Archive for Property Insurance

Thinking of Letting Your Property? Things To Consider When Buying Landlord Insurance

If you are thinking of letting out your property, it’s important to familiarise yourself with your responsibilities as a landlord. These are clearly stated in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985. Under common law, landlords have a duty to ensure the safety of their let property and its contents and that no injury or damage can be caused to the occupants, neighbours or the public.

Abiding by the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985

The act states who is legally responsible for repair and maintenance areas within the property, even down to the responsibility of a blocked sink. And, abiding by this act goes above and beyond your business insurance policy and lettings agreement. This would also include regular maintenance checks; ensuring all electrical systems are in a safe condition and meeting IEE wiring certificate regulations, as well as the annual servicing of the boiler.

Finding tenants

Finding suitable tenants to occupy your property is obviously a priority to get cash flowing in. This is also particularly important as many insurers will not provide cover unless you have a tenant in the property. The type of tenant could also effect your insurance; some providers won’t insure your property if it is let to students for example. It is also advisable to check references from previous landlords, and credit check new tenants.

Whilst you can advertise your property in local newspapers or even shop windows, there are a number of benefits of using a lettings agent. Not only can they make the process quicker and easier, they will also advise you on the terms of the contract, financial aspects of the letting process and other legal issues. This does come at a price though (usually a percentage of your monthly rental income).

Getting the right insurance

Once you have found your tenants, you’ll need to make sure your investment is protected through an insurance policy that covers your needs. It’s important to understand the cover that comes as standard and the benefits of optional extras that can be added so that the policy is tailored to your specific needs.

Generally speaking, material damage cover is included in most policies and covers loss or damage to your property from a number of hazards such as fire, lightning, flood, water damage from a burst tank or pipe and even accidental damage.
Property owner’s liability also comes as standard within most policies and covers costs that you may be legally liable to pay if anyone suffers an accidental injury or their belongings are damaged in connection with your ownership of the property.
If rain leaked through the ceiling and damaged the tenant’s television for example, and you were found liable for not maintaining the property, then the property owners liability aspect of the policy may cover a claim made to repair or replace your tenant’s television.

Of course, accidents can happen which are out of your control. But to provide you with peace of mind, accidental damage cover within your insurance policy could help protect your asset. More unusual benefits are offered by some insurers too, helping to cover your investment in a range of situations. Cover against theft or accidental damage to the property by the tenant(s) is one example.

Finally, if there are any changes to the property such as new tenants, or an upgrade to your fixtures and fittings, you will need to tell your insurer. If you fail to keep your policy up to date, the cover may become invalid.

Small Business Insurance For Motor Trades and Traders

Motor Trade Insurance For Small Business Explained

Thousands of people are employed in motor trades in the UK from car washers to mechanics, used car dealers to mobile car tuners, garage owners to coachbuilders, and the list goes on…

The number of motor trades is expanding as fast as the technology. Insurers now have to cope with motor trades as diverse as ‘telematics black box fitters’ to ‘remote crypton tuners’. However complex it may seem to a new mobile mechanic looking for cover, commercial motor trades insurance is actually a straightforward and optional component based risk as Dave Healey explains……………….

If you work in trades associated with cars or the automotive industry there will likely be times when you will need to drive cars that don’t belong to you. For example moving new stock around in a car dealership or test driving a customers vehicle after you have carried out some service or maintenance on it.

Driving cars in this manner for business purposes clearly cannot be allowed under a normal private motor insurance policy, however it would be impractical if not impossible to add named vehicles onto any type of policy in the course of your normal days work.

Road Risks Insurance

For this reason a special class of commercial motor insurance exists called motor trade road risks insurance. The cover this policy provides satisfies the Road Traffic Act to enable the policyholder to ‘drive any vehicle’ in the course of their business, and if they choose for social, domestic and pleasure purposes as well.

A motor trade policy offers the most flexible driving cover available and nearly every scheme can be tailored to a particular motor trade’s road risks.

