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Public liability insurance - buildings or contents conundrum

 
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Perran



Joined: 31 May 2015
Posts: 25
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:03 am    Post subject: Public liability insurance - buildings or contents conundrum Reply with quote

We own a flat let for holidays and pay buildings insurance as part of our management charge. In May when we first started letting I took out contents cover from our broker by phone, as we already had another property with them it was easy to an add it on to the existing policy.

Last week the broker called and asked for payment, which i made in May and told me to complete a proposal form. Once i sent the form he replied saying

"I have also been asked by your insurers to point out to you that the legal liability for injury to your guests is provided in respect of the contents only with the buildings insurers providing the Property Owners Liability."

I queried this and was told

"The policy you have at present covers liability for any accidents/property owners claims in relation to your contents, your building insurers should pick up any incidents arising from a buildings claim and property owners in relation to the buildings. We recommend that you inform the buildings insures that the property is let on a commercial holiday let basis."

After checking the key facts summary for the contents policy it states cover is for

Liability to the public (£5,000,000) and domestic employees the same.

I will notify the buildings insurers as suggested.

But what I don't really understand is the public liability seems to cover accidents in relation to contents, if I have read this properly. Surely any accident or injury in the flat would involve the contents? Am I worrying unnecessarily here I really don't understand the complexities?
I think the only way to find out would be if you have to claim. Does anyone have experience of making a claim? I seem to remember reading somewhere the liability is under the buildings insurance.
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Sam V



Joined: 20 Nov 2009
Posts: 1625
Location: Villa in Gale, Algarve, Portugal. At home in Fetcham, Surrey, UK

PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm no insurance bod but I think you just have to view the insurances separately, buildings and the public liability associated with it would be covered/claimed if a window fell in and injured a guest, contents and its public liability would be if covered/claimed if your shower door shattered and injured your guest. That's of course if I've understood your dilemma?
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casasantoestevo



Joined: 06 Nov 2006
Posts: 3982
Location: O Saviñao, Galicia

PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You need PLI to cover every event and not just connected with contents.
It will cover you against the following claims:
Legal proceedings for things like compensation claims against you.
Cost of repairs to any of the guests possessions damaged in your property.
Hospital treatment, after an accident and if they choose to use their own private health insurance.
Damage, by guests, on your own equipment maybe be included.
No accident maybe covered by all contents That will depend on if they cover you for fixed contents or not. Sometimes fixed, like baths or kitchen cupboards are covered under building insurance.
I expect your management company will want to increase the fee to cover your rental.
What is covered in public areas like car park, gardens, stairwells or even lifts?
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Mas Nialgue



Joined: 10 Jul 2012
Posts: 111
Location: Reynes, France

PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to work in insurance. Buildings insurance covers the Property Owners Liability and Contents the occupiers liability and anything regarding the contents eg liability for a non-fitted fridge catching fire and damaging things.

Anything fixed to the building eg fitted carpets and appliances count as buildings and anything 'loose' contents.

Property Owners covers say a tile blowing off the roof and hitting a person or a car (provided you are liable, as is always the case.)

Your insurers should of course be aware that you are letting the premises.
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Giraffe



Joined: 26 Jun 2016
Posts: 391
Location: Cornwall, England

PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 11:33 am    Post subject: Re: Public liability insurance - buildings or contents conun Reply with quote

Perran wrote:

Surely any accident or injury in the flat would involve the contents? Am I worrying unnecessarily here I really don't understand the complexities?
I think the only way to find out would be if you have to claim. Does anyone have experience of making a claim? .


A few years ago I was sued for damages by a visitor who had put her fist through a window pane and severed an artery, her fault in my opinion. A long story but the whole court case and (reduced) damages came to £60,000, paid for by my insurance. No contents were involved.

I have joint buildings/contents insurance, but obviously you cannot. Suggest you:

. Check that your management's building insurance covers you for paying visitors.

. Check that all eventualities are covered by your 2 separate insurances. You don't want anything falling in between them.
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Perran



Joined: 31 May 2015
Posts: 25
Location: Cornwall

PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your comments.

