Unoccupied home insurance

Here’s how to get unoccupied home insurance in Australia so you don’t void your policy.

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Some home insurers consider a house "unoccupied" after 60 days. After this, you'll need to update your home insurance policy to unoccupied, or select this option during the application process.

It's important that you let your home insurer know that the home will be unoccupied, otherwise you risk losing your cover.

When is a home unoccupied?

Home insurers have different limits when it comes to how long it takes for a house to be unoccupied. We did some research and found that this limit can vary between 60 days up to 120 days.

BrandHow many days until the property is unoccupied
Budget Direct LogoMore than 60 days
Westpac home insuranceMore than 60 days
St. george logoMore than 60 days
Coles home insuranceMore than 60 days
Youi LogoMore than 60 days
Virgin money logoMore than 60 days
Domain insureMore than 100 days
ANZ logoMore than 120 days

Looking for unoccupied home insurance? Compare here.

Now you can compare benefits to make sure you choose a policy that's right for you.

Name Product Building Cover Contents Cover Fire, Storm & Theft Damage Sum Insured Safeguard Online Discount Cheapest way to pay
Budget Direct Home & Contents Insurance
Optional
Annually
Save 30% on your first year's premium when you purchase a new combined Home & Contents insurance policy online. T&Cs apply.
Australia Post Home & Contents Insurance
Annually
Get a $100 gift card when you buy a combined home and contents insurance policy from Australia Post.
Virgin Home and Contents Insurance
Optional
Annually
Purchase a new eligible Virgin Home and Contents Insurance policy online and you'll also save 30% on your first year’s premium. T&Cs Apply.
Westpac Home and Contents Insurance
Monthly or Annually
Save up to 25% when you purchase cover online. Promo code: COVER
Domain Home Buildings & Contents Insurance
Monthly or Annually
Get 15% off your first year's premium when you purchase a new combined Home & Contents Insurance policy online. T&Cs apply.
Seniors Top Home & Contents Insurance
Annually
Buy online and save up to 30% on a new home and contents insurance policy. T&Cs apply.
Real Top Home and Contents Insurance
Annually
Save up to 20% when you purchase combined Home and Contents online.
Qantas Home and Contents Insurance
Optional
Annually
Earn up to 20,000 Qantas Points when you apply. Points awarded will be based on your premium. T&Cs & exclusions apply.
Youi Building and Contents Insurance
Annually
Youi Home Insurance takes the time to tailor a premium for you.
QBE Home & Contents Insurance
Annually
Save up to 20% on your first years’ premium with a new combined QBE Home and Contents policy online. T&Cs apply.
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Already have home insurance? Just let your insurer know that the house will be unoccupied. Make sure you do let them know, as if you leave the place unoccupied for over 60 days without telling them, you could void your policy.

What does unoccupied mean for home insurance?

If you leave your home for an extended period of time, it will be considered unoccupied by your home insurer. When a home is considered unoccupied, the insurer will generally do one of two things: impose an additional excess on any claims that arise while your home is unoccupied or cancel your policy. To prevent this, you need to contact them directly.

Generally, a home is not considered unoccupied if it's vacant for less than 30 days, but this differs from insurer to insurer, so it's worth looking into. If you exceed the time limit, your home will be considered unoccupied, and you may not be covered if you need to make a claim.

If you know that your house will be unoccupied for an extended period of time, make sure you let your insurer know so they can either update your existing policy or issue a new one.

How to keep an unoccupied house in Australia

You may be required to make sure your home is kept in a lived-in state by:

Making sure all windows and doors are locked

Keeping the lawns mowed

Stopping the mail, newspaper and other regular deliveries

Getting someone such as a friend, relative or neighbour to check on your house (inside and outside once a week)

These conditions vary between insurers and in accordance with your personal circumstances, but failing to abide by them could cause any claims during this period to be refused.

When will I need unoccupied home insurance?

Here are some common scenarios where you might leave your home unoccupied for long enough that it could affect your insurance.

  • Leaving your home empty while travelling. If you're planning an extended holiday, there's probably a high likelihood that you'll exceed your insurer's maximum unoccupied limit. For cover to continue, make sure you contact your insurer and notify them of your plans before you depart.
  • Leaving your home empty while you renovate. Living in your house while it's being renovated can be stressful and far from practical, so moving out for a few months while work is completed may be the best solution. Not only will your home insurance cover be cancelled if you're away for an extended period, but keep in mind that home insurance commonly won't cover claims that arise because of the renovations.
  • Leaving a house vacant while trying to sell it or rent it out. If you plan to leave the property vacant while you either look to sell it or try to find new tenants to rent it out, check with your insurer to find out how this will affect your policy. While many insurers will cover unoccupied homes for up to 60 or 90 days, there are some landlord insurance policies that require you to notify the insurer each time your home is left vacant due to a change of tenant.

Protecting your home while you're away

If you're away from home, it might be worth getting a house sitter or arrange for someone to check in regularly. Ask them to take a look inside at least once a week to make sure everything is alright, as well as take care of any tell-tale signs of a vacant home, such as uncollected mail or unmown lawn. Arrange for a friend or a professional garden service to stay on top of lawn and garden maintenance while you're away. Before you leave, thoroughly inspect how secure your home is. Check all locks on windows and doors, and consider installing a back-to-base burglar alarm for added security.

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