House Insurance

12/07/2010 - 12:21

Dear All, Finally purchased our property in Le Marche - all signed, sealed and er paid for. And look forward to going there as often as possible.Maybe even meet up with a few ex-pats one day soon. Managed to register for Water, Rubbish, Gas and Electricity all in the same day - fortunately everything was closeby. Anyway, i've noticed that most Italians dont bother with house contents insurance, or even house rebuilding insurance for that matter - but its something I would like to know more about. Is it relatively more expensive than the uk, or cheaper? Does anyone recommend a reputable company for say contents insurance? Is it something better arranged thru a uk company eg MoreThan? Appreciate, as always, your responses, advice, and general comments Alan  


The Italian Government will probably and hopefully eventually fork out. There is a house below us, that was damaged in the Assisi earthquake. Work started on it 18 months ago, when all the compensation claims were approved. Do not think I would like to wait that long to get my house repaired.  I believe there are still many people waiting after the Aquila earthquake as well.

I'm sure that's right Badger, it's just my experience of insurance companies is that they are happy to take the premiums but unwilling to pay up when it comes to the crunch..we don't even have contents insurance in the UK anymore. In essence insurance companies are only in it for the money they can make and not a service for unlucky souls..better to put your spare cash in a deposit account and draw on it if and when the need arises. Now an earthquake that's another matter......

our business is also in our domicile.It was necessary to have a decent insurance to cover fire/flood and other main disasters (excluding of course earthquakes)+ a third èparty insurance in case of damage injuries to others etc..when we asked our agent who is also a good friend about contents insurance he started asking if we had or kept in the house particularly valuable antiques/ objects or painrtings of great value/jewellery/gold etc we informed him we didn't,at which point HE advised us AGAINST contents insurance.he explained that firstly quite complex inventories would have to be made/values established etc that the "established value" as with a car would decline over time,whilst the premium would not ,that it would be costly anyway and finally that "burglars" in italy tend (although this is a generalization) to steal only money/jewels/gold or particularly valuable objects preferably small they aren't going to steal your tv,computer/fridge etc.the bottom line is we have with ALLIANZ a good house insurance and third party liability but NO contents insurance which we judged far too expensive to be feasable.

The Italian state pays out in the case of earthquake, but only for prima casa. It also takes an inordinate amount of time.  You can wait twenty years.  

Our current policy is with ITALsure but as it is due to expire shortly  we got a quote from INTAsure - the latter have quoted a cheaper premium, by about £50,  but with greater coverage. Have never made a claim, so cannot comment further other than to say Italsure have been slow to respond, unlike Intasure.

We have had quotes from both companies earlier this year. The Italsure one was quite a lot more expensive, as the insurer included subsidence cover, which could not be removed. Intasure, gave a very good quote, which convinced us to move from the Italian insurer as soon as we could. Just a quick summary of the cover: Buildings: £1 million cover  cost £127.08 Liability: £5 million cover  included no extra Accidental Damage £29.70 I have omitted the contents insurance and the taxes, but whichever way I looked at it, it was far better cover than the Italian company could give, and included the earthquake cover, which they were astounded at it being so cheap as a part of the policy. Not to run Italsure down, we have both cars insured through them for over 3 years now.

Are there restrictions in cover should the property be unoccupied for long periods, such as in the case of an overseas owner using the property soley for holiday?

When I changed my status to 'maison secondaire' on my French house the insurance premium fell to less than half of what I had been paying as a full time resident with the same cover. It is still a legal requirement there that you are insured for third party liabilities such as when my tree fell onto next door's roof in the big storm. Disaster reimbursement from the state came much later.

the 'offshore' companies have bceome too expensive - you cant beat teh Post OFfice for buildings and contents cover with free earthquake cover.  You will have to have an account, but even the most simple savings book account will do.   You pay monthly. 

I can vouch for intasure - they paid up when we were burgled this summer. I can also concur with what Sebastiano said re thieves going for money and 'all that glitters' - they took all my jewellery, silver (most of which was plate so worth very little, so annoying) and cash we had taken out of the bank because we were worried about the banks here (doh). They did not touch even our laptops, let alone TV, stereos etc. Intasure put it into the hands of loss adjusters who were very fair, asked a lot of questions then offered us a lump sum - no arguing over individual items worth which I was expecting - though maybe I had under valued my losses! Intasure deal with both holiday homes and full time residences, they are not cheap - I hate to think what we will be quoted next year but they do pay out and they will cover you if you are planning to let your place out plus they also cover for earthquakes. We were told that holiday homes are not such major targets for thieves - currently non Italians living here full time are bigger targets as - unlike sensible Italians - we do not put everything in a safe and do have a few nice things being mostly middle aged middle class. I can highly recommend if you do have any good jewellery leave it in the back of the cupboard you put baking trays and saucepans - NOT on dressing tables or drawers in a bedroom. I am spending much of the payout on new security systems, sad to have to do it but anyone thinking that the countryside is crime free here is sadly mistaken and I have a nasty feeling its going to get much worse. I do not think Italsure still do any household insurance but the Post Office policy may also well be worth investigating. Am

