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Dangers of buying online insurance for listed properties

Some online direct sales and price comparison sites may be failing to provide the correct cover for listed properties. Firstly, they are designed for speed and so do not ask all the questions necessary. When insuring a listed property it is vital to take into account the construction materials used, whether there is any historical movement to the property, the construction date, whether it is thatched – a whole list of important questions need to be addressed. When you purchase the policy you may assume that the search engine has asked all the necessary criteria to provide you with the correct quote – wrong! READ THE SMALL PRINT.

Make sure you are covered for your needs – a policy specifically for listed property, maybe with timber frame, non-standard construction – your property has a unique blend of requirements and you will probably need a bespoke policy. You may assume that by default, if listed properties are not mentioned, they are still insured. This is not necessarily the case and you may find yourself with an invalid policy, and you may not find this out until you try to claim!

Also remember to look at material disclosures – this is another potential downfall of online insurance. All insurance policy contracts and conditions require you to disclose any material facts which might affect the policy cover: so even if the insurer did not ask you whether your property is listed or timber built, it is a material fact and you must tell them, whether they ask or not! Ensure that all relevant facts are stated and agreed in the policy document. With out this, you could again be the unwitting owner of a useless policy because you have quite innocently omitted to mention facts relevant to the insurance of the property.

It is therefore always safer to complete an old fashioned application form. It is even better if you can deal with someone who is a specialist, professional advisor to owners of listed properties. Seek advice, ask for guidance and consider the risk you are taking on all that is dear to you if you do not have the appropriate insurance cover. Would you really want to risk your home to a talking animal or a demented singer?!

Posted on 22nd February, 2010