Skip to main content

How many conveyancers give the correct advice on building insurance ?

Do you advise your client on insurance or do you make it clear that you are not an expert on insurance matters and that the client is better talking to an insurance expert?  If you do advise I suspect  you make think differently when  you read through what follows.

In line with current conveyancing practice if you are instructed by the client to check an insurance policy and you agree to do so there is an obligation on you to check the following issues:

  1. Is the amount of cover adequate?
  2. Is the sum index linked?
  3. Are the risks insured adequate?  Cross referencing perhaps to the result of your environmental search result. 
  4. Have all particular features  of the property such as a thatched roof been disclosed and are they adequately insured?
  5. Is the property attached to an adjoining property, if so does the insurance extend to damage to a neighbouring property where practicable? 
  6. Does the policy comply with the buyers lender requirements?

Most leasehold properties are cowered by insurance put into effect by the Freehold owner.  The policy still  needs however to be checked in the same way.  Additionally there may need to be extra cover put into effect to cover damage caused by an uninsured risk.  The client may remain liable under the lease including the covenants to repair and pay rent.  Some policies do not extend to flats where a resident is claiming social security benefits. 

Though the need to check where a lender is not involved is something which I would not offer to do ( I am not an expert in this field ) I would always make sure that where the client is borrowing  the client is made aware of the lender requirements for insurance.  It would be negligent not to do so. 

A lender’s particular requirements, set out in part 2 of the CML handbook, will stipulate:

-whether the buildings insurance policy must be in the joint names of the lender and the owners of the property, or whether it is sufficient for the lender’s interest to just be noted on the policy the maximum excess which is acceptable to the lender

-whether the lender requires written confirmation from the insurance company that they will notify the lender if the policy is not renewed, or is cancelled; and

-whether the lender requires a copy of the buildings insurance policy, and the last premium receipt, to be sent to them

It is also necessary to make the client aware of the need to take care and not to make a misrepresentation to the insurer. 

So next time you come to consider insurance as part of the exchange process do keep in mind the above and make a clear decision on whether to take on responsibility for advising or whether to make it clear to the client that the time has come for the client to take advice from an insurance specialist.   This is something which you may wish to address and make clear in the terms of your retainer. 

MJP Conveyancing  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


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 …