In reply to by Amaretto

I must check, I seem to recall that the insurers tend to cover EARTHQUAKE damage..........but NOT landslips/frane, I'll check in the next day or so and get back, I can't recall whether I'm with Intasure or not........ ? S

I am interested in the postings on insurance, as I have experienced a large increase in the cost of insuring my holiday home in Italy.   I transferred to Intersure a few years ago, as they seemed to offer the best value and I have just had my renewal notice. The Premium required by Intasure to cover the building only, which is a detached stone built house, for their standard £1,000,000- is £410.47, plus taxes etc.    I have never made a claim and I am amazed that Badger had a quote of £127.08 for the same cover and from the same insurer less than a year ago.   My Premium in November 2010 was not much less than this year. I would be very interested to know what differentiates my property from Badger's.   I have previously had quotes from Saga and Tower, both of whom were higher.  I used to insure in Italy with Toro, who required me to enter into a ten year contract with them and could not say what would happen if I sold the property within ten years!

Paulo The quote earlier was for 2010. This year for building cover, (May 2011) was £236.75 + accidental damage £23.68 + taxes £81.95. I then had a discount of £26.04. Total premium £ 316.34. We are fully resident here, so that could explain in part the difference.

Paolo my intasure policy is almost £1k iirc, it does cover earthquakes (but possibly not first £2k of costs I think) again standard £1m rebuild and only £30k of contents, no accidental damage, I think Badger had a great offer. I was tied into a 5 yr deal before with Generali which had no earthquake cover and that was £600 a year. We are also full time occupants. I think its outrageoulsy expensive compared to Uk but am very glad I did have the policy in place. I think the Post office may well be worth investigating - will have a look tomorrow. Am

I insure with Intasure -their policy does cover landslip .The main difference in premiums are likely to be due to location , size of building and security measures in place -my premiums ( for a one bedroom  holiday apartment ) are similar to Badger's . If you are happy to bear all the costs yourself when something goes wrong,then by all means follow Bunterboy's advice -but that can turn out to be a pretty expensive bet.However insurance companies (certainly if UK regulated) are legally bound to pay all valid claims under an insurance contract.The most common cause for denial of claim is that the answers to the underwriting questions have been incorrectly/ untruthly replied to and this invalidates the contract,so do check that the answers are accurate and correct. The Intasure contract is underwriiten by Lloyds of London who have been in business for 300 years and counting -so they won't go bust on you Don't know anything about the Post Office (or who their insurance carrier is) but my Italian is nowhere good enough to feel certain of what is or is not covered so I prefer to stick to a UK policy governed by UK law.

In reply to by Lakeside

I'm intrigued Lakeside,............. my Intasure policy wording says : Section 1 Clause 5 We will not pay for: Loss or damage caused by subsidence or landslip, frost, weight of snow, swimming pool covers, filtration systems etc etccrying   (Wonder why I bother insuring !)

In reply to by sprostoni

Sprostini   Sorry-I see now my policy has the extension HH913 which gives the following cover HH913 Subsidence, Landslip and Heave Your policy is extended to include damage caused by Subsidence or Heave of the site on which the buildings stand or Landslip   Apologies for misleading -you are correct landslip is not covered unless this extension is purchased

In reply to by Lakeside

Lakeside, Thanks for the clarification, I KNOW that no misinformation was intended, I just had this recollection that 'they' had a get out clause. I have to say that I don't even know wether I have this extension ! I think I'll spend next years premium on wine/beer/prosecco ?!!? Ha! S

Thank you Badger and Amaretto.   I think that holiday home insurance is loaded, although I do not let out my house.   Intasure tell me that the big rise in the quoted premium was due to the cost of earthquake cover and removing this reduced the premium by more than £200-.  This was still more than another internet quote that I had obtained and Intasure then reduced their premium by a further sum to make it competative. I decided, for better or worse, to dispense with earthquake cover, as I think that the only earthquake that may affect me is likely to take place in the Quirinale!

