Home Insurance - Really confused

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by chump, Apr 27, 2016.

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  1. chump

    chump
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    Myself and my brother are joint executors on my late Mums property. It is currently uninsured. In a couple of months my brother will be buying out my half of the property (buying it off the estate) and it will then be let out.

    In the interim the property is being house sat by my Auntie. She spends the day there and sometimes sleeps there overnight. She owns her own house which she continues to pay all her bills as normal. We do not charge her any money/rent to stay there as she is doing us a favour looking after it.

    The problem I'm having is getting the property insured. I can't get an 'Empty Property' policy as someone is technically living there nor can I get a regular insurance policy as nobody is living there as their main residence.

    So what the hell do I do. I've got a house sitting there uninsured and some insurers I've phoned just don't have a clue what I can do??

    Thanks
     
  2. MrSossidge

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    Could you download a tenancy agreement of the Internet. Charge her nominal rent of £1 per month. Then you should be able to get insurance I'd have thought.
     
  3. dimmockg

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    hi chump, a friend of mine is an underwriter for a reasonably well known home insurer. I am seeing them tomorrow and I'll put your quandary to them and see what their response is. Apologies for asking, but did your late mother not have insurance in place as I'm pretty sure an insurer would be able to agree a short term transfer of interest or amend to the executors in view of sale/estate retainment
     
  4. chump

    chump
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    Yes I also considered this but in the event of a claim I'm sure the loss adjustor would do some digging and find that my Auntie is in fact technically 'living' at her own address. So it wouldn't be worth the risk. But thanks!
     
  5. chump

    chump
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    Many thanks. Yes her own insurance company granted us a 'grace' period untilprobate was granted to us on 1st April. As we are now owners they will no longer insure the property. They have confirmed this :(
     
  6. MrSossidge

    MrSossidge
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    Hhmm. OK. Then I'd suggest contacting an insurance broker. See what they suggest. They may have a better idea.
     
  7. chump

    chump
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    I've phoned a couple and they simply don't have an answer. I don't think the situation is 'computing' with their normal insurance models....I will have to persevere as I'm losing sleep with the house sat there which could burn down at any time....!
     
  8. DPinBucks

    DPinBucks
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    I think you could insure it as unoccupied. Your aunt has her own main residence, and only occasionally sleeps at this house. Unoccupied insurance policies demand that the place be visited frequently, say at least once a week: yours is simply visited more often. I can't see that would worry an insurance company: they're actually getting more than they insist on.

    I suggest you try them on that basis; or even apply specifically for unoccupied insurance, after carefully reading the terms of the policy. I'm willing to bet they don't exclude frequent temporary visits.
     
  9. chump

    chump
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    Again thanks for the idea. However the policy exclusions for unoccupied insurance state that all services have to be turned off (electric, gas and water) otherwise you're not covered for any water leaks/damage....

    However I do now have 2 brokers who finally appreciate the situation looking into it. I might have to take out a specialised policy. They're going to let me know tomorrow. Bloody headache sorting it out though! :D
     
  10. imightbewrong

    imightbewrong
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  11. DJT75

    DJT75
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    There's thousands of holiday homes in this country, how are they insured? Assume you can call it a holiday home which has an occasional guest?
     
  12. DPinBucks

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    Are you sure?

    We currently have my late mother-in-law's house insured as unoccupied, and we have all services turned on. Heating especially is required on a tick-over basis to keep the place aired and to prevent freezing. In any case, would the slight risk of damage not be worthwhile? Surely limited insurance is better than none at all?

    This also begs the question of why your aunt needs to be there at all, except for occasional visits. Admittedly, it's none of my business, but wouldn't the solution simply be to have her visit occasionally and not stay?
     
  13. chump

    chump
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    ".....- escape of water unless water gas or electricity supplies are turned off at the mains (and for the period November to March inclusive all water tanks, pipes and apparatus drained) unless required to operate an automatically operated central heating system...." - this is the exclusion.

    How would you interpret it?

    Does it mean all 3 services have to be turned off or just 1 of the 3.

    What about the central heating system? Does a central heating system HAVE to have any of these services on even when not being used?

    It just seems a little ambiguous to me?
     
  14. chump

    chump
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    Unfortunately this is more due to the effect the bereavement is having on her than anything. (it was her twin sister and she cared for Mum during her last few months living there with her) We're allowing her (willingly) to stay there until she feels ready to leave. She is doing it gradually and is also helping to look after the house, clean it and look after the cat that still lives there which she'll be taking with her when she does eventually leave :)
     
  15. lucasisking

    lucasisking
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    If your aunt stays there part time you can insure it as a family second home (which will be cheaper than unoccupied insurance). When you are ready to let it out, get your insurance company to change the occupancy to 'let' (if they can't, just cancel and replace with a landlords policy).

    Most insurance companies deem a property to be 'unoccupied' if it is unused for 30 consecutive days. If your aunt is there more frequently than that, then it is a family second home.

    Unoccupied insurance is the most expensive of all as, obviously, there's nobody there to mitigate any loss should it arise.

    Re the turning off the water clause. Most insurers (and this applies to second home or unoccupied policies) require the the water system is turned off and drained OR the central heating maintained at a constant temperature in the winter months. This is to prevent water pipes freezing and expanding (rupturing the pipes) when its cold.

    My advice: ask a broker to arrange a second home policy with a flexible insurance company that can switch to let occupancy when you get a tenant. Let insurance is also cheaper than second home insurance, so you'll get a reduction.
     
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  16. chump

    chump
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    Thanks for the brilliant explanation :thumbsup:. One of the brokers did mention the family second home thing but needed to speak to the underwriter to confirm a few details. So I am hopeful that in the morning they will be able to supply a suitable policy :smashin:
     
  17. RBZ5416

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    Please forgive the thread hijack but in a similar vein:

    My Mum is currently hospitalised following a car accident, with little realistic chance of her ever being able to return home. However, slim as the odds may be I can't go ahead & sell her property, just in case. So I'm also left with the insurance dilemma, although this one seems more clear cut as it's unoccupied.

    My question for @lucasisking (or anyone else) is how to go about sourcing a policy provider? It seems that none of the familiar names operate in this market, so it feels a bit like sticking a virtual pin into the Google search results. Is this an area where online purchase is best avoided in favour of using a broker?
     
  18. lucasisking

    lucasisking
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    There are probably online companies that can provide unoccupied insurance, but yes I'd recommend using a broker if you're unsure. You can explain your circumstances to them face to face and they can find the most appropriate policy. Often the specialist insurers in this field aren't the big names you might be used to.

    Unoccupied insurance (as mentioned earlier in the thread) is usually a fair bit more expensive, however quite often companies can offer short term alternatives such as 90 day or six month policies. This gives clients breathing room while they consider what to do with an empty property (eg sell/ let out/ renovate), without them having to commit to annual cover.

    Unoccupied insurance has similar terms to 'regular' household insurance, however there are a couple of differences; sometimes the excess is a bit higher; and usually there's a warranty that you (or a representative) visit/ inspect the property on a regular basis. The winter heating clause will also apply requiring that you shut down and drain the water or keep the heating going at a constant temperature.

    So yes, go to a couple of brokers and get some advice/ quotes. There's no obligation and they wont charge you for their time. Good luck.

    PS. sorry to hear about your mum, hope she recovers.
     
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