Unoccupied home insurance offers protection if your property is vacant for more than the time period allowed in a standard home insurance policy.

If for any reason you need to leave your home unoccupied, or you have another property which will be unoccupied for an extended period, then you may need to arrange specific unoccupied home insurance.

Unoccupied Home Insurance Ireland

What is unoccupied home insurance?

There are many reasons why you may leave a property unoccupied. Standard home insurance offers protection if your home is unoccupied from 30 to 60 days, depending on the insurer and the policy. 

However, you may need protection for a longer time period that the property is unoccupied. In certain circumstances, you may need to leave a property vacant for a longer time period, such as:

  • Travel abroad for work or study
  • An inherited property awaiting probate
  • Awaiting sale of property
  • Property owner in nursing home or residential health care
  • Life changes eg. moving in with a new partner
  • Property undergoing renovation
  • Investment property currently unlet to tenants
  • Unused holiday home

Your current insurer may offer protection for your home when it is unoccupied under certain conditions and specialist unoccupied home insurance is also available.

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What does Unoccupied home insurance cover?

Your current home insurer may offer protection if your home is unoccupied for a time period longer than the standard 30- 60 days, depending on your circumstances.

However, in many cases they will offer a lower level of cover than a standard home insurance policy

Typically they will only offer protection for fire and fire brigade charges, although this varies between insurers. Your insurer may also require you to pay a higher excess than previously. 

You would need to inform your insurer that the home is unoccupied, as well as the reason for its being vacant, and discuss what types of cover they will provide during this time period.

Specialised unoccupied home insurance

Specialised unoccupied home insurance may offer protection for a home or investment property that is vacant for a longer time period than standard. Unoccupied home insurance can be obtained with cover for 6 months, 12 months, or longer, depending on the insurer. 

Unoccupied home insurance will generally offer more protection for a vacant property than standard home insurance. They may offer cover for a wider range of perils such as storm and flood.

Cover for theft and vandalism

Unoccupied home insurance may offer some cover for theft and vandalism also as well as some public liability cover. Public liability cover may include cover for damage to another person or their property caused by your property eg. falling roof tiles.

Unoccupied home insurance cover will typically not offer any cover for contents you have in the property. It may be worth arranging storage of any contents that you wish to keep or that are valuable.

Some circumstances of your home or property being unoccupied may overlap with other specific types of home insurance. For example, an investment property where there are currently no tenants may be covered by landlord’s insurance. A holiday home no longer in use may be covered by holiday home insurance. 

In these instances, it is really important that you discuss the level of occupancy with your insurer, don’t just assume that the insurance that you have in place will offer you protection as you may need specialist unoccupied home insurance.

Self build insurance may offer protection if your home is unoccupied and is currently undergoing renovation, or you are building a new self build home on a green site.

Cover for theft and vandalism

Who offers unoccupied home insurance?

  • Plum Underwriters
  • AXA Broker
  • Prestige
  • Wrightway
  • Dolmen Underwriting
  • iSure Underwriting

These are all specialist underwriters, available through brokers only.

Standard home insurers may offer cover for unoccupied homes for existing customers, at a reduced level of cover. This typically entails fire cover only.

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Factors that affect the cost of a Unoccupied home insurance premium

Unoccupied home insurance will generally be more expensive than standard home insurance due to the higher level of risk involved in the property being unoccupied. 

For example, the house may fall into disrepair, increasing the risk to the home insurer. Added to this is the fact that disrepair eg. leaks may go unnoticed for a longer time than in an occupied home.

The risk of break ins or attempted break ins , as well as vandalism, or even squatters moving into the property will also increase if a house is visibly vacant for any length of time.

Typically unoccupied home insurance cover will also be based on certain conditions around maintenance of the property, depending on the insurer. These stipulations will reduce the risk of the property being unoccupied to the insurer. This may involve:

  • Periodic inspection
  • Turning off water
  • Turning off utilities
  • Alarm/ locks
  • Heating
  • Security
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Periodic Inspection

It is essential that the unoccupied home is maintained to a high standard as unoccupied properties are at higher risk of, for example, leaks or roof damage, vandalism or even squatters moving in. 

This is reduced where the property is regularly inspected and maintained. Regular inspection and maintenance will also ensure that outwardly visible signs of vacancy such as unkempt gardens or post building up etc. do not occur.

Turning off water

Holiday home insurance requires that you drain all water from the system and water is turned off at the mains to minimise the risk of damage from leaks. This may also be a condition of unoccupied home insurance.

Turning off utilities

You may be required to cut off electricity or gas supply or drain any oil in an oil fired heating system to ensure the safety of the property. An exception to this is if electricity is required for an alarm to function.


It may be a requirement of unoccupied home insurance that heating is run intermittently in the property. This will vary by insurer, it is important to check what our insurer requires.


It is important that any security measures are in good working order and are in operation in the vacant property. 

You would not be covered by unoccupied home insurance if doors or windows left unlocked proved to be an entry point for squatters or burglars.

An alarm may be a condition of insurance and it might be a good idea to install a motion sensor or CCTV in the property.

Unoccupied Home Insurance FAQ

No, you would need to be away from your home for longer than 30 days, depending on your insurer, for your home to be considered unoccupied. It’s a really good idea to ensure that your home is in good repair and securely locked up while you are away though.

You can purchase holiday home insurance for a holiday home that your family uses occasionally or even that you rent out. Just make sure that the holiday home insurance that you purchase covers you for the time period when you are not there and that other conditions such as turning off water etc. are adhered to.

If you are away from your home for more than 30 days (or the time period specified in your policy), you may need to arrange specific unoccupied home insurance. Do not assume that your standard home insurance offers protection as it may not.

If you do not tell your insurer that you are away for longer than the time limit specified in your home insurance policy, you may invalidate your cover. 

In this case, you run the risk of any claim not being paid out by your insurer and you may also struggle to get home insurance in the future. It is best to contact your home insurer and discuss your home insurance needs with them so as to arrange appropriate cover, if possible.

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Get an unoccupied home insurance quote today

If your home will be unoccupied, or you have a property that is not currently occupied, it is important that you arrange appropriate insurance cover. You may not be covered by standard home insurance and may need unoccupied home insurance.

Speak to Compare Insurance today about your home insurance requirements and we can assist you to find the best insurance for your situation at the best price. Don’t leave things to chance and find out that you are not covered when something goes wrong! Unoccupied home insurance will give you peace of mind that you and your property are protected.

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