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Back in May 2011, an old decaying Victorian toilet block on the seafront at Sheringham, Norfolk, was sold for £104,000 at auction, more than twice the guide price. This got me to thinking about unoccupied property insurance…

The property was bought by a builder, Nick Willan, 56, who had bought it for his wife. Initially this sounds like grounds for a divorce, but in reality Mr. Willan had bought the property with the intention to transforming it into a holiday home and giving it to his wife as an anniversary present which I thought was really romantic (or she was blackmailing him!)

FROM This.....
FROM This…..

Three years, and an additional £85,000 later, the property has been completely renovated into a two en suite bedroomed holiday property with stunning views over the sea.

I thought I would share with you some information which has just been shared with me by one of our specialist brokers here at Comparecrazy. If the owner of a property such as this planned on letting the property out over the course of the year as a holiday let, the insurance needed for the property would be a straightforward holiday let insurance. If however, as seems to be the case in this instance, the owner has done it purely so he and his wife can go there a couple of times a year, the insurance technically becomes more convoluted.

TO This??!!
TO This??!!

If a property is unoccupied for more than thirty days consecutively, pretty much every insurer out there will insist that the central heating system is completely drained or kept on at 14 degrees celcius, and the property is inspected every week to two weeks by either the owner or the owner’s representative. This could clearly be a pain if you’ve bought a property on the coast but live in, say, Meriden, which is widely regarded as the furthest you can get from the sea in the UK.

I have just called an estate agent friend of mine and given him the scenario and asked how much he would charge to visit and inspect a property on behalf of an owner over the course of a year and he gave me a ball park figure of £600 per annum which is not cheap. It is however cheaper than turning up to your lovely holiday home for a fortnight to find a bunch of squatting hippies in your lounge around an open fire singing ‘If you’re going to San Francisco’!

I wonder if Mr. Willan took this into account when he proudly introduced his wife to her new toilet block? Probably not, but at least you fine people out there know what’s involved, so if you’re looking for a specialist policy, from non standard construction insurance to holiday let insurance to unoccupied property insurance, the brokers here at Comparecrazy have the one that’s right for you. The business insurance comparison site!

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