Insuring Overseas Property

Just as in your home country, it is important not to overlook the importance of insuring the building and contents of your overseas property. How do you choose between local companies and large international firms, all offering policies to suit your needs?

Firstly, it’s important to ascertain what you will be using your overseas property for. Will it be an occasional holiday home or a rental property? The best option is to find a specialist holiday home insurance policy, designed specifically for holiday home use and letting. But if your property is to be used as your permanent residence, a different policy will be necessary.

How to avoid the pitfalls:

  • If the property is not your permanent residence, don’t be tempted to purchase a straightforward home contents insurance plan. Be aware that if you don’t disclose that the property is a holiday home, the insurers may not pay up in the event of a claim.
  • Make sure you have public liability cover as this insures you against the event that a third party such as a friend or tenant injures himself/herself whilst on your property. Also, check the amount offered is sufficient to cover you or your family financially in the event of a claim.
  • Check your policy document carefully to ensure that you have the correct level of cover for your property. If you have bought a local insurance policy, you will often find that the cover provided is much lower than on a UK policy and you may be buying insufficient cover to make a claim.
  • Buildings insurance policies should cover all main threats including fire, storm and flood damage, as well as accidents such as burst pipes. It should also insure fixtures in fitted bathrooms and kitchens.

    If you have bought on a development, it normally becomes the responsibility of the community to insure the buildings; therefore, you will only need contents insurance for your property.
  • Check that any rebuild values stated on the policy document are not undervalued for your property, as you will never receive more than the quoted figure on the policy.
  • Remember to list any expensive personal belongings that are left in the property, and provide recent valuations. This will ensure that these items are covered in the event of a theft.
  • Make sure you have insurance in place for the day you exchange contracts. In many countries, the notary will insist on seeing the policy documents before the sale can be finalised.

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As with most services, it pays to shop around. Some policies cover you for loss of income should you lose rental income as a result of an incident, and they may provide alternative accommodation should you need to make a claim. Additionally, for buildings insurance incidents, some policies have a quota for flying you back to the property if necessary.

There is a lot to be said for dealing in your own language with well-established, professional insurance companies you can trust. Many UK based overseas property insurance brokers will arrange the correct degree of insurance for your needs, protecting you sufficiently in the event of a claim.

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