Refusal to insure

My dad has a complicated home set up with his own home (a 17th century cottage), a commercial property that he uses as an office/shop front and a flat above that he rents out. They are all on the same set of deeds. Everything is in a good condition.

His previous insurers won’t insure him since he retired and is no longer using the shop fully as a shop. He can’t find any other insurers that will deal with it. I have phoned around a lot of specialist brokers (Towergate, Adrian Flux, PolicyLink, NFU and more) and none will help. 

He has 10 days left of insurance. Not enough time to get a change of use for the shop from the council. What should he do? Is there anywhere we can turn to appeal to insurers? Are there any insurance companies who would take this kind of situation on? He can’t just be left uninsured, especially with tenants in the property.

He feels like his only option is to sell up but he’d hate to move, and I can’t imagine anyone will buy an uninsurable property. There must be something we can do? Really appreciate any ideas anyone has. 


  • So is the ground floor vacant or?
    Is the tenant renting the full property or just the flat?

    As long as its not to cover illegal activities of the policyholder then there is always an option but it may not be cost effective if you end up needing bespoke underwriting as those policies often have 5 figures or more in their premiums. 
  • The ground floor is his office plus he has a window display with some ceramic items he has made. The tenant only rents the flat above. 

    It seems to be the unoccupied status of the shop (even though he uses it every day, just not as an actual shop) that is the problem. If nobody will insure then it sounds like we may have to apply for a change of use and go for the expensive bespoke option in the meantime. Do you know of anyone that provides this service? 
  • So he's using the whole ground floor or just a backroom? 

    I doubt you'd need to go to that extreme... even using a basic quote and buy from Simply Business (not a recommendation) then at least 1 insurer is willing to quote with the shop being noted as vacant and not to be occupied in the next 45 days but I don't think you need to declare it as such and so more would become available. 

    I'd find a proper local broker and speak to them, ultimately if it needs to go somewhere more specialist they will have wholesale brokers on their accounts who can assist in accessing the likes of the London Market whereas the likes of Towergate will just say its not for them. 
  • He's got the back room as an office, the middle part of the shop as storage for his ceramics and then the shop window with the display. Really appreciate your advice; thank you. 
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