Friday, 29 October 2010


Not uncommonly, and as a result of a relationship breakdown, the house which a couple own and occupy together can become empty as both decide to go their separate ways and for whatever reason neither continues to live in the home pending its sale. Whilst the lawyers will invariably become involved in ensuring agreement as to how the bills are paid, one thing over which they have no control is the ongoing issue of buildings’ insurance. Although most insurers will continue to insure a property, the perils covered by the policy after a property has been vacant for a set period (commonly 30 days) reduce. Unfortunately not every couple is aware of this dramatic change in risk.

Once upon a time I advised a client working abroad for 6 months a year to check the small print of his house insurance policy after his wife vacated the house owned solely in his name. “It’s fine,” he told me, “If the in-laws torch it, throw objects at it from passing aircraft, or ask Thor to hurl thunderbolts at it, I’m covered. If they try to break in and cause malicious damage I’ve got a great big Rottweiler living there and it’s going to be hungry if I’m only home twice a year to feed it!”

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