Guidance and Tips for temporarily closed properties closed solely due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
7th April 2020
... Comments

As the unprecedented situation with COVID-19 continues and the Government takes new measures to delay the outbreak, we realise this is a worrying time for everyone and our thoughts are with everyone affected.

At Shadow Insurance Services, we work with a variety of businesses and individuals, each exposed to uniquely different risks, and are now dealing with different individual challenges and circumstances. The risks faced by businesses and individuals don’t stop with COVID-19, and we’re committed to continue assisting all our clients and anyone who may be looking for some guidance with the insurance cover they need or have purchased.

As most businesses have unfortunately been forced to close due to the COVID19 Pandemic, I wanted to alert you to check your own insurance policies as terms and conditions vary from insurer to insurer, however, in respect of unoccupied properties; most of them grant full cover for a period of 30 days as standard and then impose restrictive terms from day 31. 

At this moment in time, many of the insurers I have spoken to are working with their clients and extending the unoccupancy 30-day condition to ease the stresses a little during the government forced closure, but not all have yet confirmed they are willing to assist or change their terms. 


I would strongly advise you to check your own insurance policy to ensure you are aware of your insurance terms and conditions, which if you fail to adhere to at all times, could lead to your insurer voiding your cover and potentially leave you uninsured. Better to be safe than sorry!


Buildings, whether temporarily closed or permanently unoccupied can be at greater risk from the likes of arson, antisocial behaviour such as vandalism or squatters, theft, and escape of water.

1. Protect against electrical fires - turn off and unplug electrical equipment

Electrical equipment should be turned off and unplugged, and electrical systems isolated at the main fuse board, with the exception of critical business infrastructure required to allow the continuance of the organisation's operations and support temporary home working arrangements; 

  • intruder alarms
  • fire alarms 
  • sprinkler installations
  • other fire suppression security or other risk protection systems or devices


which should be maintained to ensure they continue to fully and effectively protect the property at all times. 

2. Guard against escape of water losses

Where there will be no need to re-enter the premises during the period of temporary closure turn off water supplies at the mains (and where reasonable to do so drain down water systems). We recognise it may not always be appropriate to turn off or drain down water systems. Where this is the case a minimum temperature of 7⁰C (45⁰F) should be maintained within the property. 

3. Protect against arson

Remove internal waste and position external bins as far from the property as possible, ideally securing bins in place. 

4. Inspect weekly wherever possible and safe to do so

Unoccupied property should be inspected weekly, provided travel required to carry out inspections is in line with the latest government advice. 


Where this is not possible at the present time the inspections should be reinstated once travel restrictions are lifted.


Any damage to the building or fitted security devices identified at the time of inspection should be rectified as soon as is reasonably possible.


You should also remove any accumulation of post from any letterbox during each inspection, along with any other action considered appropriate to minimise the risk the property can be easily identified as being temporarily closed. 

5. Update risk assessments

Review and update risk assessments for the property to reflect the temporary closure, focusing on any additional precautions that might be necessary to secure the premises and protect people from danger.


I would also encourage everyone to continue to monitor and follow the latest government advice, as the situation is evolving rapidly. 

About the Author

Steve M

Member since: 10th July 2012

I am Steve Mallows, the owner of thebestofcannock.I have lived in Cannock since moving down from Yorkshire aged 5 years.I am passionate about the Cannock area and helping local businesses. I have a keen...

Popular Categories