it’s a smart decision to invest in unoccupied commercial property insurance.
An unoccupied commercial property can be exposed to plenty of different inconvenient (and potentially costly) risks including:
Tips for managing an unoccupied commercial property
As a landlord you may already be aware of the increased costs that go alongside the dip in rental income for an unoccupied commercial property. The reality is that you might need to pay higher maintenance and security costs, as well as repairs to any damages that go unchecked, or clean up after nuisance vandals. This greater level of risk can mean that your monthly premiums can be much higher than if your property was occupied.
To make sure that your unoccupied commercial property premiums are as low as possible, it’s best to put in place an effective plan for managing and reducing the risk of the vacant property by taking the following precautions:
Make sure possible entry points are covered, as well as internal cameras constantly recording. If you ever need to make a claim, this footage could prove invaluable in your case.
If you haven’t got the budget for round-the-clock security, then visits at random and varying times will still be a help. Make sure you’re using someone certified with SIA licenses.
Physically boarding up windows, shutters, bars and locked grills on doors and windows is a good idea, as is putting up perimeter protection such as security screens, just make sure that if you’re doing this you don’t need a temporary structure planning application.
Vandals and thieves can thrive under the cover of darkness, so erecting lighting on external doors and windows can deter them from trying to gain access.
Alarms plugged into the mains rather than batteries will give you peace of mind until your unoccupied property becomes filled again.
Preventing damage to an unoccupied commercial property
In most cases your unoccupied commercial property insurance policy doesn’t just protect you against squatters, vandals and thieves, but also from damage and fire too. To make sure you’re covering yourself against every eventuality until your property becomes occupied again there are steps you can take to minimise the risk of damage to your property:
Unoccupied Commercial Property Insurance – Useful FAQs
It’s not just large warehouses, office buildings or factories that could benefit from this type of insurance, plenty of others can too including:
- Gyms or fitness clubs
- Petrol stations
- Salons such as hairdressers, tanning or beauticians
- Any kind of shop or retail unit
Even if your property is going to be unoccupied for a couple of weeks or so, it’s important to make sure you’re properly covering yourself in case of damage whether it’s accidental or malicious. Insurers see unoccupied commercial properties as being a greater risk than those with tenants, so it requires a different kind of insurance policy.
You’ve probably got a lot on your plate if you’re looking to secure new tenants to fill your property, so transferring your insurance policy could save you a lot of leg work. Contact your current insurer that handles your contents and commercial building insurance and speak to them directly about a plan to cover you during that period.
Not necessarily. As this is (hopefully) a temporary policy to cover you for short periods of time, there are insurers out there who offer flexible, shorter term unoccupied commercial property insurance policies for three, six, nine or 12 months – shop around to see if there’s one to suit you.
What a headache! However, from an insurance point of view it might not be as bad as you think. Most insurers will let you extend your unoccupied commercial property insurance policy to allow you more time to find new tenants. Just remember that you’ll need to keep to the criteria of the policy, so if you’ve hired external security then you’ll need to extend their contract too.