Older Park Homes

When you are looking to insure your soon-to-be-purchased park home or shopping around when your existing insurance is due for renewal, you quickly realise that the number of insurers who will offer a quote is limited. In reality, there are probably less than a dozen insurance providers who specialise in the insurance of park homes, and, unfortunately, this choice becomes even more limited for ‘older’ park homes. So, here I will explain what you can do to ensure that you obtain the insurance cover you want.

When is my Park Home considered ‘Older’?

The term ‘older’ is a subjective one in any context, so it probably won’t be a surprise that when and if an
insurance providers’ consideration of a park home as older will vary. What is certain, however, is that pretty much every specialist insurance provider will consider the age of the park home when determining whether they will offer cover, what terms should apply and how much the insurance will cost you. For Paul Baker Insurance Services, any park home manufactured prior to 1995 is deemed to be an older property. This is because it was around this time that construction methods within the industry changed – lightweight tile-effect roofing had become the norm (thereby removing some of the issues that naturally arise with flat roofs and felt covering with age), the materials being commonly used in construction were of a higher standard and plumbing systems had routinely become more akin to those within brick properties and less like those in holiday caravans.

Why is the age of the Park Home a factor for Insurance?

As explained, some of the construction methods and materials used in older park homes may not
have been as good as in newer ones. This is only to be expected – as a general rule, over a period of time, improvements are made in materials and manufacturing from experience and lessons learned.
There is also the consideration that, with age, things will naturally deteriorate through usage and general
wear and tear. While we have already stated elsewhere in this issue that insurance will not pay for something that has simply reached the end of its serviceable life, there may be consequences arising from the failure that insurance will cover.
One example might be where a pipe joint in the plumbing system has weakened over time and eventually fails. While the insurance is unlikely to cover the replacement of the pipe joint, it may well pay for the subsequent damage to floorboards, floor coverings, and fitted units caused by the water’s escape. As losses arising from an escape of water are some of the most frequent and expensive claims that insurers deal with, this example alone goes some way to explaining why the age of the park home may become a consideration.

If Park Home is deemed ‘Older’, how might this impact my policy?

This will vary depending on the insurance provider and could change from time to time as they review their approach or if they change the insurer who underwrites their policy, but it is known that some of the specialist companies will not offer any cover at all! Others choose to offer less cover than would be the case for newer park homes, potentially no longer giving cover on a ‘New for Old’ basis, applying higher excesses in the event of a claim, charging you more for the insurance, or a combination of all of these!

At Paul Baker Insurance Services, we believe that, while the analysis of claims frequency and cost does
indicate older park homes are a higher risk, and therefore, the cost of insuring them should be a little greater (around 10-15 per cent), there is no reason the cover should be any different to that for a newer home, provided it can be seen that the home continues to be well-maintained. We, therefore, ask a few additional questions and commonly request some photographs of the exterior and interior of the property.

What should I do to Maximise the likelihood of getting insurance on an older park home?

If you are considering buying any second-hand park home, it is always sensible to have it surveyed first. This will not only make you aware of any urgent issues that you may want to consider before proceeding with the purchase, but it also gives you an idea of what maintenance works are likely to be needed in the coming years so you can budget for these and prioritise them as appropriate.

Within the pages of Park Home News, you will find details of specialist surveyors who fully understand park homes and who will provide you with a professional and detailed report.
If you already own an older park home, be ready to share information about any work you have completed over the years. Have the electrics been checked, the windows replaced, or external cladding added?
If your park home is one with an essentially flat roof, when was this last re-covered and seals checked? Has the boiler ever been replaced, and is it subject to an annual service contract?

What if I am considering Refurbishing an Older Park Home?

It is easy to understand why many people are considering purchasing an older park home, perhaps one looking a little tired and refurbishing it throughout. The ability to put one’s own stamp on their property,
potentially installing a new kitchen or re-configuring the layout to suit your own needs, can have massive appeal, especially if it’s situated in a well-established and mature park.
For an insurer, there will be less increased likelihood of damage being caused to the park home while work is being carried out on it, and for more major refurbishments, the park home may be left unoccupied for a significant length of time.

As specialist providers, Paul Baker Insurance Services recognises such challenges, and its experienced team will always try to accommodate park homeowners who are undertaking work at their property. Each circumstance will be considered on its own merit, and where cover can be agreed, you should expect restrictions in the cover for the duration of the refurbishment. The level of cover possible will be dependent on the extent of the works to be carried out, who is undertaking these, how long they are scheduled to take and whether the park home will be occupied during this time.
Of course, there is no guarantee that cover will be agreed upon, but we shall be more than happy to take the time to listen to your plans and let you know what cover we may be able to offer.

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