Home insurance whilst away

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 03, 2010 at 18:56
ThreadID: 79034 Views:6131 Replies:10 FollowUps:2
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I have left my home unoccupied, with no contents and in the care of watchfull eyes of neighbours either side whilst I travel.

My policy is about to expire and the insurance company who knew it was unoccupied and agreed that the policy would be in order.

Now they have stated that was OK only for the current period of the policy but have said I will have to seek cover elsewhere.

Can anyone steer me in the right direct of with whom I can get cover,

Many thanks


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Reply By: Tenpounder (SA) - Thursday, Jun 03, 2010 at 19:34

Thursday, Jun 03, 2010 at 19:34
We've dealth with a couple of companies over the years, and it has been standard practice for cover to be excluded where the premises are unoccupied. Also, if you insure without disclosing that the house is unoccupied, then the insurance will be void anyway, because it is likely to be regarded as a material failure to disclose.
Certainly our current insurance includes a declaration that the premises will not be unoccupied for any period beyond x days.
I hope you can find a friendly broker or underwriter!!
AnswerID: 419422

Reply By: bennyzbit - Thursday, Jun 03, 2010 at 20:15

Thursday, Jun 03, 2010 at 20:15
we went through this ( be it we had contents but the place was unoccupied between school holidays) some years ago with Comm Insure. We eventually moved to APIA who were more generous with the number of unoccupied days before the irinsurance cover elapsed.

What I did learn on the way was that if a kindly neighbour or family member will sleep over for one night at your place ( on lets say the 57 day in a 60 days maximum unoccupied policy) then the number count starts from zero again.

The fact hat we had a back to base alarm system that Comm Insure gave us a discount on the premium for having it, made no difference to them re "unoccupied". We would have had a security response to the home within 10 minutes of an alarm being tripped was of no value to Comm Insure but a casual sleep over on the 57 day even without an alarm system was OK in their eyes.

If you have a kindly neighbour and the phone is still connected at the house have them use your phone to call their mobile and answer it for a few seconds. They do the same next morning before leaving. If push comes to shove there is a "record of presence." on your phone bill.

AnswerID: 419424

Follow Up By: farouk - Thursday, Jun 03, 2010 at 20:37

Thursday, Jun 03, 2010 at 20:37
We insure with the RAA here in SA and their policy states that we must advise them PRIOR if we know that we will be absent for X time after 60 days

This does not cause us any problems as we know what out itinerary will be and all we have to do is ring them on the 60th day and advise them of our absence and the time we expect to be absent and if we exceed that advise them again,from then until we return we are up for the first $500 on any claim for break in and goods stolen but fire,storm etc is covered as before.
This may not be the answer you are looking for as obviously your house is not actually habitated at all as ours is our permanent place of abode but you could ask them.
FollowupID: 689617

Follow Up By: Member - Paul S (VIC) - Friday, Jun 04, 2010 at 07:05

Friday, Jun 04, 2010 at 07:05
G'day Benny,

We had a similar plan to conform to Comminsure's 60 day rule, as suggested by a Comminsure rep, with our son sleeping over just within the 60 days.

On advising them of same by phone, as they had requested we do, a different customer service rep told us this did not qualify as occupancy and we were in breach of their terms. (just sleeping over once every 60 days is NOT occupancy)

As we were some 3000 kms from home and part way through an around oz trip, this was a major problem for us. We couldn't even get insurance with anybody else as we were away and deemed to be too risky.

