Answering questions you may have on park home ownership and occupancy
Insurance Companies regard park homes as ‘non standard’ construction properties and many of them, and online comparison websites too, do not quote for them for this reason. In practice the cost of insuring park homes and their contents is not prohibitive and is provided by specialists such as Paul Baker Insurance Services. Whilst older homes can be more difficult to insure, newer homes are built to a very high standard greatly reducing the risk of fire loss or damage. The biggest factor is flooding so it is worth checking whether the home is on a site which may be susceptible to flooding.
Incidents of theft and vandalism are very rare on residential parks, which is a very positive rating factor.
In the past this has been a very difficult question to answer because the cost of replacing a park home with its brand new equivalent will vary hugely from plot to plot, site to site, region to region. Whilst factory prices are the same homes must be purchased through site owners and their margins and costs vary significantly! In response to this specialist insurers like us offer reassuringly high ‘blanket’ sums insured for both the home and the contents meaning under insurance is very unlikely indeed. The sums insured will include the associated costs of site clearance, re-siting and delivery fees.
No, the base and indeed the plot is owned by and remains the responsibility of the site owner, it is his responsibility therefore to insure it and to maintain it.
Contact your insurance provider, some like us will have an in house claims handling team who will take details and advise you what to do next. Some will have an out of hours answering service and will feature a 24-hour Home Emergency benefit as we do.
Trees can be a very real attraction and many parks are located in woodland areas, Garston Park and Pathfinder Village spring to mind. Your policy should cover you for loss or damage caused by falling trees and branches, whether the trees are owned by you or someone else. This should also include the cost of removal. If the damage has resulted from the failure of the site owner, for example, to maintain the trees, your insurance should still pay for the damage, it may then pursue the site owner for reimbursement if negligence can be proven.
It is worth mentioning that you should regularly check your roof for damage and clear your drains and gutters of leaf and twig debris, blocked gutters can cause real problems of water ingress.
If you are concerned about trees ask the Local Authority to inspect them, especially if the owner is refusing to address your concerns.
The legislation covering park homes is contained in the Caravan Sites Development Act and various Mobile Homes Acts - most recently the 2014 Mobile Homes Act.
Some insurance policies include a specific park home legal advice helpline and also legal expenses cover but by no means all do so it is worth checking. Paul Baker Insurance Services include one which is manned by experts in park home legislation and in addition include Legal Expenses covering certain disputes with site owners.
You can also get help and advice from the national park home resident’s associations, for a very small membership fee, usually £6. Try The Independent Park Home Advisory Service (IPHAS) or the National Association of Park Home Residents (NAPHR) - incidentally members of resident’s associations are entitled to a 15% discount on their insurance premiums with Paul Baker Insurance Services - more than covering the membership fee!
And finally you can try LEASE, this is a body set up by Government to advise park home residents, park owners and Local Authorities about park home legislation.
One of the reasons people buy park homes is to downsize to release equity to enable them to enjoy their retirement, and for many this means longer holidays or more frequent holidays.
Insurers accept this but their approach may differ. Some will apply certain conditions after the home has been left empty for more than say 30 or 60 days, so it is worth checking particularly if you are going away for more than 30 days. Typically exclusions are applied, theft may be excluded unless involving forcible and violent entry or exit, loss or damage by the escape of water may be excluded unless the heating is left on at a certain temperature.
It is always a good idea to ask a neighbour to check your home, inside and out whilst you are away so that any problem, such as a leak can be nipped in the bud!
Your policy will provide a benefit if your is made uninhabitable by an insured peril such as loss or damage caused by storm or flood, fire, impact by road vehicles or a fallen tree. The amount of the benefit will vary but usually it will be a compensation payment to cover the costs of temporary alternative accommodation whilst the home is being repaired - or replaced. In some cases, where the home has suffered extensive damage, you could be away from the home for many many months, likewise if the home has been damaged beyond repair it could take many months to secure a replacement.
Yes, as with traditional insurance your policy can be extended to include loss or damage to items normally worn or carried about the person such as glasses, jewellery, cameras and mobile phones, an additional premium will apply but usually this cover will be world wide.
Likewise your policy can be extended to cover sports equipment be it golf, bowls or archery for example, and pedal cycles can also be added for loss or damage away from the home.
Policies will vary, the excess of course is the amount YOU have to pay in the event of a claim. Some policies will carry quite high excesses, for example £500 for subsidence, £150 for damage caused by the escape of water, some will be excess free. Whilst higher excesses should mean lower premiums that is not always the case, and high excesses will put you off making genuine claims, indeed you may not even be able to afford to pay the excess.
Yes, for some insurers solid fuel heating is an underwriting consideration and may result in higher premiums or policy endorsements. Paul Baker are unfortunately unable to offer cover for homes with solid fuel heating (e.g. log burners, wood burners).
The risk of flooding is one the most important underwriting considerations. Insurers will have their own flood data upon which they underwrite particular risks, so it can be worth shopping around if your insurer is unable to offer flood cover. Paul Baker underwrites risks on a plot by plot basis via AXA Insurance and risks may be acceptable, subject to a loading or excess or subject to a flood exclusion.
As well as providing a choice of policies designed to meet your requirements and pocket and a very flexible, personal and friendly service we have a huge amount of experience in insuring park homes, over 60 years between us in fact. Importantly too we do virtually everything in house, one call does it all, from quote to claim. No call centres - just a friendly name!
And whilst insurance is our expertise we are far more than just an insurance provider. We will be taking an active role in supporting park home residents, associations and campaigns through sponsorship and through engagement via our regional road shows, our web site, our literature, our ‘Ask a Question’ service and our role as a partner in Park Home News magazine. We will also being doing our bit to promote and reward excellence within the industry so look out for our competitions and events. Please put us to the test.