Skip to main content

Is property indemnity insurance over used in conveyancing?

There seems to be a tendency these days to take the easy route whenever a problem with title arises.  Rather than carrying out investigation to inquire whether an alternative solution exists, an increasing number of conveyancers are turning to indemnity insurance to ‘plug the hole’.

I can understand the reason.  Conveyancing fees are being squeezed and there is pressure to move transactions quickly and with the minimum of case handler input.   On top of this is the increased pressure we all receive from clients to ensure there is minimum delay during the process.   Clients generally have only two priorities when moving home - to move quickly and at little cost.

It is often easier for a practitioner to ask the client to pay for the indemnity policy than to ask for extra fees to investigate other solutions.

I question however whether taking out indemnity cover is always the right decision to take.  Take for example the lack of building regulations.   Yes insurance is available to cover the cost of enforcement action but this does not address whether the loft conversion for instance is structurally safe.  I recognize this should be pretty evident to most of us but there is wide spread ignorance of cover afforded by indemnity policies.

In my view insurance should be viewed as a ‘last resort’ solution and one that should only be used after investigations of other solutions are at an end.  Yes this would mean extra work but if the reason for this is explained then there should not be any problem obtaining money from the client.  

Conveyancers should always check the terms and limitations of policy cover; failure to do so could result in a negligence action.  Conveyancers should also when a lender is involved consider the policy of the particular lender relating to the use of such policies.  If a policy already exists always check it against the current valuation of the property and consider if necessary top up insurance.

My other issue with indemnity policy is that there is no register to check whether a policy on a property has been previously established.   It would not take too much for the Land Registry to make it a requirement that policies activated on a property should be noted on the title.

Perhaps another answer is the adoption of a property logbook – as a firm we have developed an electronic logbook into which we upload for clients all documents (including the indemnity policy) relating to the property and which they will need when they come to sell.  We also include a loyalty voucher to ensure as best we can that the client comes back to us in the future.  If anybody wishes to know more about this product please feel free to email me

Morgan Jones and Pett are solicitors who provide legal advice and services to clients based in England and Wales and who can be contacted on 01603877000 or via email at


behanroald said…
In my view insurance should be viewed as a ‘last resort’ solution and one that should only be used after investigations of other solutions are at an end. Yes this would mean extra work but if the reason for this is explained then there should not be any problem obtaining money from the client.

Popular posts from this blog

Party Wall Act Costs - Protecting the building owner from the Highwayman

One of the most worrying aspects of entering the Party Wall Act 1996 (Act) arena is the uncertainty surroundingfees, or as they are referred to within the Act -‘costs’.
If you are fortunate enough ( or some might say lucky enough) to have at your side a competent party wall surveyor, and one with a moral compass, the chances are you will derive a certain degree of protection.However, there is still no guarantee you will not need to set aside a considerable sum of money to cover the cost of becoming trapped within the Act.This applies equally to both building owner and adjoining owner, and one must not forget that if an adjoining owner’s surveyor does not recover all of his costs from the building owner, there is every possibility the adjoining owner may be left to meet the remaining liability.
The problem of high, unreasonable and unpredictable costs is caused, in part, by a piece of malfunctioning legislation, and patly as a result of certain unconscionable conduct on the p…

Building Regulations and moving home

Do I have supply evidence of Building Regulation Approval in respect of works carried out to my property when I look to sell my property?
If you have the approval then of course supply it – it will help to ensure your sale moves quickly.
If you have carried out works and approval was required and sought and you no longer have a certificate then call the issuing council and ask for a duplicate.
If you have carried out work, and the work required building regulation approval, but this was not sought then you need to consider with your solicitor when the work was carried out and what to do in response to your buyer’s request for sight of the approval.
The following may help.
Check that work carried out actually required building regulation approval as not all work attracts the requirement.
If the building work was carried out before November 1985 it would not require building regulation approval. There is no need therefore to supply it or offer indemnity insurance.
If work was carried out af…

Do not purchase a New Build Property without first reading this....

Buying a property which has yet to be built, or which is newly constructed should be approached with care and here are some tips which will help:
Remember those friendly and helpful people within the sales offices are sales people and are no different from those people who you would find in car and double-glazing showrooms.  They are paid on results and work under the pressure of targets.   Once they have you signed up they will be your best friend and be in regular, sometimes daily, contact until they have collected all of you money.   There are many instances when this shadowing could be conceived as harassment.At the outset you will be asked about whether you have a mortgage and a solicitor to undertake the legal work.   You will be steered towards making use of the developers preferred brokers and solicitors.  These are ‘partners’ who have been chosen to work with the developer as the developer expects those partners to report to them regularly and to do all they can to ensure the …