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How to Protect Yourself with Property Insurance

How to Protect Yourself with Property Insurance

For any investment, having a dependable level of insurance is always important; but when it involves property which could cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, then reliable insurance is paramount. Whether it is to cover property damage, or injury caused to an individual when on said property, it is always best to be as comprehensively covered as possible. In order to make the most informed decision possible it is essential that a property owner knows exactly what types of property insurance are available and when they might be liable for damages. Types of Property Insurance Considering all of the above, choosing insurance cover should incorporate any likely eventuality which could leave an individual open to severe financial liability. This in itself can be a trick subject to understand; but there are some great resources out there in making these considerations, including on the Hamilton King Twitter page, where articles on various property issues are often posted. The decision then to choose which type of insurance is appropriate usually comes down to a handful of insurance plans. Insurance types include: Homeowner’s Insurance: This type of insurance is also known as hazard insurance and applies to private residences. In reality it is a combination of different personal insurance plans which can involve building damage and contents loss. The scope of each homeowner’s insurance plan differs depending on the provider but can often include liability insurance which protects against other parties being accidentally injured while on a property. Renter’s Insurance: Essentially, this type of insurance offers similar protections as home owner’s insurance minus any covering of damage to dwellings. Automobile Insurance: This form of insurance covers accidental damage to any car and can also include theft coverage. Personal Umbrella Insurance: An umbrella insurance policy provides additional coverage for any costs beyond those stated in other policies such as homeowner’s insurance. In effect, this means that if one insurance plan only covers up to a certain amount then the umbrella insurance will cover the remaining amount. When A Property Owner is Liable One of the best ways that a property owner can protect themselves against liability is to know exactly which situations they would be required to pay for in order to cover damages. With this knowledge, it is then possible to identify the type of insurance needed without going over the top and insuring in areas which do not require such a...

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Hamilton King Highlights the Cost of Escape of Water Damage

Hamilton King Highlights the Cost of Escape of Water Damage

It goes without saying that buildings insurance is one of the staple requirements of successfully managing a property. Covering everything from fire damage to break-ins and vandalism, buildings insurance will prove invaluable, should a disaster strike. Hamilton King, a property management company has developed this guide that takes an in depth look at one aspect of buildings insurance that every landlord should ensure is written into their policy – escape of water damage. What follows is a breakdown of escape of water damage policies, and the extent of the costs should your policy not cover escape of water. Property Management Hamilton King is a property management company based in Enfield, North London. The role of a property manager can cover a variety of tasks that landlords with large portfolios would otherwise struggle to find the time to complete. For instance, a property management company may perform all necessary health and safety inspections, as well as the necessary wear and tear maintenance that landlords can expect. Getting Covered Buildings insurance for landlords is usually a different kind of policy than that given to homeowners, because you have an extra factor to worry about – your tenants. Many products exist on the market to give landlords a full range of options, but it is important that you do not try to save money now by purchasing a cheaper policy, only to lose out later on when you try to make a claim. Also, if you are renting your own home out, you need to inform your insurer otherwise it will invalidate your current policy. Typically a good landlords’ buildings insurance policy will cover everything from public liability, to avoid nasty personal injury claims, right the way through to loss of rent and emergency repairs. If in the case of furnished properties, you might want to take out contents insurance for your furniture too, to be replaced on a like-for-like basis if needed. Finally, make sure that the insurance policy you choose covers escape of water damage, which is different to other types of damage caused by water. Defining the Damage Reading the terms and conditions of every insurance policy you take out is going to be vital to ensuring you can make a claim. Water damage is separated by most insurers into three distinct causes, and not every policy will cover each kind of damage. A regular misconception occurs during particularly...

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Hamilton King Guide to Storm Damage and Insurance

Hamilton King Guide to Storm Damage and Insurance

Even in the UK, storm damage can pose a serious threat to properties. As any property developer should know, insuring against damage to the buildings in your portfolio is incredibly important. The last thing that anybody needs is to have to pay extravagant repair costs as a result of high winds or flooding. Below is a short guide to ensuring that you and your properties are prepared in case of severe weather. Contracting a Property Manager In addition to performing inspections and general maintenance, property management companies provide financial services too. This includes organising building insurance and making sure that clients are covered for every eventuality. Rely on pages like this review of Hamilton King to learn more about the company that you are about entrust your properties to. For true peace of mind, choose a reliable property management firm that can protect your assets. Make Sure You Have Cover In 2012, the wettest recorded year for England and Wales as many as 1300 customers a day claimed for storm damage from their insurers. All told, the amount that UK insurers paid out that year was as high as £1.19 billion, so make sure that you are amongst those able to make a claim by getting comprehensive buildings cover. The weather might have been particularly harsh three years ago, but insurers are always expecting the next big storm to hit and are prepared to help millions of customers across the country recover and start rebuilding their homes and businesses. As a landlord, be prepared for the next time a big weather front moves in. Making a Claim for Storm Damage Getting building cover from an insurer is a straightforward process, and most policies automatically cover damage to the property as a result of storms, however a common sticking point between insurers and their clients is reaching a common definition of what a storm might be. Typically, a storm is considered a storm for insurance purposes when it exceeds a certain high value on the Beaufort Scale, which assigns wind speeds a value between 0 and 12, with 12 being assigned to the strongest gale force winds. When making a claim for storm damage, you will soon discover that wind speed is critical to determining whether the claim qualifies. If your property has been damaged during a storm but your insurer deems the wind speed to be too low, no...

