There are many properties that cannot be covered by ‘standard’ buildings and contents insurance; it may be due to their structure, such as thatched or listed buildings, their circumstances, such as unoccupied properties or one that has suffered or is suffering from flooding or subsidence. Buildings that fall into this specialist insurance category; listed buildings, non-standard construction, self-build insurance, flooding, subsidence and unoccupied can be hard to insure but we pride ourselves on finding the right policy whatever the challenge.
Many UK homes are in areas that have or are at risk of flooding. If you live in a flood risk area, (you can check on www.environment-agency.gov.uk) it is likely to affect your home insurance premiums and you will need to get out specialist cover.
Because flood insurance claims cost insurers millions of pounds each year, premiums can be high, and in some most-at-risk areas insurers won’t offer cover, making it virtually impossible to renew or get a mortgage.
The insurance industry has recently reached an agreement with the government to cap flood insurance premiums from summer 2015, which should bring down the cost of cover for high-risk homes.
We can help find a flood insurance policy for your buildings and/or contents with the right level of cover and manageable premiums. We can also negotiate on your behalf if you have made permanent flood-proofing improvements to your home.
Subsidence is the settling of the earth’s surface as it sinks downwards. Properties in the South East of the UK are especially susceptible, as the most common cause is the shrinkage of clay in dry weather. Trees can also cause subsidence as they draw moisture from the soil. Unfortunately, you will probably have to pay a higher premium for your buildings insurance if your property is prone to subsidence, but we will be able to help find the right subsidence insurance for you.
Unoccupied properties are more vulnerable to break-ins, vandalism, squatters and water damage as no one is there to notice and limit the damage. If you are leaving a property unoccupied for more than 30 days, your standard home insurance policy will rarely cover any damage after that. If you are a landlord with an unoccupied property or know you are going to be away from home for 30 days or more you need to make sure you have adequate cover to protect your property and belongings.
We can arrange short-term cover for three, six, nine or twelve months, and extend it if needed. We will also take the time to look at your circumstances and talk you through the stipulations and clauses within your policy such as approved locks and burglar alarms. Typically, you will need to remove all valuables, drain the water system, switch off utilities, set the heating to avoid burst pipes, and regularly inspect the property. Unoccupied properties must be kept in a good repair, not dilapidated or boarded up.
Most unoccupied property insurance policies insure against damage from storm, flood, fire and theft. As the property owner, it should also cover you against liability if an element of your property such as a tree or roof tile damages someone else’s property. Some insurance firms can be reluctant to insure against malicious damage, and there might be limitations on theft and escaped water damage, so it is important to get the right advice to protect your property.
It can be extremely difficult to insure thatch properties, but we have the expertise to help.
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Whatever your situation, we have the expertise and attention to detail to ask the right questions and find the best policy for your home or business.