Currently with RACV whose policy is less ambiguous. We also give a key to a neighbour who pops in once a week and checks to see if the $20 note we leave on the kitchen bench is still there.....a good indicator of an intruder's visit. He also clears mailbox, sweeps leaves etc to keep the place looking as though it is occupied; all suggested and sanctioned by RACV.
FollowupID: 689656

Reply By: Member - Christopher P (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 03, 2010 at 21:52

Thursday, Jun 03, 2010 at 21:52
Rent the place out or do as above. if your going for three moths or more then rent it out. earn a few dollars.

that was said to the old guy who owns where we live. 3 mins walk to water( lake), some lake views from the front yard, at eleebana, primeish real estate. with good rent. very very good rent.

his policy doesn't elapse and he comes round when he likes, we just have to look after the place, which we do as best as my mental health and wages allow.
AnswerID: 419444

Reply By: Spade Newsom - Thursday, Jun 03, 2010 at 21:53

Thursday, Jun 03, 2010 at 21:53
Not sure who to contact but just if you find a company just check what they exclude in building cover and require you to have under contents.

This varies between insurers companies but you mght need contents cover for floor coverings, curtains, airconditioners, hot water systems. Some things you might deem is built in they might deem isn't.

For example Suncorp building insurance will cover lino but not carpets. If you want carpets covered you have to have contents insurance.
AnswerID: 419446

Reply By: Maîneÿ . . .- Thursday, Jun 03, 2010 at 23:15

Thursday, Jun 03, 2010 at 23:15
I've been with GIO (18OO O25 328) for a while, I have the vehicle, boat and building & contents with them.
I tell them where I will be traveling and how long I'm expected to be away and have no problems, I've just last week told them I will be away till October 2010 and it's noted on my policy.
You obviously have to inform them of the security you have over your assets.

Maîneÿ . . .
AnswerID: 419459

Reply By: Member - Paul S (VIC) - Friday, Jun 04, 2010 at 07:23

Friday, Jun 04, 2010 at 07:23
G'day Col,

Your main problem now is being denied insurance by Comminsure; when applying to a new insurer, they will ask if you have been refused by any others and you are trapped forever in the 'high risk' status.

My advice is to sort it out with Comminsure, promise not to go away again, pay whatever they ask but don't get knocked back.

Then get cover from a reputable insurer, after reading their Product Disclosure Policy on the definition of Occupancy first, dump Comminsure and get most of your premium back.

Good luck,
AnswerID: 419475

Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Friday, Jun 04, 2010 at 10:42

Friday, Jun 04, 2010 at 10:42
I have bought a house in Qld and am not going to be living there till November

It is in a retirement village so the outside is covered by Body Corp.

The only place that would give Contents and presumably would give house ins was APIA.

Costs me $5 extra a month for it to be unoccupied.

The policy is "Village" type insurance.

No limit was specified and if I go away next year just ring and do it again.

AnswerID: 419493

Reply By: John and Lynne - Friday, Jun 04, 2010 at 12:45

Friday, Jun 04, 2010 at 12:45
With RACQ we were covered during our recent 9 months trip by:
Having a good neighbour with a key empty letterbox, put out bins and occasionally park in our carport etc.
Paying someone to regularly mow lawn and tidy garden
Paying a trusted cleaning lady to open the house, check inside, air everything off and do a bit of cleaning of dust etc about once a month
Having friends who needed occasional accommodation in Brisbane stay in the house for a few days about once a month.
Our insurance company was happy with all this and we came home to a clean and tidy house (bliss!)

Also if you do not want to let your house commercially (we worked out this wasn't really worth the bother and storage fees for less than 12 months), friends often have sensible adult children looking for low cost accommodation if you live in an appropriate area. Friends of ours house sat for another friend while their own house was being renovated and this suited everyone very well! So ask around.
Do not just leave your house vacant longer than the fine print says or your policy will be void!
AnswerID: 419519

Reply By: Member - Michael John T (VIC) - Friday, Jun 04, 2010 at 23:20

Friday, Jun 04, 2010 at 23:20
Rang RACV insurance to inform them we would be away for 3 months, mentioned the house would be visited weekly by one of our kids, all they asked was to keep the lawns cut regulary. No worries.


Mike (Vic)
AnswerID: 419597

Reply By: herkman - Sunday, Jun 06, 2010 at 19:55

Sunday, Jun 06, 2010 at 19:55
Thank you all for your kind assistance.

Much appreciated


AnswerID: 419826

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