Road risks insurance is calculated differently from private motor premiums where the declared value of a car is used for rating. In a road risks policy the trader sets a level of indemnity or amount that he wishes to cover himself for driving other vehicles. This could be as little as five thousand for a part-time used car dealer or mechanic up to a hundred thousand for a valet in a Ferrari Dealership for example.

A new car dealership of prestige cars would need a policy that not only covered the cost of replacing a new car should it be written off but also an extension to cover members of the public test driving the car accompanied by a named driver. However a used car dealer working from home or a mobile mechanic would only need basic road risks cover with perhaps a tools cover extension. Many road risk policies vary in what is considered basic cover and motor traders should be aware of extra covers such as legal protection and windscreen covers, as they would with a normal motor insurance policy.

Motor Traders with premises such as forecourts or shops will require what is known as a combined motor trader policy. This is simply a basic road risks policy allowing employees and named drivers to drive any vehicle combined with other risks that a motor trader might face, such as liability and property damage.

Motor Traders Liability Insurance & Combined Covers

Liability insurance forms the basis of a combined motor traders policy, in particular product and public liability which covers your business against claims from members of the public to who you have supplied services or parts or who have suffered injury whilst visiting your premises.

If you employ any staff in either workshops, garages offices or out on the road in commercial vehicles or vans, you are required by law to have employers liability insurance cover in force. This cover protects your motor trade business against claims from employees and staff who might suffer an accident at work and claim against you in the courts.

Full combined motor trade insurance policies offer motor traders buildings and contents commercial property insurance cover for garages, workshops, office contents, machinery such as car lifts and compressors and tools, shop cover and stock.

Additional options such as business interruption insurance is available to cover catastrophe situations such as a fire where you may lose all your stock, or group personal accident which will cover members of staff against accident and sickness.

Anyone who works in the motor industry can apply for a motor trade insurance policy. Policies are available for car dealers, car valets, parking attendants, mechanics, body repair shops, service garages and motor parts shops, to name but a few trades eligible.

Motor trade cover is available to all small businesses including sole traders without premises and people working from home and on a part-time basis.

Compare quotes from a few companies before you buy a motor trader insurance policy. Premiums vary widely however the best UK commercial insurance brokers have access to a wide range of specialist motor trades schemes and Lloyds underwriters, which are invariably much cheaper.

Originally published by: for Insurance Blog

Could Flooding Become A Fundamental Risk in The UK?

For those UK underwriters and loss adjusters watching the scenes of devastation caused by hurricane Irene and particularly flooding in states like Vermont, they will be glad that their insurance company does not have to pick up the bill.

They needn’t have worried though because in the United States Flood Risk is considered fundamental and cannot be covevered under a normal home insurance policy as such…as yet!

In fact all home insurance flood risks are the responsibility of each State to provide under a national scheme. In the United States, uniquely in the developed world, insuring houses against flood damage is the sole province of the federal government.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), was created in 1968 by Congress and is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is virtually the only place to get protection against the ever increasing disasters of flood and storm surge.

From an insurance point of view the program is the same as any other private-sector insurance program.

You pay the government a certain amount and when a flood happens, receive coverage for repairs and losses.

As of June 30, the program had nearly 5.6 million policies in force with a total insured value of $1.246 trillion. But from a fiscal standpoint FEMA does not manage the NFIP like a traditional insurer.

Most insurers use a measure of solvency that looks at their capital and reserves and their ability to pay claims. In particular, regulators require insurance companies to keep a statutory reserve of liquid assets to cover potential future losses. FEMA, on the other hand, has said it manages the NFIP to generate enough premiums to cover expenses and losses for an average loss year, rather than keeping capital for the long term.

In other words it does not keep enough reserves! And guess what? It’s run out of money!

Apparantely former agency officials admit it charges rates that dramatically underprice the risks faced. That is all well and good in a normal year and when business is good, but when a worse-than-average loss year happens, the consequences are disastrous.

Folowing the disatrous hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, the NFIP was more or less insolvent, without the capacity to pay the huge volume of claims those hurricanes created. Congress reacted by increasing the NFIP’s borrowing ability from the U.S. Treasury more than 13-fold, to a level of nearly $21 billion. That debt burden is, by all accounts, unsustainable.

