Building Insurance – Property Owner Liabilities
Introduction – as the owner or occupier of a building, you may find yourself subject to a public liability insurance claim and it is important to know the various covers afforded to you under Buildings & Contents Insurance Policies. Whilst a large number of liability claims that are submitted cannot be proved, it is worth remembering that the cover also includes payment for the costs of defending the claim, this can often turn out to be rather expensive in it’s own right. The liability covers under Buildings & Contents Insurance tend to be part of the core wording and thus you are not charged any additional premium for their inclusion. In some cases you may be able to increase the limit of indemnity if you feel it is required.
When calculating your premium, your insurers, unless you have told them otherwise, are under the opinion that your property is used for residential purposes only. If you are running a business at the property and someone becomes injured, whether it is a member of the public or your staff, it is highly unlikely that your claim will be paid.
Property Owners Liability – liability claims can arise out of accidents caused by your ownership of a building. Perhaps a slate that has not been correctly maintained falls off the roof and hits a passerby on the head, or it may fall on a passing car. You may have a tenant in the building and they may injure themselves in the property and claim it was as a result of your negligence. Cover for Property Owners Liability is provided under the Buildings section of a policy with an indemnity limit of a minimum of £1,000,000. Most policies now include cover as required by the defective premises act 1972 in respect of any previously owned property. Although Property Owners Liability is the correct term to use, you may find some local authorities and lenders refer to it as Public Liability cover.
Occupiers Liability – most accidents in and around the home tend to fall under the heading of Occupiers Liability and this risk is covered by the Contents section of your policy. This will cover accidents occurring in your home to guests or domestic servants.( An example would be tripping on the stair carpet and falling down the stairs. The injured person might try to prove that it was your fault because the stair carpet was not fixed down properly. The law can be very complicated when deciding under which policy a liability claim should fall. If you are an owner occupier of a building, you will need both Buildings and Contents cover. A landlord will need both particularly if he has placed contents in the flat as this will then provide him with the liability cover attached to the ownership and supply of the Contents. A tenant will require contents only as this will give them the necessary occupiers liability cover.
Personal Liability Cover – personal liability covers any accidental injury to other people or damage to their property which does not fall under any of the above sections.( negligence must be proved of course). It includes accidents away from the home in the United Kingdom and in most cases for temporary trips abroad. The cover usually includes accidents or injuries caused by domestic pets. This cover is usually given as a free extension of your contents insurance policy but there are quite a few exclusions (damage caused by cars, boats, aircraft, model aircraft or damage to your own or a member of your family’s property.