Insuring your European property – are you protected?

In 2005 Britons spent more than £6bn on houses abroad – a figure which is steadily increasing despite the credit crunch with predictions that within the next few years over 1 million UK citizens will be purchasing property abroad. For those looking to acquire property in Europe under the current uncertain financial climate, adequate insurance protection for your investment has never been more important. Surprisingly over 90 precent of Brits insure their overseas property in local markets, often taking policies out at the last minute on the recommendation of a local estate agent or solicitor. Local insurers frequently are unable or unwilling to provide a policy wording in English and consequentially it is not uncommon for their British customers to have little understanding of the level of cover actually provided. In the event of a serious loss it is crucial to ensure the claim situation, which is already stressful, is not complicated by language issues or cultural differences. Extended periods of unoccupancy and renting out of a property are common situations for Brits with a second or holiday home and, unless this is specifically agreed in advance, many local policies will not cover this scenario. It is also vital to check exactly what you are covered for and ensure benefits such as accidental damage, subsidence and earthquake damage, trace and access and loss of metered water or heating oil are not omitted from the policy. Even if agreed in advance with a provider in countries where these situations are commonplace, many policies will then require onerous and frequent inspection requirements which may prove to be totally impractical. Unlike the UK insurance industry, finding appropriate local quality insurance cover can become difficult with issues such as language barriers, unfamiliar legal systems, inadequate cover and time consuming claims processes. The culture and level of service provided and expected in the UK is rarely available abroad and problems often don’t materialize until a claim is made and often this is too late. Take time to consider a specialist tailored insurance product, like the one we offer at Tonic Underwriting (www.tonicunderwriting.com) to ensure your investment is appropriately protected. It should offer high levels of coverage and immediate protection together with a claims service which is available around the clock. Tonic provides cover on an extremely wide range of risks many of which are not always available in the local market including garden landscaping after damage, upgraded security after theft, fine art and antiques to mention but a few. In short your property fits your personal requirements, make sure your insurance policy does too. Contact us for details of the specialist insurance cover we can arrange - The Porchester Group, 77 Brook Street, London W1K 4HY Tel: +44 (0)20 7529 1980