While Irene was no Katrina, it comes on top of serious Midwestern flooding that the program has already had to deal with this year. Some people believe NFIP will stretch its debt boundaries and may well end up needing more assistance. “It may be a little bit too soon to tell but it’s certainly not going to be a very good year for the NFIP and we’ve not finished the year yet,” said Robert Hartwig, an economist and the president of the Insurance Information Institute (III).

Hartwig said a private insurance market for flood coverage is absolutely possible, with plenty of insurers and reinsurers willing to get into the business – but only if the NFIP raises its rates and if insurers get assurances from state regulators that they will be able to do the same.

Insurance Blog wonders if given all the recent flood claims in the UK due to climate change and the pressure to build houses on floodplains, whether Flood Insurance will at some point become a fundamental risk in the UK for some homes?

The UK Government would be well advised to consult with construction companies, environmental scientists, climatologists, pressure groups and Insurance companies before we reach the crisis about to hit the US Treasury.

The solution is simple – do not solve the UK housing problem by building on floodplains or areas of geographical risk.

Home Insurance Money Saving Tips

How can you reduce your Home Insurance Costs?

When it comes to home insurance, many people simply accept the first quote that they are given without ever looking for alternatives.

However, there are several things that you can do to help reduce the cost of your building insurance and contents insurance.

Obviously, depending on where you live your home insurance is always going to cost a certain amount, but it is definitely worth taking steps to reduce your costs as much as possible.

Were your calculations accurate?

When you take out insurance, you will generally be asked how much you want to cover your home for.

For example, when you take out building insurance you will have to specify a value in case the worst should happen and your home needs to be rebuilt from scratch.

Many people are unsure about this and, as such, the figure they give is inaccurate; quite a few people could reduce their costs by making this more accurate.

Do you have good security?

Something else that affects the cost of your home insurance is how safe your property is. Simply put, the safer it is, the cheaper your policy will be. Of course, there is very little you can do to reduce the amount of crime in your area, but you can do things to secure your house. For instance, good door locks and bolts can help to improve security, as can burglar alarms, gates and even CCTV.

Did you shop around?

As mentioned above, a lot of people never shop around for their home insurance and simply stick with the same provider. Often, though, it is possible to get cheaper insurance if you shop around, or even by asking your current provider if there are any other deals they could offer you: the worst they could say is no so it’s definitely worth giving it a go.

Making Business Insurance Decisions Easy for Business Owners

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions. If you are starting out in business or reviewing your initial company procedures and processes you will be faced by an endless choice of decisions to make.

Whilst the potential rewards of running a successful business drive them onwards, there are many challenges faced by small business owners, especially during the initial outset of the business when methods and procedures are being put in place. None more so when trying to navigate through the vagaries of business insurance risks and covers, which vary widely depending upon the type of business you engage in.

So where do you start to try to understand the risks that your business might face and the types of insurance that are available to protect your business from these risks?

Fortunately this has been recognised by specialist small business insurer, Hiscox who understands that business owners want to focus on what they do best – running their business.

So they have created a Business Insurance Decision Tree in the form of an infographic to help steer small business owners through the different types of insurance available to them.

The Hiscox Business Insurance Decision Tree looks at variables such as whether you work from home or in an office, how many employees you have and what type of property you own, suggesting applicable cover which best suits an SME’s (Small to Medium Sized Enterprises) needs.

So whether it is office contents insurance for damage to property, employers’ liability for those with employees, professional indemnity insurance when offering advice, or public liability insurance, the Business Insurance Decision Tree can help clarify which insurance is suitable.

The Business Insurance decision tree

The Business Insurance decision tree makes getting the right cover easy! Click to view

Hiscox SME Underwriting Manager, Deepak Soni, comments: “SMEs are experts in their area, but we don’t expect them to be experts in insurance, that’s what we are here for. No two businesses are the same, so the Business Insurance Decision Tree is a useful tool to help SMEs understand the risks they face and get the right cover in place.”