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Property Insurance

Introduction

If you have a home abroad - whether to live in permanently, to use as a holiday home or kept as an investment - you are likely to need some form of property insurance.

In some places this can be difficult to obtain. For example, places susceptible to flooding or hurricanes.

In some places, the law requires you to have other insurance. For example, against eartquake risk.

In many cases, the fabric of the building - the roof, walls, hallways etc - will be covered by a communal policy, the cost of which is shared by al of the owners in the building. This is, typicaly, the arrangement in the case of a clock of apartments. In these cases - once you are satisfied that the communal policy exists and is adequate - you may only need cover for the contents of your property.

In other cases, you will need full cover

All of this can be a little confussing, if not surprising.

Types of Policy

There are many different types of policy. They often bear little reseblemce to the types of policy with which you are familiar at home. If you are going to take a 'local' policy you should take advice from a good mortgage broker who can explain, calmly and in detail, exactly what is covered. Very few people do this. It is too boring! It is also difficult to find a broker who speaks English well enough to have this highly technical conversation with you. Some foreign insurance companies, however, now have policies written in English, which reduces the problem. Check whether they also have an English speaking claims handling service.

An alternative is to use a UK based company, which issues policies in English and deals with claims in English. This often appeals to not only UK buyers but also to US buyers buying property in Europe. These policies are often (but not always) a little more expensive than a 'local', policy but many are prepared to pay a little extra for all of that additional convenience. Of course, you still need to check that the company is reputable and substantial and the policy meets your needs.

Disclosure

In almost every country it is the responsibility of the person seeking insurance to make full disclosure to the insurance company. Failure to do so is likely to invalidate the insurance. There are two key, but often unexpected, things you must disclose.

Is the property ever vacant. If it is to be empty for more than X days per year (X varying from company to company and country to country but, often, 30) you will need a diferent (and more expensive) type of property insurance because the insures say - probably fairly - that this creates a higher risk of theft, flood damage etc.

The same applies if you intend to let (rent out) the property.

AssistanceNext steps

Please look at the Legal Guides, videos, MP3 seminars and other materials set out to the right of this page.

If you would like us to help you, please complete our Client Pack and send it back to us. We will contact you to clarify your requirements and then introduce you to the person most appropriate to deal with your case.

If you do not find the information that you need, please send us an email explaining your problem and we will contact you.

© The International Law Partnership Ltd. Page last revised 5 Feb 2010

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