Savills Insurance Services – Insuring your dream homeBy Frank Schmitz • Apr 24th, 2009 • Category: Company News
We are delighted to be able to offer our clients the first class services of our colleagues at Savills Insurance Services. Once you’ve found your dream property it is important that you get it properly covered. Without the right insurance policy, you could have problems when you come to claim and find out you don’t have the cover you thought.
What do you need to consider?
Wherever you choose to buy your holiday home, you’re not going to live there full time and need to know your investment is properly protected. Having the right insurance is all about understanding what assets you own, what liabilities you are exposed to, and what external events can occur which will put you at risk. Local insurance policies can include variations and exclusions relating to burglary, accidental damage or personal liability claims. In Spain, for example, natural events such as storms, floods or earthquakes are covered by a state-backed insurance pool, but the cover is restricted and you could end up footing a large part of a claim yourself.
Other pitfalls include inadequate levels of liability cover (Spanish, Portuguese and Italian policies generally provide £200,000 of cover – which will not be enough if a guest suffers a serious bodily injury), small-print which can leave you seriously out pocket (Italian policies normally only pay half the sum insured in case of earthquake damage) or theft cover which is restricted when the property is left unoccupied. Hiscox provides public liability cover up to £5 million, which also includes any staff you may employ to look after your property. Hopefully any claim you make will not be this serious, but even smaller claims – such as accidental damage to contents – can be problematic if it turns out that they are not covered by your policy.
To avoid disappointment when a claim occurs, check that what you assume to be covered actually is, and compare policies offered locally with those offered by UK insurers specialising in overseas properties. Don’t assume that what is covered under your UK home insurance will automatically be covered abroad, as the expectation of what should be standard cover differs greatly from country to country.
What level of cover do you need for your holiday home?
For buildings insurance, the sum insured should be sufficient to rebuild all buildings as well as all outdoor structures such as swimming pools, terracing or perimeter walls. This is often quite different to the price you have paid for the property, so it is recommended that you obtain professional advice. Selecting the market value as your sum insured may lead to underinsurance – in which case you will be penalised if a claim occurs – or to overinsurance, where you will pay unnecessary premiums. Check your policy to decide if you need to add an amount to pay for any professional fees.
Contents should be insured for their replacement value as new – not the value you paid for them or their second-hand value.
Should you protect yourself against being sued?
Most policies provide liability cover to protect you as owner of the holiday home should someone be injured by, for example, a falling roof tile. However if you rent out your property, or if you employ domestic staff, you should check that you have cover in place should a guest or an employee be injured.
How do you plan to use your holiday home?
Whether you plan to use your new home only for holidays, or to rent it out, you need to have confidence that your insurance policy gives you proper protection. In France and other countries, theft cover is often restricted if a home is unoccupied for more than 90 consecutive days, which is not much use for your home if it will only be occupied for a few months a year. Hiscox theft cover applies even when the property is unoccupied for extended periods and we will even pay your travel expenses if you need to get out there in an emergency.
What if you need to make a claim?
If you’re not fluent in the local language, making a claim through a local insurer can be problematic. At Hiscox, we have a dedicated team which specialises in overseas holiday homes. Not only are our policies written in plain English, but our claims team is UK-based and able to make decisions and settle claims quickly. If we want a local loss adjuster to visit your property, we will make sure that an English-speaking person is appointed to guide you through the process.
For more information please call Savills Insurance Services (Private Clients) team on +44 (0)207 330 8502 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org