Block Management Tips: Saving Money on Building Insurance

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Saving money on buildings insurance is something every flat owner and Managing Agent is keen to do. Renewal premiums seem to continue to rise, in most cases due to water damage claims. Water related claims can cost flat and block of flats owners dearly with inflated premiums and excesses, and yet through proper risk management they can be avoidable. To help you save money on your buildings insurance premiums, here is some advice on how to avoid internal and external water damage, along with some other helpful tips.

Building maintenance and correct risk information

  • Check that your chimney, roof and pointing are in good condition
  • Secure any loose fence panels, including garden gates
  • Keep gutters free of debris and check them regularly. Make a record of these checks where possible
  • Timber floors, stairs and flat roofs are generally rated higher than concrete and will commonly have loadings to the premium by the insurer. Check the construction of the floors and particularly the condition of the roof, as this could save you money and is quite often a policy condition.

How to reduce the risk of internal water damage

  • Ensure all pipes and tanks are well insulated before the weather turns cold
  • Regularly check appliances that can cause water damage – showers, baths, washing machines etc as part of your routine maintenance
  • Where applicable, ensure your tenants know how to turn off the water and electricity in an emergency as this could reduce the chance of damage and fire
  • If your flat will be unoccupied in the winter or autumn months, even for a couple of days, then leave the central heating on at a low temperature to stop pipes freezing or bursting.

How to reduce the risk of external water damage

  • Check drains regularly, recommended annually, and where necessary clear them in the autumn and again in the spring. This will keep them free from leaves and stop water pooling
  • Look out for dripping overflow pipes, they can not only damage brickwork but can also be a sign of a defective cistern – a major cause of water damage in flats and a regular factor in increased buildings insurance premiums.

How to get the best price for your buildings insurance

When obtaining alternative quotations, check the cover is like for like and a fully comprehensive ‘block’ policy which includes Employees and Public liability cover. Also check the declared value or Sum Insured figure you are providing. If the Sum Insured figure is given as the rebuild cost rather than the declared value, then the Sum Insured amount can be up to 35% more than the declared value. Therefore the alternative quotation and premium offered could be significantly more as the declared value has been inflated by up to 35%.

Thanks to Fowler Penfold Insurance Brokers for this guest blog post!