Insurance if you have valuables, antiques or a high value property.

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High value or ‘high net worth’ policies aren’t for everyone but if you live in an expensive property or have valuable possessions, they’re definitely worth considering. And the cover can be more flexible than standard insurance.

What is a high net worth policy?
High net worth policies vary from insurer to insurer, but in basic terms they should include:

1. Higher limits on cover or unlimited cover. Some policies will have unlimited cover, while others will have a much higher limit than standard policies.

SAVVY TIP: A number of mainstream insurers have recently started offering high value or unlimited cover on buildings and contents policies. However, they may not all offer the extras that some specialist high value policies do.

2. Higher cover for valuable items. Many standard policies ask you to list items individually costing more than £1,500 or £2,000, which high value policies generally don’t. If they do, they’ll impose a much higher limit, such as £15,000, before you have to list items separately.

SAVVY TIP It’s not just the fact that these insurance policies have higher cover for valuables that’s important – they also understand the market and will often employ experts to catalogue and value any collections you have.

3. Accidental damage to both home and contents and business cover for home office equipment as standard. With many standard home insurance policies, you have to pay extra for this cover, although it may be included in ‘premium’ versions of policies.

4. Cover for properties with unusual construction. This can mean a property that’s concrete, wood or steel frames, a property with a thatched roof, or wattle and daub walls.

SAVVY TIP: You don’t have to use a high net worth policy if you live in a property with unusual construction (anything from a contemporary glass-clad tower to a Grade 2 listed property) but high net worth insurers are more used to dealing with them.

5. Higher alternative accommodation limits. This covers you if, for example, you have to move out of your property because it’s flooded or been damaged by fire.

SAVVY TIP: No one likes to think that their home will be damaged to such an extent that they’ll need to move out for several months, but unfortunately it does happen. The best high value policies have unlimited alternative accommodation cover.

6. Worldwide cover on possessions as standard.

SAVVY TIP: This doesn’t just mean that the contents of your two suitcases are covered while you’re away, but any expensive jewellery you take with you and — in many cases — full travel insurance will be included as well.

7. Cover for family members’ possessions.

SAVVY TIP: This varies from policy to policy, but a high value insurance policy may include cover for your parent’s possessions if they have to go into care (normally up to a limit of between £5,000 and £10,000), cover for your children’s possessions while they’re at boarding school, and some include cover for guests’ possessions while they’re staying at your home.

8. A ‘no quibble’ claims policy. This doesn’t mean that all claims will automatically be paid, but high net worth insurers do take a much more flexible approach.

SAVVY TIP: According to Graeme Trudgill of the British Insurance Brokers’ Association, high net worth insurers are more understanding. “With a normal policy, you often have to fit their criteria exactly, whereas with a high net worth policy the insurer won’t quibble if you have an antique clock collection or a wooden staircase that’s a fire hazard or a collection of vintage clothes.”

How much does it cost?
As with all insurance, premium levels will vary depending on the insurer and your own property and contents, but increased competition means premiums for contents policies start at £400 a year.

Premiums have started to come down because:

  • Competition among providers of standard policies is intense and profit margins have fallen.
  • High net worth customers are seen as a good risk. Although claims can be very high, many customers have state-of-the-art alarm systems and other measures designed to reduce the chances of a burglary.

SAVVY TIP: If you type ‘high net worth insurance’ into Google, you’ll get dozens of results. If you want to shop around yourself, make sure you take the time to compare the terms and conditions of the different policies (and I’m afraid that means trawling through the policy document and not just the on-screen summary) so you know exactly what you’re covered for. Alternatively, go to the British Insurance Brokers’ Association website to find an insurance broker who specialises in this type of insurance as they’ll be able to find a policy that matches your needs.

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