Why insure your house (structure) at all? Unless you have been unwise enough to buy something which might get flooded, there is little which can get disastrous on an Italian house apart from land movements.  Whether caused by subsidence or landslip or earthquake is irrelevant, any of these events carry quite a large 'excess' and almost never cover things like pools, terraces or outhouses. So unless you get a massive frana or a really big earthquake it is likely to have cost you more in premiums than it would cost if you bore the repair work costs yourself! The construction of an Italian house means it is virtually fire-proof, and unless you fill it up with non traditional features such as carpets and curtains it would take a serious arsonist to burn it. My calculations (over a lifetime) show that insuring contents is equally futile 'economically'. I've been robbed fairly seriously about three times at ten year intervals - and the claims almost always equated to the premiums paid in the decade before,  so why do it? The insurance company just wants your money to gamble with - so why encourage them? Third party cover is useful - but your bank or the post office will cover you for a tile falling off or your dog biting a child for less than €100 a year.

"Third party cover is useful - but your bank or the post office will cover you for a tile falling off or your dog biting a child for less than €100 a year." I tend to agree with Fillide My holiday home is insured for about 100.000 Euros rebuilding cost and the usual public liability stuff [tiles falling on neighbours etc].  I don't insure the contents - there's nothing expensive left in the house, no TV, computers, jewelry etc, so why bother? Cost me 93 Euros earlier this year, year when I renewed it.  I arranged it through my Estate Agent, and when I'm over in the start of the year I leave him enough cash to cover the renewal costs, and pick the new certificate and change up when I'm next over in Italy in June or July

Agree about why bother insuring. The Italian insurance compared to the UK covers virtually nothing and when you want to cover contents the prices are horrendous for very little cover.

I must say I am stunned on what insurance here doesn't cover especially compared to the UK. Considering also how much higher the insurance prices are here. A complete rip off as far as I am concerned.

I have just had our House and Contents renewal through from Intasure which will be £270 p.a. including Accidental cover, but we also have the endoresement HH950, which excludes cover for Landslip, but includes Eartquake cover. Wonder what would happen if the Landslide was caused by an Earthquake..??

In reply to by Flip

Flip If the landslip is a result of the earthquake,then you are covered as the proximate cause of the loss is the earthquake ie without the earthquake there would be no landslip Hope this helps

Sigh, just had my renewal from intasure - up from £900 to over £1500. Some of the increase - about £250 of it was because we had a claim last year. Amazes me that they can punish you because the very thing you insured against happened but understand thats what they all do. At least they did pay out. Excess has sneaked up to £250 from £150 too. I could reduce the premium by £500 if I exclude earthquakes. Tempting. Then I see there were 2 5.0 quakes near Parma this morning. Oh. Hmmm. Currently doing lots of research and getting some quotes which are almost entertaining in their vastness.  Copelands said £3.5k at least. Good grief, what to do. Am

My friendly advice: get as many quotes as you can before deciding and remember that, if you wish to change insurers, your current one will ask for early notice (check your contract). Also, ask your bank and they may surprise you. Our best quote came from them.

A very kind friend helped me get a policy today which will be c800€ rather than the intasure quote around double that via an extremely helpful broker here today. The cover is slightly less but enough to allow me to sleep ok and includes earthquake damage. I think that cos like intasure are so handy for people that dont speak brilliant Italian and are not in situ that they think they can get away with some cheeky prices, The Po policy also looks ok and definately covers terramoti and may well be worth others checking out before they accept these hefty increases. Just hope if I do have to claim I wont regret going with an Italian insurer, only time and luck will tell (plus a lot of bolts and cameras).. Am

Get at least three quotes, Belvedere, and check that you are giving enough notice to the existing insurer according to the terms of the contract. We made a mistake there and we were "stuck" with Generali for another year. The best quote we had was through our bank (Toscana or Monte Paschi, nowadays) and we are perfectly happy with them as they do everything for us. Many times, I read bad comments about Italian banks. We cannot be happier. Charges are high; however, most of those are government taxes and I do not think that we can avoid them. We have also arranged for direct debit of all our regular bills and, as I say, they handle our insurance matters. Very happy with our decision.

Just as a comparison Intasure were £60 more expensive than our usual policy with Schofields.  Cover not as good either.  So no change here this year.

The PO policy does cover earthquakes and landslips but there's an important point to note: for claims following damage due to earthquake and landslip, the maximum payout is 50% of the building sum assured and 50% of the contents sum assured. Better than nothing though. Warning - this is based on my possibly mistaken reading of the policy notes available to download here

Just as a comparison Intasure were £60 more expensive than our usual policy with Schofields. Cover not as good either Interesting, and just goes to show how important it is to shop around - for an equivalent level of cover the quote we received from Schofields was almost 4 times that from Intasure!