When a cherished friend or family member passes away and their property becomes part of the probate process, ensuring the proper care of their estate is paramount. Given the unique nature of each case, navigating the legal requirements and paperwork can often be a lengthy ordeal, which can mean the property remaining unoccupied for extended periods.
During the probate period, the responsibility falls on the executors to safeguard the property. Even well-maintained homes can deteriorate rapidly when left vacant. Additionally, vacant properties are often attractive targets for criminals, necessitating investments in security measures like burglar alarms or lock replacements, which can lead to unexpected expenses.
BLW Insurance Brokers can provide you with insurance for probate property insurance, along with practical help and advice on securing and maintaining the property and estate during this transitional period.
What is probate?
Probate is the process of administering a dead person’s estate. This involves organising their money, assets and possessions and distributing them as inheritance, after paying any taxes and debts. If the deceased has left a Will, it will name someone that they’ve chosen to administer their estate, known as the executor of the Will.
Importance of insuring properties in probate
The executors are responsible for the stewardship of the estate, making sure it is looked after and this includes insuring the property of the deceased. Probate can be a lengthy legal process and properties can remain vacant for long periods of time. Making sure you have the right insurance for the property can be key to protecting the property’s physical and financial stability.
There is not only the risk of structural damage caused by fire or storm but also emerging risks such as theft of metal, and injury to trespassers and urban explorers.
Metal theft continues to pose a significant challenge, despite the introduction of new laws in 2013 aimed at regulating the scrap metal industry. Thieves specifically target copper wiring, lead roofs, garden ornaments, and various other metals. The high prices of metals contribute to the threat of unoccupied properties being targeted for theft of copper cabling, metal roof coverings, and other valuable materials.
Further, if a trespasser sustains injuries at a vacant property, and the cause is due to the property owner’s or manager’s negligence, the owner or manager may be held responsible for damages. Risks such as uneven ground, ongoing renovations or faulty electrics can pose a serious threat. This circumstance not only places the property owner or manager in jeopardy of legal prosecution but also subjects them to potential payment of damages in accordance with the Occupier’s Liability Act of 1984.
Thirdly, Urban explorers, or ‘urbex’, are a group of people, who like to explore closed, empty or derelict buildings, like churches, old country houses, and theatres. They don’t think of themselves as trespassing but just curious explorers. However, whilst the unspoken rule of urban exploring is “take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints”, with its rising popularity, not everyone may stick with these principles.
While this might make things sound rather bleak, it’s important to understand the risks faced when you’re responsible for unoccupied property. The advancement in technology can help address some of the risks outlined above, helping you to enhance the security and safeguarding of vacant properties. There are highly efficient intruder, flood, CCTV, scaffold, and fire alarms available that can function without relying on external power sources and be monitored remotely.
Features of our insurance for property in probate
While arranging the relevant insurance might sound a daunting prospect, BLW Insurance Brokers provides straightforward Probate Property Insurance, featuring higher building cover limits, pro-rata cancellations and refunds, optional contents insurance, and other additional benefits. To improve accessibility, solicitors can directly manage our Probate Property policies, streamlining the process and alleviating concerns for executors.
Properties in Probate – What is and isn’t insured
With the property likely to be unoccupied for longer periods of time, often the cover you typically can purchase now will exclude a lot of the risks that you are likely to face. Here we give you the details of the key covers included under our policy wording, as standard.
|Property In Probate Cover Levels
|Any amount specified in the schedule
|From £10,000 upwards
|Up to £5million
|Escape of Water
|Storm or Flood
|Theft (including attempted theft)
Factors affecting Probate Property Insurance
Insuring a property under probate has many similarities to insuring your own home, the main exception being that the property is usually unoccupied. Insurance is priced on several factors which, when applied to the insurer’s own experience, allow the insurer to produce their terms and price. Some of these factors include the following;
- Property Condition and Age, including construction and structural integrity.
- Location. The geographical location and natural features – rivers, lakes etc.- can determine how likely a property is to flood or move.
- Security Measures, including details of alarms, locks, monitoring & inspections.
- Claims History, have there been any previous claims made on the Property insurance?
- Additional Covers. Are there contents which need to be insured at the property?
It is worth considering these aspects ahead of contacting us for a quote. If you have access to a copy of the current or previous insurance schedule this can be useful but is not essential.
How to get a quote for Probate Property Insurance
The quickest way to get a quote is to give us a call on 01702 543 306. Our expert team have both the skills and experience to give you the advice you need to get the right cover quickly and efficiently.
We know you might be able to find something similar online, but we believe that there is considerable value in talking to an insurance broker who can help collect the information required, understand the risks faced and match you with the right cover, thereby giving you the benefit of expert advice, explaining cover features, and answer any questions to give you the assurances you need that the right cover is in place.
The foundation of our bond with clients, many of whom have been longstanding partners, rests on trust. We are passionate about providing a professional, personable and efficient service for our broker partners and direct commercial customers. We dedicate ourselves to preserving and enhancing the service standards they’ve grown accustomed to over the years.
Dealing with the loss of a loved one is an emotional time. Add to that the stress and complexity of dealing with the Will and estate of the deceased, insurance is often not on people’s minds. Most standard insurance policies do not cover unoccupied houses making them unsuitable for property in probate. Without specialist insurance, you could be leaving the property at risk from theft, vandalism, escape of water, storm damage or other perils.
BLW have the ideal solution, that gives you the cover you need at the time you need it. Our Probate Property Insurance gives the executors and relatives the help they need. Get in touch today on 01702 543 306 to find out more.