Unoccupied Commercial Property Insurance


Most standard house insurance, contents insurance, office insurance, or shop insurance policies are designed for occupied properties. Whether the occupant happens to be a homeowner or a tenant. It can be a small business (in case of commercial property). Insuring unoccupied commercial buildings is a lot more complicated. Empty properties are classed as non-standard and thus need a specialist insurance policy.

The reason a standard insurance policy won’t cut the mustard is because commercial premises are treated as a high insurance risk. This might be because their insurance claims data suggests that claims can be higher. Empty buildings have a higher risk of water damage, rising damp, vandalism, burglary, or squatters. But whatever the reason for it. If your property is going to be vacant for an extended period (more than 30 days) you will need to take out a policy. You will need to ensure that you invest in a policy that covers you for all risk. No matter if this is due to renovation works or the end of the tenancy.

Property owners.

Property owners can insure through us don’t hesitate to get an instant quote here.

Why are vacant properties hard to insure?

Empty properties have a higher risk of water ingress. They can also have damp, mould, and rising damp. They can even fire damage because they are left unattended for extended periods of time.

Squatters are much more likely to target an empty commercial property. Offices or shops particularly if they have been vacant for a long time. Empty properties are more likely to experience vandalism than occupied properties. Most of the time, they also represent an easier target for thieves. Since there is much less chance of a burglar to be caught in the act.

All those increased risks translate to high insurance premiums. You need to take this into account when dealing with unoccupied property cover. Insurance providers will consider. They have an increased likelihood that they might have a claim.

Property owners should consider is there any additional security they may wish to put in place.

Insurance for unoccupied commercial buildings is extremely difficult. This is because it is arranged differently compared to standard commercial insurance. We can provide you with this insurance. We have panel of insurers who specialise in this industry. However, many insurance companies do not like to insure the properties. They represent a high risk. Insurers are reluctant to provide cover. Premiums can often be higher compared to other building types. We can still insurance these for you. Please note that cover can also be restrictive. We have all types of policies that can cover you.

Should I take professional advice on how to protect my unoccupied commercial property?

You will find that most insurance companies will require some form of security protection at the property. Especially considering that squatters cannot reside in residential properties. An insurance company may request 24-hour security, wired fencing and even surveillance cameras. It is important to drain down the water systems and turn them off. Also, make sure that there are no valuable contents within the property itself. It may be that the insurer requires boarding up of the windows as well.

Do I need to look at the security of my property?

Yes, we would suggest that you, first of all, do a risk assessment of the property. This is to see if there are any potential points of entry. Someone might try to break in. Seek local advice from the police. See whether there is anything you could do for your empty property and see our guides below. We would suggest that you secure the perimeter to deter people from entering the property. Also, you can look at installing closed-circuit TV and alarms.

You will often find that CCTV is a must have for anyone looking to protect a commercial property. It will go a long way to potentially reducing the buildings insurance risk which improves the insurance premium. You should then ensure that any important equipment at the property is either removed or secured. It would also make sense to advertise the security on the outside of the building. This would potential criminals knows they are being watched. We would suggest that you also carry out regular checks or have somebody carry these out for you.

The more security measures that you put in place the more likely your premium will come down. It is essential to show your insurance company that you are doing your best to protect your investment.

Can I take out a policy for a short or long period?

You can take out a short- or long-term policy. There is anything from 3-, 6-, 9- and 12-months unoccupied policies to choose from. Each policy will have a different level of cover. It is also important that you check the excess applies to each of the aspect of the cover as this may vary from feature featured.

Property owners should think about exactly what type of policy they want. Is it long or short term depending what you are going to do with the premises itself.

Empty Business Premises.

Empty business premises insurance is now available through Iinsure’s panel of specialist providers. We can obtain a competitive insurance quote for you today for your vacant business premises.

The availability of insurance for unoccupied commercial property tends to be limited to specialist insurance intermediaries who are experts in insuring vacant business premises. Through Iinsure 365 we have access to all insurance providers who can cover you. We understand the needs for commercial property to find cost effective ways of insuring empty property premises.

Vacant business insurance premium cover is also available, empty shops, retail units, empty warehouses, factories, industrial units, empty offices, self-contained office blocks, restaurants, pubs, bars, night clubs and empty mixed use commercial properties.

There are several reasons why insuring empty commercial property can be difficult this includes the likelihood if the property is damaged due to vandalism, flooding or fire does occur. There will be nobody onsite to react to this promptly. A potential increased risk of squatters moving in or causing damage to an empty property.

Iinsure 365 will contact a provider and provide you with a quote. We have access to specialist underwriting schemes that enable us to provide competitive quotes for vacant business premises insurance.

Property owners may require any time of period from 3 months onwards. We can give you cover for either long or short term insurance.

