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If you own a leasehold flat, you may find that your freeholder has already taken care of buildings insurance for the property. Many freeholders buy buildings insurance themselves, then charge leaseholders a share of the cost, via their service charge.
There’s no guarantee that your freeholder has arranged building insurance, though, so you’ll need to check the lease or have your solicitor check on your behalf. If the freeholder hasn’t arranged cover, you’ll need to get your own buildings insurance. If there are multiple flats in the building you may find it’s easier (and possibly cheaper) to club together with the other leaseholders and buy a policy.
You’ll need to check the terms of your lease as it might require you to pay a share of the buildings insurance. Your lease should clearly spell out who’s responsible for arranging building insurance cover and what that cover should include.
If you think you’re being charged over the odds for your buildings insurance, you’re within your rights to ask your freeholder for a copy of the insurance policy. If you’re not happy with the cover and the freeholder isn’t prepared to negotiate with you, you could choose to take them to a tribunal. It’s much like a normal court of law, and an independent judge will decide the outcome of the dispute. It might be worth discussing the matter with other leaseholders in the building, as the freeholder might be more readily persuaded by you all acting together.
In many instances, the freeholder/managing agent will buy the required buildings insurance, but it’s important to confirm cover is in place before you move in. If you find you’re responsible for arranging buildings insurance, you need to ensure you have cover for the rebuild cost of the building, not the market value. Read our guide on how to calculate the rebuild cost of your home.
Buildings insurance covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home in the event of:
Typically, it will cover all costs associated with repairing or rebuilding your home, including architect’s fees, site clearance and alternative accommodation – where necessary.
The secret to getting the most suitable policy for your needs is to shop around. All you need to do is give us a few details about you and your home, and we’ll find you a range of quotes from UK insurance providers in a matter of minutes. So why not see if you could save?