Unoccupied premises due to COVID-19
It is important to distinguish between temporarily closed premises due to COVID-19 and previously longer terms unoccupied premises, the responses contained below are specifically for temporarily closed premises due to government guidelines and will not apply for premises that fall outside of the guidelines. For those customers whom have longer terms unoccupied exposures we recommend that they review their policy document and notify us immediately if they are struggling to adhere to any pertinent policy conditions. The ABI have released the following guidance for those businesses affected:
- You should continue to check on your unoccupied premises regularly and carry out normal risk management processes unless prevented by any government or local restrictions.
- If you are unable to visit your premises as set out in your policy, it is best to speak to your broker to discuss. Insurers will look to be flexible around the requirement for individuals to check on their temporarily unoccupied SME business premises regularly. This is as long as business owners have followed the risk management advice provided by their insurer and have taken reasonable endeavours to ensure the premises is suitably secure. However, in some cases where there are higher hazard risks your insurer will be able to advise on the appropriate arrangements for the property being unoccupied and ensure suitable action is taken.
- Restrictions will differ between nations and local areas and you should check you are adhering to the law and guidance of the relevant administration or local authority.
- With the onset of winter, it is important to consider what additional safeguards are needed to prevent damage from occurring in colder weather. This may include turning off water, draining the heating system, or leaving the heating on at a temperature that will protect pipes from freezing and water damage occurring in the property. Further information on protecting the property from water damage is available here.
The information below includes the unoccupancy position from specific insurers where we have obtained a response. If your insurer is not listed, please check your policy documents and/or contact your broker for more information. If your insurer is listed, please check your insurer’s occupancy position and if your property is going to be left unoccupied for more than the total consecutive days or you require additional clarity due to the specific circumstances then please make contact.