Commercial Insurance Articles
Blocks of flats insurance - a guide for property owners
30 Jun 2015
If you own a block of flats it obviously represents a significant investment, whether the market value is a few hundred thousand pounds, or a few million. So, if you’re a landlord or freeholder, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of having the right level of insurance in place.
As you might expect, many insurance claims from owners of blocks of flats, come from events such as water escapes, fire, subsidence, and storm or flood damage.
However, these are by no means the only risks that landlords and freeholders need to be aware of when arranging their insurance. If you directly employ even a single cleaner, caretaker or gardener, you also need to make sure that your insurance includes Employer’s Liability Cover; while no-one should ignore the risk of a visitor having a slip in the car park or a trip in a hallway, which can often lead to an expensive Public Liability claim.
The Importance of an Accurate ValuationIt’s important to understand that the valuation on your buildings policy has little or nothing to do with the market value of the building. Instead, the valuation figure has to accurately reflect the cost of reinstatement, or rebuilding (including debris removal and surveyor costs), should a major event such as a fire occur, or significant subsidence cause the building to be knocked down and rebuilt.
Many factors affect the accuracy of this figure, such as the method of construction used in the block of flats, and whether the building is Listed or not. That’s because major works on Listed Buildings can often involve the use of highly expensive materials and specialised craftsmen, pushing reinstatement costs far beyond the building’s actual market value.
Flats built with wooden floors, as opposed to concrete, are also likely to be more expensive to repair in the event of a fire or flood. Buildings with flat roofs will generally cost more to insure than those with pitched roofs, as they are significantly more prone to storm damage and ingress of water.
Choosing the Right Insurer
Insuring blocks of flats is very much a niche business, with very few specialists in the field. So it is always worth looking into a potential insurer before taking out a policy, by checking their Fitch Rating to ensure that they are financially stable, and also making sure that they are not among the many insurers who trade offshore these days.
Above all, insuring your block of flats is about peace of mind, so you need to make sure that in the event of a claim being necessary, your interests will be fully protected. It is also worth noting that your insurance has to protect the interests of leaseholders and their mortgage companies.
Working With a Specialist InsurerIt goes without saying that insuring a block of flats is a fairly specialised area. That’s why many landlords and freeholders come to Stride Limited. Not only do we have the rare distinction of being a Licensed Lloyd’s of London Cover Holder – making us one of only a handful of brokers to enjoy this privilege – we are also Delegated Underwriters and placement brokers for no less than six of Britain’s major insurers.
This means that you have the peace of mind that comes from dealing with an insurer of more than 40 years’ standing, plus access to policies from insurers such as AXA, who have won numerous awards for the fairness and efficiency of their claims handling process. After all, why insure with a company that makes it hard to receive a payout for valid claims?
Ensuring Your Policy is Tailored to Your NeedsAs you can see, there is a lot to consider when insuring a block of flats. That’s why, as a specialist broker, Stride Limited tailors each and every new blocks of flats policy to the specific needs of the owner. This ensures that you get exactly the cover you need, at the right price, and based on an accurate valuation: as being under- or over-insured will almost certainly leave you out of pocket in the long run.
You will also find that our block of flats insurance policies include all of the cover you need: automatically providing cover for costs such as alternative accommodation for leaseholders whenever necessary.
Just as importantly, we can customise your policy to include everything you may require, such as; acts of terrorism, should your block be in a high-risk area, to Directors and Officers insurance when the building is managed by a residents association, not to mention the mandatory annual engineering inspection that will be required should your block of flats have a lift.
So when you are looking for comprehensive protection at a competitive price, from a broker and insurer who understand the needs of landlords and freeholders, Stride Limited offers all of the bespoke cover and specialist advice you could ever need.