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We asked insurance brokers, Erskine Murray, providers of the Mattioli Woods plc block property owners insurance arrangement, what advice they would give to unoccupied commercial property owners.
If your commercial property is going to be left unoccupied for any length of time, if it is wholly not in use, or even a portion of the property is going to be unoccupied, it is essential that you get it insured on the correct basis in case something goes wrong.
Unoccupied properties occur for a variety of reasons, the property may be awaiting sale, or awaiting permission for change of use, the tenants may have moved to new offices, or perhaps the previous tenants have ceased trading. Whatever the reason, you need to consider the impact on your insurance arrangements.
There are numerous additional risk factors relating to unoccupied properties, such as:
Incidents will statistically cause greater damage, resulting in higher settlements; Insurers will need to protect their increased exposure and as a result you can expect your insurance premium to rise once a property is known to be empty.
You may need to act immediately:
Many owners or tenants may already have insurance in place, however it is more than likely your existing policy does not cover what is required for unoccupied property. It is therefore imperative that you notify your insurance broker when your property is to be unoccupied, as the terms of insurance will change.
You may not be aware but if your property is left unoccupied and you have not notified your insurers, you are unlikely to be insured. It is important to recognise the increased risk that an empty property presents and you should consider undertaking risk improvements, such as carrying out regular inspections, improving physical security and installing monitored alarms.
Whether you have an existing policy, or require a new one, we would need to be informed of your decisions. If you are unsure of your current policy we can put you in touch with people who are experts in this area and can help.