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“Contents Insurance Warning”

For those of you not fortunate enough to be on Merit Estates (Yorkshire based land agents and chartered surveyors) mailing list, then you will have missed a valued first hand account by Will Parker MRICS following a major loss at his family home and his advice to you.


We were unfortunate to suffer a significant fire in our family home at the beginning of March resulting in a 95% loss of our possessions. Fortunately, the building insurance has been more than sufficient to cover the cost of repair including fees and VAT; often overlooked by clients.

Our WARNING to issue to clients is that contents insurance policy often includes similar hidden costs. Not many people are aware that the cost of removing their contents and skip hire is included in their contents cover, not buildings cover. We were forced to rope in the help of friends to help us clear the house to avoid the charges of expensive crisis management companies and removal men. Although our contents cover was sufficient to replace our contents, it was not enough to cover such charges. In addition to this, we came very close to our ‘Value at Risk’ limit. If the Vale at Risk had exceeded our Declared Value, we would have been penalized in the cover with a pro rata reduction of cover for every pound we were over. In such a circumstance, even if you don’t consider an item as insured (those tatty old wellies and coats in the back cupboard for example), your insurer will consider them as part of the Value at Risk and punish you accordingly.

Our advice and warning is as follows:

– Keep a detailed photographic inventory of all major items and store remotely.
– Don’t just adjust contents annually by inflation. Consider those items purchased in the year in addition to inflation, for example birthday presents and Christmas presents; including the value of gifts received.
– Add a reasonable sum for the paid removal/restoration of all items and skip hire. We spent £1,700 on skips alone.
– Add extra cover for the help of a professional in assembling the claim. Our farm policy allows for £5,000 worth of professional fees to help assemble a claim. This takes the pressure of the policyholder in a time of crisis.

As a company, we use the service of Johnson Insurance to assist with our insurance matters and that of our clients. The use of a broker not only guarantees suitably tendered cover, it also offers help in the event of a major loss.

Extract taken from their Summer 2020 E-Newsletter which you can sign up too here

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Johnson Insurance Services is a trading name of Johnson Insurance Services Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) under firm reference no. 784664. Johnson Insurance Services Ltd is registered in England & Wales no. 10822509 at Tower House, Fishergate, Yok, Y010 4UA