Be on your metal if you have a vacant property

One of our insurer partners recently reported a 2,500% increase in metal theft claims during the last decade that were valued at more than £25,000. There is no doubt that the theft of valuable metals contained within the services installations of vacant properties has reached epidemic proportions.

As well as the time and inconvenience they cause, these types of claim can have a serious impact on re-letting lead in times or property disposals.

There are ways that property managers can reduce the risk of a claim but property owners have to weigh up the risks against the associated costs. Every property portfolio is different but as a general guide the following will help:

Unoccupancy precautions

Level 1

These precautions are recommended for all properties that are left unoccupied.

• Notify your insurers that the property is vacant IMMEDIATELY.
• Isolate all services (other than those required for a fire or intruder alarm)
• Drain the water system
• Permanently seal all letter boxes and other unprotected apertures
• Remove all waste from inside and outside the building
• Secure the premises using all locking devices
• Retain any intruder alarm systems
• Conduct a thorough inspection of the Building at least every seven days
• Deal with any issues immediately they arise

Level 2

These additional precautions are recommended for factory units with high power use provisions of any value and other property types valued between £1 million and £10 million.

• Intruder alarms that are designed, installed and maintained to the standard recommended by your insurer
• Installation of concrete blocks that block vehicular access to the property and surrounds

Level 3

In addition to the precautions recommended in level 1 & 2, for properties valued in excess of £10 million and for factory units with high power use provisions valued over £2.5 million the following additional precautions are recommended:

• Monitored CCTV and/or 24/7 security guarding - you must make sure that either of these options meet the standards required by your insurer

What to do next

It is only possible to offer general advice in this type of article. For specific information on unoccupied properties or help with any other property related insurance issue contact us today. We are experts in property insurance and understand all the issues so if you’d like more information, or would like us to review your cover please call our experts now.

Call 01789 761670

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