Unoccupied Property

With Government guidelines now being set and more unoccupied commercial premises in the UK than we have experienced in most people’s lifetimes, this is an issue needing consideration. With no end date set, this could be an ongoing situation for many months to come.

Unoccupied properties have always been and are a challenge for insurers because the frequency and severity of losses increases as unoccupancy levels rise.

The types of losses impacted are:

  1. Theft or Attempted
  2. Malicious damage
  3. Arson
  4. Fire
  5. Larger claims for escape of water/burst pipes as these go undetected for longer periods

What can be done?

It is not possible to prevent all risks but by taking practical steps this can reduce the number and severity of losses.

We have outlined below some steps that can be taken and this is a general list. Not all will apply to every premises:


Security Arrangements

  • All physical security and locking devices are working and in place
  • All protection and detection systems are operational
  • All fire and theft alarm protection, detection, and security systems to remain active and monitored remotely where possible
  • Alarm keyholders should be assessed and if they change, your alarm company should be advised
  • Maintenance on all protection and/or detection systems must be a priority to protect the property
  • Any changes to the police response are understood and notified to Luker Rowe without delay
  • Secure and seal all letterboxes and openings and redirect post if necessary
  • Adequacy of security controls should be assessed based on likely periods of unoccupancy and type of business, particularly in high-crime areas
  • Keep external lighting on

Fire Prevention

  • All external areas must be clear of waste and combustible materials. This includes pallets. Ideally, waste is not left externally but if unavoidable it should be kept 10 metres from the premises or the maximum distance which is practical
  • Disconnect all battery charging apparatus in unattended areas
  • Hot works at the premises should not undertaken

Escape of Water

  • Consider draining all water and fuel supply tanks, apparatus and pipes unless a water supply is required for the fire detection system/sprinklers

Site Inspections

  • A full site tour, both internally and externally, should be completed as often as possible but at the very minimum it should be completed every seven days or if this is not practicable then when it is safe to do so, ensuring:
    • Perimeter security, fences and lighting are kept in good condition and operational
    • Any unsafe conditions are identified and remedied where possible

We are here to help you through these uncertain times and welcome your calls. In the event you experience a loss, please contact us without delay and we will help take you through the next steps. We will talk to you about what needs to be done to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the policy. Your usual contact point is still available and you can contact them on their office number as all calls are being forwarded

9th April 2020