I will contact the management company and find out the exact details of the buildings insurance in respect of public liability and advise them that we are letting the property.

I am not against paying extra premium if required as long as we are covered as claims could be very expensive, better to be safe than sorry.
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
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Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’m just trying to get my head around the terminology here - most aspects of insurance confuse me Rolling Eyes but my understanding is that what is typically included in a homeowner policy is liability insurance which covers a homeowner against a claim from a member of the public (the slate blowing off the roof scenario); the homeowner’s contents insurance will typically include liability cover if the homeowner causes an injury away from the home, say by hitting someone in the face with a tennis ball and breaking their nose. In both cases the insurance covers the individual against claims from a member of the public, but is not the same thing as Public Liability Insurance.

That may be rather simplistic but the key thing is the normal homeowner cover is Personal Liability Insurance which does not extend to a business activity, and would therefore not cover injury claims etc from paying guests. What’s required is Public Liability Insurance, which wouldn’t normally be part of a typical homeowner policy (why would it?). If you’re buying insurance specific to a holiday let business, it would normally include Public Liability Insurance.
If it’s not insurance for a business, it may well not include the insurance needed to cover what could be a huge injury claim.
It’s an important difference to check out.
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Mas Nialgue



Joined: 10 Jul 2012
Posts: 111
Location: Reynes, France

PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greenbarn that is not correct.

The scenarios you mention are all Public Liability insurance covering legal liability to third parties ie liability to members of the public.

That can arise as a result of personal or business activities, which is why the insurers need to be aware if the property is let.

If you employ anyone (cleaners etc) you need Employers Liability to cover them which is included in most policies for domestic employees and others if the property is let and the insurers are aware.

It is confusing!
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greenbarn



Joined: 30 May 2009
Posts: 5986
Location: The Westmorland Dales, Cumbria

PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mas Nialgue wrote:
Greenbarn that is not correct.

The scenarios you mention are all Public Liability insurance covering legal liability to third parties ie liability to members of the public.

That can arise as a result of personal or business activities, which is why the insurers need to be aware if the property is let.

If you employ anyone (cleaners etc) you need Employers Liability to cover them which is included in most policies for domestic employees and others if the property is let and the insurers are aware.

It is confusing!


Confusing indeed! Thanks for your explanation which makes sense to my simple mind. My confusion with the terminology is not helped when “third party” and “public” don’t appear to be synonymous, as in these extracts from an article from an insurer, which draw a distinction between Personal Liability Insurance as covering claims by a member of the public against an individual, and Public Liability Insurance covering claims by a member of the public against a business.

Quote:
Personal liability insurance, also known as third-party insurance, provides coverage for injuries or property damage sustained by another person. Say for example, a house guest falls down the stairs of your home or cuts themselves on a fixture, personal liability coverage will cover any expenses incurred due to legal action.


Quote:
Public Liability Insurance
Despite the excellent coverage most personal liability insurance policies provide, they don’t usually extend to claims arising from a business or profession. This is where public liability insurance comes in. In its most basic terms, PLI, as it’s often known, is designed to protect you if members of the public make some sort of claim for an injury or stolen/damaged property which occurred at your business premises.


The full article is here

There seems to be some ambiguity in how the term “Public” is applied which means for the lay person (me!) it would be very easy to believe that a standard homeowner policy would provide all the Liability cover we need when running a holiday let, when it most likely doesn’t.

Perhaps in order to be certain of having the correct cover we need to stick to one question and drop any mention of “public” or other qualifiers: "Does the liability insurance you’ve sold me include cover for my business activities?”
Plus of course, as you say - make sure the insurers know that it’s a letting business and not just a holiday home for personal use.
(Don’t get me started on the number of people leaping into the holiday let business without bothering with the costs of suitable liability insurance, not to mention fire risk and other safety measures, and undercutting the rest of us who take it seriously.... Please don’t get me started.... !)


At least I know that my specialised holiday let insurance with NFU provides the liability covers that I need for running a business - or maybe I need to check the small print...
Nah. Time for a glass of wine. Very Happy
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