So why is it risky to just “lock and leave” your vacation home?
Well a property can be left unoccupied for a variety of reasons, such as resale, refurbishment or extended leave of the owners. However unlike a normally occupied home you should have extra care, there is a reason why the insurance companies charge extra for an unoccupied property, that is, your regular property insurance does not cover if the house is unoccupied, also although higher priced they generally provides significantly less protection to homeowners than standard homeowners insurance policies, this is due to increased risk of serious damage and loss to vacant property, these are some of the risks:
- Burglary, they are more attractive to thieves.
- Unattended Leaks and Floods, from heavy downpours.
- Illegal Occupation
- Criminal Damage
- Mildew and Mold
If the home had been occupied or visited often, the damage would have been evident much more quickly and the consequent loss would have been mitigated considerably. These threats on a vacant property can incur expensive repair costs or time consuming and costly legal action. Serious damage to a property can also reduce its market value.
Also even if you do get insurance for an Unoccupied Property you are expected to “act as if there were no insurance in place”. It is a principle of insurance that you act “with reasonable care”, so these insurance points are also important to consider:
- Ensure that the unoccupied property is securely locked – this seems obvious but an unlocked door or a window open to “circulate air” is an easy target for vandals, squatters and the like.
- Arrange for the empty property to be visited at least once every seven days either by yourself or an appointed representative.
- Make the empty home look like it is inhabited. Small investments such as light timer switches, gardening, clean pool and any post cleared really does make a difference.
- Turn off the water supply at the mains and drain the system. Escape of water damage claims are the most common cause of damage and this cover is often excluded. Check your unoccupied property insurance policy wording but we recommend the water drained eliminating the risk completely.
- Remove any valuable items, such as gold, silver and paintings from your unoccupied building. These are often excluded anyway, but to the inquisitive eye, even the damage caused trying to gain access to these items can be easily avoided.
So it is important to have someone like Luzholidays to manage your property in Praia da Luz (or if you have a property anywhere else, just contract a good property management firm), sometimes it doesn’t seem like an important investment, but its a guarantee that your holiday property will always be in excellent condition and have the peace of mind to know that its been taken cared of, and even if something bad happens that we are here to fix it.