A warning to all

Hi,
My farther died in July and the house insurance was in both my parents names. So I contacted them to get the policy in only my mother's name. They said it was ok to leave it as is and then make the changes on renewal in January.  However a few weeks back my mother has been diagnoses with dementia and has been in hospital for about 4 weeks and now is in an assessment home. The chances are she will be staying their till she dies. I contacted the insurance people today about the renewal (prudential) and that the house is close to their contractual limit of being unoccupied for 60 days and how best to go forward.  Their response was ,that even after being with them, claims free for over 25 years that they were no longer in a position to offer cover on a long term none occupancy. So much for being loyal to an insurance provider when they can drop you like a stone when you are at your most vulnerable. Thanks Pru, you can be sure you won't ever see any of my money ever again 
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Comments

  • YBR
    YBR Posts: 526
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    Can you, or another relative/friend go and stay in the house overnight? That will reset the clock as a short term solution while you work out what happens next.
  • Hoenir
    Hoenir Posts: 1,082
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    edited 5 January at 8:51PM
    Rather than rant. Better to ask questions. As you are not actually warning anybody of anything that hasn't been this way for a very long time. 
  • Annemos
    Annemos Posts: 701
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    edited 5 January at 9:32PM
    We also have an unoccupied home, after our Mum went into a Care Home. The old cover was no longer available. 

    We found cover through A-Plan, which seems to be Howden Insurance now. We have just gone into the second year with them, now. 
  • Aretnap
    Aretnap Posts: 5,127
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    edited 9 January at 5:05PM
    YBR said:
    Can you, or another relative/friend go and stay in the house overnight? That will reset the clock as a short term solution while you work out what happens next.
    Depending on the wording of the policy this may not work - I've seen wordings which say that one-off one night stays or similar don't count as the house being occupied. Obviously this can leave some ambiguity - but if your policy says something like "no cover if your house has not been slept in regularly for more that 60 days", two 59 day period of emptyness with one overnight stay in between them means no cover on any reasonable interpretation.

    On the wider point, few of any standard home insurance policies are going to cover a house which is going to be unoccupied indefinitely - insurance for empty houses is a separate product, which not as many insurers offer because it's a smaller market.

    I'd hope that a good insurer might be offer a little bit of wiggle room over the exact length of time it can be unoccupied for someone in the OP's circumstances, but the fact that the renewal is due means that to offer renewal they would either have to (1) offer a new, year long, policy knowing that the property might well be unoccupied for the whole year or (2) create a whole new product that they don't normally offer just for the OP. Neither of these feel like very realistic expectations of an insurer, even after 25 years of customer inertia loyalty.

    I sympathise with the OP's situation, but their time would be better spent Googling "unoccupied home insurance" and finding a provider that offers it rather that taking the fact that Prudential don't offer it as a personal slight.
  • Keep_pedalling
    Keep_pedalling Posts: 16,098
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    edited 6 January at 8:36AM
    You do now need a different sort of policy and not all insurance companies provide them. This might be a good time to use an insurance broker. 

    Did you take my advice on your previous thread and sort out financial power of attorney for your mother? If not I am sorry to say organising things like insurance and other financial transactions are going to be very difficult for you and you will need to apply for deputyship asap. 
  • BoGoF
    BoGoF Posts: 6,756
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    Bit of a rant over nothing op. Having experienced similar recently I just accepted that specialist cover was needed for a non-occupied property as the previous insurer did not cover such properties. It has zero to do with loyalty, most 'mainstream' insurers do not cover non-occupied properties.
  • prettyandfluffy
    prettyandfluffy Posts: 625
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    The insurer provided cover for a house that was occupied.  The house is no longer occupied so the insurance doesn't apply.  It's fairly straightforward really.  
  • Seems somepeople have missed the point entirely but hey how. The issues wasn't being able to find a policy for an empty house, that was easy. The point was being dropped like a stone after 25 years being claim free and not been given any way forward.  Luckily I am looking after her affairs and was able to find something that was suitable and actually cheaper. What would have happened if she hadn't had someone to take care of this? No doubt the prudential would have continued to take the premiums from her bank account in the absence of any notification of a change in circumstances and then on any subsequent claim would cry foul?
  • JGB1955
    JGB1955 Posts: 3,428
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     What would have happened if she hadn't had someone to take care of this? No doubt the prudential would have continued to take the premiums from her bank account in the absence of any notification of a change in circumstances and then on any subsequent claim would cry foul?
    ... which is why having a POA in place is essential - as is informing the insurance company of any change of circumstances.
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  • Aretnap
    Aretnap Posts: 5,127
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    Yes, the policy doesn't cover unoccupied houses, so if it had simply been set to auto-renew and nobody had told them about the change in circumstances they would have taken the renewal payment (why would they not?), then in the event of a claim they would most likely not have paid out (as the policy doesn't cover unoccupied houses) but would have refunded the premium. Would that have been better than being "dropped like a stone"? Sounds like they did the right thing by advising that they couldn't continue cover.

    Really not sure what you think they should have done instead? Should all insurers offer unoccupied home cover? (Very inefficient, given that it's a small market.) Should they only offer it to people who have 20+ claim free years with them? (Even less efficient - that's an even smaller pool of customers). Or should the call center staff have given you detailed advice on what product to buy instead? (They're not trained to do that and can't give advice on other companies products for regulatory reasons, beyond maybe a very generic "you'll have to look for another policy that does cover this".
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