Can I Get Home Insurance for an Unoccupied Home When the Owner is Deceased?

Caeva O'Callaghan | March 28th, 2024

What happens to home insurance after someone dies, and can you insure an empty property?

Yes, you can. Home insurance is one of those things you have to sort out when someone you know dies and you’re responsible for managing their estate.

If the home will be left unoccupied for even a little while, it’s best to sort out the right home insurance to protect it during this transitional period.

In this article, we’ll cover the following questions:

  • What do I do after someone dies?
  • Why do I need specialist home insurance after someone dies?
  • How do I organise unoccupied home insurance?

No one needs an extra headache while dealing with a loved one’s death. Knowing the facts ahead of time, and taking things slowly, can help things go smoother later on.

What do I do after someone dies?

When this happens, it’s natural to feel stressed and upset, especially when dealing with legal matters. There will be certain procedures and a will to follow, and home insurance will probably be the furthest thing from your mind. But when a loved one’s property enters probate, it is important to make sure the property remains looked after and adequately protected.

Probate is the process in which the executor of the will is granted authority and legal right to deal with a deceased person’s estate. Before probate is concluded we advise the company and the policy is changed into “The Representatives of the late” (your loved one’s name here).

Each probate case can vary significantly, depending on how big the estate is and how complex a process it will be to divide it up and put affairs in order. It often can become a lengthy process to get all the correct documentation sorted out. This can mean a property is vacant for a long period of time, during which it is up to the executors – in other words, yourself – to secure and protect the building and its contents.

Why do I need specialist home insurance after someone dies?

If a home is left unoccupied for more than 30 days, most standard home insurance policies will be voided, or have cover reduced significantly to only cover damage from fire.

The problem is, fire only cover won’t protect the property from water damage – such as from a leaking pipe or storm – or any other disaster, such as a break-in, which empty homes are at risk of.

If you know the property will be left empty for a while, for example, if you can’t get round to selling it or moving in right away, there are ways you can reduce risks. These include:

  • Visiting the property frequently (some insurance policies will require you to visit at least every 7 days)
  • Removing post from the doormat
  • Putting bins out
  • Opening and closing curtains and blinds
  • Putting lights on a smart timer
  • Maintain hedges and paintwork so the home looks lived in

How do I organise unoccupied home insurance?

Find out the property’s current home insurance provider, and give them a call to notify them the policyholder is deceased. They may request a copy of the death certificate. Some insurance companies may extend the homeowner’s current policy until the expiration date. However, others may only continue to cover the property for 30 days or cancel the policy with immediate effect.

Either way, the policy needs to change to reflect the fact that the property is vacant. In order to give you an accurate quote, the provider will ask questions like whether the house is totally unoccupied or only partially, if the water has been turned off at the mains, and how often you plan on visiting.

At each renewal, until probate is concluded, your insurance company will ask for an update before issuing renewal terms.

If you are an executor of a will and there is an uninsured home or property that is vacant, it is possible to get it insured: we have a scheme specifically for these situations. But no matter what you’re dealing with, you can get friendly and knowledgeable advice just by giving us a call. Contact us Mon-Fri between 8.30am and 5.30pm on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051.

All Information in this post is accurate as of the date of publishing.