Tips for managing your unoccupied property.

We have put some tips together to managing your unoccupied commercial property. This should assist you in obtaining a wider choice of quality insurance covers. It will also make your premiums competitive.

  1. Take all reasonable precautions in securing your empty property. It will depend on the property type, location, size. It also depends on the period of inoccupancy, but the following should be considered.
  2. Main fed alarms – You cannot run the risk of the batteries running out.
  3. CCTV
  4. Crewed guarding – Ensure that they hold an SIA Licence.
  5. Random visits at various times are a good deterrent.
  6. Security screens or boarding.
  7. Perimeter protection – Check your local planning department. Some temporary structures may require planning applications.
  8. Physical security – Make sure the windows and locks are in operation. There are bars and shutters. There are also grills on the doors and windows.
  9. Non-setting paint (also known as anti-vandal paint) – They can also be anti-climb paint.
  10. Lighting – Concentrate on lighting areas such as external doorways. Especially around the windows where intruders might gain access.

Check you are covered for occupy liability insurance.

Under 1957 and 1984 occupier’s liability Act you can be held liable for injury to trespassers. Even if they are on your property. You need to ensure that there are intruder prevention measures. We have highlighted some of these above. However, they would also include warning signs. Warning signs should be displayed at all likely points of access. This might include for instance fragile roof. A warning sign or an asbestos do not enter warning sign.

Check the property regularly and keep a log of your visits.

All insurers will want to see you visit the property every week. Keep a log of your visits and take a picture on your camera that is date stamped. You can then show this to the insurance company that you are pro-active. This is ensuring your property is looked after.

Seal up letter boxes.

Many claims arise because of arson. This happens when there is an accumulation of post build up. This can often happen behind the door and lead to rapid ignition and spread of fire.

Drain water tanks.

Make sure pipes are empty, cracking in cold weather. Minimize the risk of result of water damage. Especially with pipes or tanks.

Remove all refuge or combustible materials.

Speak to your neighbours.

Where a property is overlooked by occupied properties or homes. Intruders will often try to gain access under the disguise of being a contractor. Let your neighbours know that you have arranged for a contractor visit. They can be your best eyes. Try not to advertise that the property is vacant. Build up of post can be a sign. An unkept entrance. Make sure the grass is cut. Make sure graffiti is removed.

We have various products that could help you in this regard so do not hesitate to contact us. We can be contacted on 01273 827090.

Holiday homes.

Can you insure unoccupied holiday homes? This is a specialist subject and holiday homes come under very specific insurance. They are not always easy to insure. It is very unlikely you will be able to insure holiday homes for times they are occupied but you should speak to us. Don’t hesitate to contact us on 01273 827090 or we have holiday home insurance that deals with these types of things.

Underinsurance – A real concern for commercial properties.

Did you know that over 340 million commercial properties are highly underinsured. #

What is underinsurance?

Underinsurance is what a policy holder has inadequate insurance cover for their needs. In an event of a claim this could mean a claim exceeding the amount of the maximum limit that can be done by the insurance company. Ie you make a claim of £100,000 but because you are underinsured you might only pay you out £80,000. This could lead to serious financial loss.

What leads to it being underinsured?

With the ever increasing costs in 2022 and inflation many policy holders don’t realise that they need to look at revaluing their properties on a regular basis. If you have a commercial property then we would suggest you look to revalue it at least every 3 years. The fast moving pace of inflation in 2022 has meant that many policy holders are horrifically underinsured.

The re-instatement of costs have also gone up substantially. With the labour market becoming tighter because of Brexit and materials going up on average of 42% across the board it is important you understand you could be underinsured.

In 2022 international shortages of materials have seen the average cost by 23% just in one year. Certain items have increased even more;

  • MDF costs increased – 52%
  • Timber costs increased – 30%
  • Copper costs increased – 20%
  • Lead flashing costs increased – 31%

Labour costs are on the rise due the shortage of labour, compounded by 42% decrease in European labour following Brexit. 64% of building materials are imported to the UK from the EU, so Brexit-enforced delays at customs are causing delays in getting projects started and completed. Adding further costs to the process.

It is a statistical fact that 80% of UK properties could be underinsured, with over 500,000 high value homes at risk and underinsurance in commercial property estimated to be 340 billion.

Why not contact us if you want a revalue of your property. Please be aware however these can take some time.


Unoccupied commercial property insurance is extremely difficult to obtain. We do have markets that will help you cover your property but terms can be restrictive and premiums high. It is important that you do your best to ensure that security professionals check your property. This is to ensure that you are doing the best you can to protect it. If you would like a quote for an unoccupied property insurance request a call back and speak to one of our team.


Related Articles

Subscribe for all the latest updates from the iInsure365 News Centre