Many people who live in flats think they do not need to worry about insurance cover, as typically, they will pay for block flat insurance as part of their service charge to the freeholder.
The freeholder is the owner of the building and buying a block policy to cover the whole building typically may be advantageous to them, particularly when it comes to cost.
If you live in a block of flats (and are therefore a leaseholder) you should be aware that you may still be exposed to financial risk in the event of an insurance claim. This is because the block buildings policy often does not cover your fixtures and fittings.
The fixtures and fittings in your flat are items in your home that are secured or bolted to the floor or walls of your home. For example:
Without adequate insurance, in the event that something happens to your fixtures or fittings (for example, a fire or flood), then you may well find that you have to find the cost for replacement or repair of these items out of your own pocket – which could be very costly indeed.
If your freeholder has taken out a block buildings insurance policy and it does not cover fixtures and fittings, then you have a number of options:
The ideal solution would be for the freeholder to provide adequate cover, however if this is not possible you may dispute their choice via a leasehold valuation tribunal. If you cannot resolve the situation or find yourself responsible for providing buildings insurance as the leaseholder (which is common when insuring converted blocks of flats) then talk to one of our advisers and we will happily guide you through your options.
In addition to the basic buildings cover, consideration should be given if the property is let out as to whether a specialist landlord insurance policy is more appropriate. A landlords house insurance policy will extend covers to include not only the basics such as liability but also loss of rent and landlords contents.
Finally, even if your freeholder has a building insurance policy that covers your fixtures and fittings, don’t neglect to cover your own possessions to via home contents insurance.
Imagine if disaster struck and the contents of your flat were damaged or destroyed. Do an inventory of everything you own – this should include things like the sofa, your bed and furnishings, as well as clothes, electronic devices, kitchen equipment and even CDs etc. Without cover, you would need to replace these items or get them repaired – which could work out very expensive indeed.
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