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New scheme promises to increase access to flood insurance

New scheme promises to increase access to flood insurance

Flooding is a significant problem in the United Kingdom. There are four main forms of flooding, all of which the UK experienced during a two-month period last year; these include groundwater (when the earth becomes saturated and cannot retain any more water), fluvial (when the banks of a river break), flash (when drainage systems cannot cope with surface-level water), and finally tidal (flooding from tidal rivers and the sea). This natural disaster is particularly common in England; currently, more than five million English properties are at risk of flooding. Firms like Hamilton King Management, whose business information is available here, are perhaps more aware of this issue than most, as these kind of companies often provide buildings and contents insurance for the properties they manage, and are regularly tasked with initiating claims on behalf of those whose homes have been damaged by floods. The most problematic aspect of this particular type of natural disaster is the cost associated with managing flood risk and dealing with the aftermath of it. On average, these two expenses cost the UK about £2.2 billion annually; approximately £1.4 million of this is allocated to damages, with the remaining £800 million being spent on coastal and flood defences. Furthermore, the level of flood protection we currently have can only be maintained over the next two decades if the government’s spending on flood defences increases by £10-£30 million each year. By 2080, the total amount spent on flooding could rise to £27 billion. In a bid to address the expense of flood damage, the government has announced plans to launch an initiative called ‘Flood Re’. Flood Re was first recommended by the insurance industry in 2011, with insurers declaring it to be the best long-term solution to the current problems associated with flood insurance. After much debate, an agreement between the Government and the industry was reached two years later. When launched, it will operate as a not-for-profit, and serve as a reinsurance fund which will be both managed and owned by the insurance industry. The purpose of this fund is to ensure that residential properties located in the areas of the UK which are most prone to flooding will be able to secure reasonably-priced flood insurance, as part of their buildings and contents policies. Additionally, it is hoped that Flood Re will also help insurers, by protecting themselves from large scale losses during natural disasters....

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Protecting your property against vandalism

Protecting your property against vandalism

A primary concern for many landlords is damage to the property. This is normally protected by a tenancy agreement, in that tenants have a responsibility to look after their home as if it was their own. However, random acts of vandalism, not caused by tenants have always plagued rental properties, particularly those in areas of high crime rates. Vacant properties are even more at risk from vandalism but there are things that landlords can do to help protect their assets. Find a Building Management Company A physical presence is often enough to dissuade would-be vandals from targeting a property. The Hamilton King LinkedIn page highlights some of the services that the company offers, including regular building repairs and maintenance as well as providing building insurance. Having a building management company like Hamilton King perform regular inspections of a vacant property will put off trespassers, not just by being on site periodically, but the company will also spot any vulnerable spots that can be exploited. Broken windows and collapsed fencing act as welcome mats to criminals and ordinarily these would be ignored by a landlord if the property is vacant for a long time. Problem areas such as this will be immediately flagged up by the estates team of a management company when they perform an inspection and landlords can act quickly before they face more vandalism. Passive Measures Taking an active role in preventing vandalism to your property would obviously be effective, but there are a number of extra security measures you can take to help reduce the risk even further. Potential for triggering an alarm is a very real and present deterrent to trespassers, unless the property is particularly isolated then an alarm is going to attract the attention of neighbours. The police will no doubt follow shortly, although by then some damage might have already been caused and the perpetrators will have fled the scene. Hopefully, the fact that a building has an alarm should be enough to stop anybody entering in the first place. Again, CCTV can be useful in stopping vandalism before it happens especially if the cameras are obvious, although it is going to be more useful in providing evidence if something does occur. Reporting Vandalism If physical deterrents have not succeeded in keeping vandals at bay, then you should go to the police immediately upon finding evidence of damage. The law takes vandalism...

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Implications of Unstable Soil Foundations

Implications of Unstable Soil Foundations

Soil movement can cause serious problems for property owners, serious cases of subsidence have caused homes to collapse completely as the soil underneath the foundations slides lower and pulls the house with it. Less common, but still an issue, is heave whereby the soil moves upwards, which causes similar damage. Spotting an area of subsidence and acting quickly can help prevent damage to structures. Subsidence Surveys Slides from Hamilton King, a property management company, highlight the importance of completing a subsidence survey, should you think that your property is at risk of subsiding. The company is responsible for the business and residential properties for an extensive portfolio of clients and regularly carry out structural surveys as well as performing any necessary repairs. What follows is a useful guide to unstable soil foundations and what can be done about them. Natural Causes of Subsidence Various factors can contribute to the subsidence of residential properties. However, over three quarters of the subsidence claims in the UK have been attributed to soil shrinkage which can result in gradual downward movement. Soil shrinkage occurs in two ways that will depend entirely on what type of soil sits underneath the property. Non-cohesive soil is sandy or made up of other larger particles that are not susceptible to volumetric change but are liable to be washed away. This creates a natural space that will cause upper layers to fall down. Alternatively, rapid volumetric change in cohesive soil will also cause soil shrinkage. Clay is a prime example of a cohesive soil that changes its volume depending on how much water is in the ground. When clay dries out it will shrink, creating a vacuum that pulls upper levels down. Any vegetation in close proximity to houses built on clay soil can mean bad news for the property owners. The way trees draw water from the ground using their complex root network can trigger subsidence in a big way, some mature trees draw 50,000 litres from the ground per year, causing serious soil shrinkage. Artificial Subsidence Manmade factors in subsidence are slightly more predictable, however many property owners have been caught out by sudden cave-ins in long forgotten mine shafts that run under the foundations. A famous example of manmade subsidence can be seen in Staffordshire, where The Crooked House pub is four feet lower on one side than the other. The building was constructed in...

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