26 March 2020

As more and more businesses are closing their premises, in order to tackle the Covid-19 virus, buildings and offices are being left unoccupied. This has implications for business insurance policies, which you need to be aware of.
Firstly, a premises is “generally” classed as being “unoccupied” if it is completely closed for normal business activities for a specific number of consecutive days. Each policy is different but most typically set a time limit of 30, 45 or 60 consecutive days. Once this limit is reached, you must inform insurers as they may begin to restrict cover.

Secondly, if you have taken the decision to completely close your premises, you should refer to your policy document, which will set out your responsibilities. These are usually common sense requirements like setting your security alarm, locking windows and fences or pulling down roller shutters, etc.
Once you reach the unoccupied time limit in your policy, insurers also normally require policyholders to take some additional precautions to reduce the potential for damage to occur, which would otherwise go unnoticed for long periods of time.

These additional precautions could include:

  • Isolating gas and electricity supplies
  • Isolating water supplies and draining the system
  • Performing, and recording, visual inspections at the premises at regular intervals and removing any build-up of post


We are seeing some flexibility from insurers on this matter in the form of extending the number of days before they class a location as being unoccupied, but it is important you check your policy wording for the specific time limit and the policy conditions that apply if your building is left unoccupied.
If you would like any help in understanding your policy terms and conditions or suspect you will exceed the unoccupied time limit on your policy then please get in touch, we’d be delighted to help you.