General Insurance Tips & Advice For Park Home Insurance
Here are some of our more general tips and advice.
For more specific advice please refer to the appropriate section on the Residential Park Home Insurance, Static Caravan Insurance or Holiday Lodge Insurance FAQ pages.
As jewellery claims are settled on the replacement cost of the damaged or lost item, if you don’t have an up to date valuation it can be extremely difficult to establish its value. Park Home Assist recommends you have your jewellery valued at least every five years as a precaution. It is also advisable to take and keep photos of particularly valuable items.
How to calculate sums insured for reinstatement
Reinstatement is an insurance term more commonly known as ‘new for old’ cover.
If you have this cover, in the event of total loss of your home, you should get a brand new equivalent home of a similar size and standard should it not be repairable, or if the cost of repair exceeds the cost of a replacement.
This cover does of course depend on whether your sums insured are sufficient to cover you to purchase a brand new replacement home; along with site clearance, delivery and re-siting costs. If they are not, then you do not have new for old cover! So you will be liable for the additional costs.
Too many people believe that they simply need to insure for the purchase price of the home from the manufacturer and forget that this does not include clearing away the old damaged unit, delivery of the new unit and the cost of re-siting the new home.
Our Park Home Policy provides you with up to £500,000 buildings and £60,000 in contents cover as standard and this includes the cost of site clearance, transportation and re-siting. If you feel that this level of sum insured is insufficient then please advise us before accepting or renewing your policy. It is imperative that you have adequate sums insured as this will affect you should you need to make a claim. So remember, when calculating sums insured you need to take into account site clearance and debris removal of the old home, the manufacturing purchase price of a new home, delivery costs and finally re-siting costs.
Remember if the sums insured are not enough to replace the home, it is not new for old cover, despite what is says in the schedule.
What is site clearance and debris removal?
If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a total loss claim, before your insurers can even consider replacing your home, they need to clear away the debris of your old home and if need be, repair the base of your home.
The cost of site clearance and debris removal can vary significantly according to the park on which you are located as well as your whereabouts in the UK. As most park home manufacturers are located in the Midlands, transportation costs will be higher if your home is sited in the South, or the North of the country. However, our policy covers this within your normal buildings sum insured.
What is re-siting?
Once you have purchased the home, cleared the site and the home has been delivered, we need to also allow for re-siting fees to connect your new home to electricity, gas and sewerage. The park will charge for this service and there may be an extra charge if you have a skirting around your home.
What is wear and tear and maintenance?
Wear and tear can normally be described as damage that has resulted from the home or object naturally reaching the end of its life. This is normally something that can be prevented if the home or object is regularly maintained.
Examples would be windows seals leaking/perishing. Damaged guttering not being repaired, which in turn causes water damage to the property, or the external paint cracking and allowing water to penetrate into the timber walls.
Wear and tear/maintenance is not something that is covered by any insurance company as it is deemed to be the responsibility of the owner. It is important that you ensure that your home is fully maintained. You will find helpful information regarding maintaining your home in some of the features which appear in our news section.
What is an excess?
An excess is the first amount you have to pay in the event of a particular claim. The excess is normally £100 or £250 for escape of water, or £1,000 for subsidence claims. You may also have a £2,500 excess for flood, but all excesses are detailed within your policy schedule.
The reason for an excess is to stop people claiming for minor accidents or losses as they fall below the excess limit. If there were no excess, clients could claim for relatively small amounts that would cost more in administration than the claim was actually worth. This might not seem like a good thing for the customer, but the extra cost in dealing with these minor claims would be recouped by increased premiums, which may be more than the claim cost in the first place.
Can I live on a holiday park?
In the eyes of the law, there is a clear distinction between a holiday park and a residential park. See our advice on buying a park home for more information.
Frost damage and escape of water can cause serious damage to your home whenever it is left unoccupied. So we advise that you follow our closing down recommendations if you are to leave your home unoccupied during the winter period from 1st November – 31st March when special restrictions apply to your insurance.
Between 1st April and 30th September, special restrictions apply after the home has been continuously unoccupied for more than 30 days.
Closing down requirements
Leaving your home unoccupied
When the park home is left without an occupant for 60 consecutive days or more you must ensure that a responsible person is appointed to supervise and check the property both internally and externally at least once every 30 days.
When the park home is left without an occupant for 60 consecutive days, valuables are excluded from this insurance.
