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Why is armed forces unoccupied property insurance so important?

Why is armed forces unoccupied property insurance so important?


If you join the armed services, you typically may not expect to work a 9 to 5 job. What you do reckon on, in addition to irregular hours, is to be called away from home on exercises, other deployments, and tours of duty abroad:

  • the Royal Navy’s official website, for example, explains that tours of duty typically last for six months – with some pre-deployment training beforehand;
  • the Royal Air Force, for its part, explains that around 10% of its manpower is deployed overseas at any one time; whilst
  • a former serviceman in the Royal Army explains that tours of duty typically last for around 12 months – but that three month extensions to that period are frequently made when deployments involve combat situations.

Homes for servicemen

Spells of duty away from home or overseas leave potential problems with respect to the house likely to be owned and lived in by the serviceman and his family – especially against the trend in recent years for the military to sell off much of the housing it once owned, for purchase by members of the armed forces.

The home might now be owned by the serviceman, but what happens to the building and contents insurance when he serves a tour of duty overseas and leaves the property standing empty and unoccupied?

Over the last 20 years the MOD have gradually reduced its role as a major landlord with continuous one off disposals of what it has seen as surplus properties especially where those properties have been outside of or adjacent to (but not actually on) a military establishment.  These properties are now in private ownership as they were generally offered at a discount to serving personnel.

Another significant disposal of military property was completed in 1996 when the decision was made to sell off more than 55,000 military homes (spread across 770 different sites) to a private company Annington Property Limited who then subsequently leased these same properties back to the MOD.

As stated, a significant portion of housing for armed forces personnel may well be actually on, or adjacent to, a military base. But there is no guarantee that any of these are looked after by anyone when and if the properties have to be left empty. Sometimes different individuals will leave keys with a neighbour – and that is about it.

Armed forces unoccupied property insurance

An empty property is at its most vulnerable when it is left unoccupied for longer than a month or so.

An empty property attracts the unwelcome attention of intruders, burglars, squatters and even arsonists. Furthermore, when there is no one at home to spot and report a minor fault, an otherwise simple repair and maintenance job might run into a full-blown emergency.

To make matters worse, and in response to the heightened vulnerability, most insurers restrict or remove altogether the standard building and contents insurance that was likely to have protected the home. Typically, this is done once it has been left unoccupied for longer than 30 to 45 consecutive days (the precise interval depending on the policies of your particular home insurer).

That is why specialist unoccupied home insurance for military personnel has been developed to restore the safeguards you need to keep in place, to protect your home, when duty calls you away on manoeuvres or to an overseas posting.

The standalone armed forces unoccupied property insurance may be tailored to provide exactly the cover you need and may be extended to meet the demands of a service where deployments and postings are unexpectedly extended by your military bosses.