Flat Owners Need to Be Aware of Insurance Covers they Don’t Need

There seems to be a policy for everything, including home contents, cars, pets, travel and even appliances. That’s why it can be a bit confusing. 

The big question is, are you completely certain that all the insurance covers you’re piling up are necessary or are you just doubling things up? You don’t need to have multiple policies for a single risk because you probably won’t receive multiple payouts. Furthermore, there’s no provision to claim over and above the lost amount. 

In most cases where duplication arises, policies are given away for ‘’free’’ or at a price seemingly tempting. This mostly happens for travel covers, breakdown covers and mobile phone insurance. 

It is relatively easy to find yourself checking ‘yes’ as you skim through the quote you found online and getting things as extras. It easily skips your mind that your bank could be offering these ‘extras’ for ‘free.’

Therefore, you need to be completely aware of your policies because it will ultimately save you some money!

One of the core things to do is ensure that all your information is up to date, including all the medical declarations on your travel cover plus the registered mobile phone number and latest emergency contact. It is your responsibility to do so. For example, a travel insurer may not offset the bigger bills like emergency medical care in the event you forgot to declare certain medical conditions. Don’t be surprised if you realise that they check with your GP!

A common but surprising duplication of insurance is buildings insurance for flats.

According to Deacon, a specialist flats insurer, many leaseholders contact them for building insurance quotes, forgetting that it is not often up to them to arrange for it. 

Sometimes, these leaseholders forget that they could easily be paying for the cover via the service charges, hence no need for further spending. 

James Collins, Deacon’s Managing Director contends that many leaseholders pay premiums for years only to realise the error once they reach out to them because they then advise them accordingly. 

So, our question to Deacon was when it comes to specialist brokers in flats insurance, who is responsible for what and when to insure a block of flats. Here is what they had to say and we paraphrase: 

Essentially, a flat leaseholder doesn’t have to take out insurance, but they have to ensure that they arrange for their personal contents cover.

In most cases, the leases claim that it is the responsibility of managing agents, joint holders, freeholders or the management company to take out the cover for the entire building. After this, they recoup the premiums via the service charges. 

When an individual leaseholder takes out building insurance, it would be improbable for it to payout. The reason is these individual leaseholders don’t have any right to commission any repairs. 

It will be the duty of those legally responsible for maintaining the building to make any claims under the flats insurance policy. 

The question is, how is it that some leaseholders, unfortunately, find themselves paying for cover they don’t need out of pocket?

There is no straight answer. However, once a policy is active, people habitually renew the contracts without confirming they need it. 

In some cases, the available comparison site engines don’t easily recognise could be for a flat. These sites will still allow you to request a quote for contents and buildings even if they do. You only have to click on the button. 

The takeaway here is that everyone should be careful to inspect the insurance we own and what it covers. When in doubt, always reach out to a specialist broker team for help. If you know what you need, then online quotes could just work for you. However, talking to a person could prove more vital. 

It is important to note that all contents of communal areas are the responsibility of the freeholder. This is mostly included in a written policy for the building, which comprises the number of flats, the fixtures and fittings in the flats, excluding the personal possessions of leaseholders. 

You shouldn’t assume that the clauses in the policy cover your personal belongings. It is only for the communal contents and it stops at your front door!

The reason why your flat insurance is different and mostly better

Sometimes, you can find covers that are tailored to suit blocks of flats with a policy, which is specifically crafted for leasehold flats. Furthermore, they will only be available for owners of the property. 

In case of any extras, owners may have to part with further premiums that are mostly included on the standard policy. It can apply to whether you live in a small conversion or a large block. 

For instance, Deacon offers blocks of flats policy that includes cover for storm damage, alternative accommodation of necessary fences, Japanese Knotweed and higher costs for tracing water leaks, in case it spread over several flats. 

Bottom-line is, even though you don’t have to arrange for the cover yourself, you may have to part with more share of the premiums via service charge bills. Furthermore, it is always wise to check what you pay for.

Does it cover what it is supposed to? Did you go through the terms and conditions? What are the limits and exclusions? Are the advantages outline above included? If not, you may have to ask the agent or management company to source for alternative quotes prior to the upcoming renewal.