Between 1st November and 31st March (both days inclusive) if the park home is left without an occupant for more than 48 hours you must drain the entire water system as a precaution to prevent freezing and any potential damage that may occur. If your park home has a sealed heating system containing antifreeze then this does not need to be drained but antifreeze levels must be checked annually and particularly prior to the period of unoccupancy. (Please refer to ‘Draining your water system for winter occupancy’ on page 6 of our policy wording). In addition all water tanks must be emptied by leaving both hot and cold taps fully open with plugs removed throughout the park home.
Alternatively, if you wish to leave the water supply turned on between 1st November and 31st March (both days inclusive) you must ensure:
The entire home benefits from a gas, oil-fired, geothermal or full electric central heating system (not night storage heaters) fitted with automatic controls and a separate thermostat. The system must be set to operate continuously for 24 hours of each day (not controlled by a timing device) and the thermostat set to not less than 13 Celsius, and all internal doors must remain open throughout the park home and, where fitted, the loft hatch left open.
If the heating system as described above is installed and additionally fitted with a ‘frost stat’ that is designed and installed to override all the heating controls, irrespective of their functional status, then this may be set to operate at no less than 4 Celsius. In addition, turn off the water supply.
Flooding affecting Cumbria (Storm Desmond) in 2015 and large parts of the country in 2007 will still be fresh in the minds of many people. This type of event can be surprisingly quick to develop and we often hear tales of less than 20 minute warnings of a river or stream bursting its banks.
Be prepared to evacuate your property and think about where you can go for safety – will the route be passable?
Know how to turn off your gas, electricity and mains water supplies
Prepare a flood kit of essential items such as a broom, spade, mop and bucket; domestic detergent and disinfectant; rubber boots, gloves and protective clothing; waterproof torch and radio; bottled water for drinking
Agree where you will go and how to contact friends and family
Think about which items you can move to a safe place for later and which are essential items for you to have now
Create a list of important numbers including Floodline 0845 988 1188
You can sign up for Floodline Warnings Direct by calling Floodline on 0845 988 1188 or by visiting the Environment Agency website.
Advice during a flood
Safety comes first! Think about evacuation before it is too late to move. Make sure you follow any advice or instructions provided by the emergency services.
If floodwater is about to enter your home, turn off the gas, electricity and water supplies if it is safe to do so. Do NOT touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water.
Gas and electricity supplies should remain switched off until a qualified professional has checked the system thoroughly. Wiring, appliances and pipe-work should also be inspected for safety and efficiency.
Keep listening to local radio for updates or call Floodline on 0845 988 1188
Move irreplaceable personal or sentimental items, such as photographs – as well as portable items – to a higher location in your property to prevent loss or damage
Also check your garage to see if any items can be moved
If possible, raise ground floor furniture on blocks or bricks to minimise the risk of damage, or stack it on top of tables, worktops etc.
Please check your policy for the appropriate telephone numbers to report your claim
Advice After The Flood
We have access to a wide range of specialists who can assist with the drying out and clean-up of your property and also the necessary repairs or replacement.
If there is any chance that electrical sockets have come into contact with water, switch off the electricity at the mains but only if it is safe to do so.
If your electricity is switched off following an incident, make sure that a qualified electrician checks the electrical installation before it is switched back on.
If your gas has to be turned off, make sure that a Gas Safe registered tradesperson checks the gas supply before the gas is switched back on.
Do not throw away any items until we, or our loss adjuster, tell you it is OK to do so.
Make a list of any damaged items that you need to throw away before you dispose of them. Take a note of make and model numbers, and take photographs of any damage if you have a camera to hand.
Wear appropriate clothing and gloves when handling anything that has been contaminated by flood waters. Remember floodwater often contains sewage, so take sensible hygiene precautions.
Carry out any emergency repairs to protect your property from further losses. If you’re unsure whether the cost of repair is covered under your insurance, contact us.
Personal Possessions Cover
Whilst you are covered for the contents of your home and the buildings, you should consider covering items of particular value or those you take away from home regularly under the optional personal possessions cover. This covers items for accidental damage and accidental loss away from your home. These items can be glasses, cameras, mobile phones, valuable watches, rings, bracelets, necklaces and even hearing aids. You are probably more likely to lose or accidentally damage these items than have them stolen.
With this option you can either specify each item (if they are of particular value) or you can have unspecified items up to a couple of thousand pounds – if the items vary each time and you’re concerned about the loss of a handbag and its contents.