Properties can be unoccupied for many reasons including working away, during probate, elderly relatives moving into care, or with the holiday season fast approaching you may be lucky enough to be going on an extended break.

Unoccupied properties carry greater risks, from burglary, vandalism and the resultant damage from burst pipes to name a few. If you are a homeowner then it is highly likely that you will have the buildings and contents insured, but have you read the small print?

The length of time that a property can be left empty varies from insurer to insurer, but it is typically between 30 and 60 days. If you are in breach of your own insurer’s unoccupied condition then it is probable that any claim will be refused.

If you are in any doubt contact your insurance provider, who will often offer you a solution to put your mind at rest.

In the meantime here are some top tips to keep your home safe during extended absences;

• Secure the property with approved locks on windows and doors
• Install a burglar alarm
• Make the placed looked lived in, installing a timer for the lights is always a good idea
• Ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property
• Set the heating to the frost setting in winter to avoid burst pipes
• Curb appeal – avoid large collections of mail and keep the garden tidy ensuring the grass is cut

Sometimes a little thought and preventive action may help avoid common issues.

John Goodacre is Account Executive at D E Ford Insurance Brokers, offering insurance solutions to commercial and charitable organisations.

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