Edward Winiarski, James Hampden’s UK Divisional Director looks at the benefits of using a UK based Insurer and why things may still be better in the UK when it comes to protecting your valued assets in Spain.
It may just be Marmite and HP sauce that ex pats miss when moving abroad, but another area where the UK is still undoubtedly best is in the protection of your valued property in the sun!
When buying abroad, whether a holiday or retirement home, everyone needs to know their investment is properly protected. When it comes to insurance there can be local variations in cover and language difficulties. To be safe rather than sorry one needs to compare policies offered locally with those offered by specialist UK brokers and insurers.
It is difficult to get exact numbers on overseas property ownership, but statistics show that between 800,000 and 2 million Brits own property abroad….…and this shows no sign of slowing. Figures show in excess of 100,000 per year are buying…...although, probably not currently in Spain!
These buyers often don’t realise they can buy a policy from the UK Insurance Market, in fact less than 5% insure with a UK broker or insurer. Sometimes buyers are told by developers or lenders that they have to insure locally, but this is simply not the case.
There are some obvious benefits to insuring with a UK broker or insurer. Policy documentation and claims service will be in English.UK insurers and Hiscox in particular, offer wider covers than those available in Spain. Many features that UK clients take for granted are not standard on local policies.
Accidental Damage, for example is frequently not included in policies sold outside the UK. Also, each nation has its own peculiarities where for example in Spain a government backed insurance pool covers natural perils such as storms and floods but claims are often reduced through underinsurance or wear and tear!
Service levels tend to be higher with UK based brokers and insurers and documentation tends to be more comprehensive showing clearly what is insured and the terms and conditions of the insurance contract.
Policies sold in the UK have the protection of the UK regulator and policyholders have access to the Financial Ombudsman should a dispute arise.
Hiscox are a specialist insurer offering an extremely wide scope of cover at competitive rates for most ‘ex pat’ and holiday home destinations around the world. They are familiar with local insurance customs and legislation including taxes, licensing and regulation.
Their covers are flexible, not everyone has a swimming pool! Why reinsure the structure if it’s insured by a community policy…there are ways around this.
Perils insured can include accidental damage and full cover is available for natural perils over and above the government backed insurance pool here in Spain.
The Hiscox range of policies offer cover with no ambiguities written in plain English, payable in Sterling or Euro .Hiscox offer ‘Interest free’ credit over 12 months for policies issued in Sterling through a UK bank account.
They have a high financial security rating and local representation and will be acceptable to your lenders if you have, or are considering, a mortgage.
They are well known for an exceptional claims service, with a ‘speed of settlement’ guarantee to pay interest on claims over £2,500, if monies are not paid over after 10 days from the claim being agreed! Claims are dealt with in English via the UK, or if more serious in nature via G-Risk, a specialist firm of Loss Adjusters based in Spain. Hiscox claims have Spanish speaking staff too!
Hiscox subscribe to the Financial Ombudsman who’s services are available should a dispute arise.
Why James Hampden?
James Hampden is a UK based Lloyds Insurance Broker with substantial interests within the EU and worldwide as far as Australia. We are fully regulated by the FSA in the UK for the sale of general insurance.
Our Private Clients Department based in Leicestershire provides a high quality, personal quotation and advisory service to ensure that all clients receive a policy totally appropriate to their needs.
James Hampden has chosen Hiscox as our preferred product supplier for Overseas Homes Insurance as we believe the combination of wide, unambiguous cover and exceptional claims service is without parallel in the Overseas Homes market today.
You can contact us via this website or call Direct on 01530 565000 from the UK or 00 44 1530 565000 from Overseas.
Please quote reference OH/1021 eyeonspain!
Remember, discounts are available if your UK property also is insured by Hiscox. Having the same insurer removes scope for disputes between insurers as to who insures what……….. so it really is the smart option!