What insurance does a block of flats or apartments in London need?
Residents’ Management Companies often take on the task of arranging buildings insurance on behalf of their leaseholders. Ensuring your block of flats or apartments are adequately covered is a major responsibility and ensuring a competitive price as well as comprehensive protection for leaseholders’ property can be quite a challenge.
Most importantly – Residential Buildings Insurance
First, it is important to ensure that your Declared Value (or reinstatement cost) is adequate and that the cover you obtain is thorough enough to safeguard the interests and investment of your owners. Building materials and labour costs continue to rise and it is vital to ensure that you take out insurance based on an up-to-date reinstatement assessment. Re-valuations should be carried out at least every five years by an experienced valuation surveyor who will take into account any changes or improvements made to the property as well as the inflationary increase. Many wrongly assume that if the cost of repairing their property under a claim is less than the sum insured, it will automatically be paid. This is not true: payouts are based on the level of cover being adequate to reinstate the whole block of flats or apartments.
The second (and vitally important) thing to remember is that policies are not all the same. The company presenting the cheapest deal may not necessarily provide the level of cover you need. Check that these basics are automatically included
- “All Risks” cover (including subsidence)
- Employers Liability Insurance
- Public and Property Owners Liability cover
- Alternative Accommodation or Loss of Rent
- Loss of or Damage to contents in communal areas
- Lessees fixtures and improvements
- Loss or unauthorised use of Metered Utilities (Water)
- Cost of tracing leakage of oil or water
- Damage to underground Pipes and Cables
- Unrestricted cover on vacant or rented flats or apartments
- Machinery break down
- Damage to fixed glass, shower trays and sanitary fittings
- Storm damage to fences and gates
- Legal expenses
- Replacement of communal door locks following theft of keys
Most residential buildings insurance policies have a minimum of £1,000 subsidence excess. However, the excess for all other damage is usually negotiable. The higher the excess you choose the lower the premium will be. You should ensure that the description of the property insured is accurate and includes cover for the outbuildings, gates, fences and underground pipes and cables and anything else that the Residents’ Management Company is responsible for insuring.