What you need to know

Buying Care Home Insurance is easy – you don’t even have to search too hard, most of the time there are Insurance Firms contacting you offering their services. Some even guess what cover you might need and send you a quote (and I am not sure if that’s clever or very silly).

To get a quote you simply tell the Insurance Sales staff member the number of beds, Buildings and Contents cover you need and apart from a few other details that’s it you’ve got your quote and its cheaper – job done!

Or is it?

Are you sure the sums insured are correct? And the Business Interruption section is it enough cover and over a long enough period?

What about the Liability sections of cover? Did you realise that different Insurers can write Liability cover in different ways?

Insurance is easy to buy – but it’s also easy to get it wrong without even realising.

Then of course there is the fact that the Insurance documents arrive in the post and there is a long form to complete each year, then if you need help you need to call the Insurers office to go over everything again.

Then the big question – do you read your Policy?
Really read it, the big thick booklet part, from all the definitions and operative sections to the conditions, terms and exclusions?

Well lets be honest most people don’t, and if they did there is a lot of information that isn’t obvious what it means to the layman and how could you be sure if it is a “good” policy wording compared to all the others on the market?

Here are five key steps to follow to ensure you get the cover you need:

1. When specifying your sums Insured ensure that the amounts are accurate.

If you Insure a Building or your Contents for a sum that is lower than what would really be needed to replace everything your Insurers will have no hesitation in reducing any claims payout.

2. Is your Public Liability cover on a claims made or losses occurring basis.

To put it simply, claims made basis is not as good as losses occurring and you should always ensure you buy the wider cover. Your own broker can readily explain the differences to you if you ask – if they can’t you need to find a Care Sector specialist Broker who can.

3. Does your Policy include Abuse cover?

Actually some of the best Policies will not specify that abuse cover is included – they just don’t exclude it. However, some Policies give Abuse cover and then put restrictions into their cover – again you should question your broker about your Policy.

4. Does your Policy state that a suitably qualified Nurse must only administer medicines?

Not many Care Homes employ Nurses – Yet we have seen such a wording being used which effectively allows the Underwriter to avoid a claim if a Carer was to hand out the wrong medicine to a resident.

5. How long has the Insurer you are considering Insuring with issued Cover for Care Homes?

A few Insurers have recently started to offer Care Home Insurance cover. The policies may appear to offer a competitive price and be a wide cover, however, what experience do they have in the Care Sector with a catastrophe? Have they ever had a Fire destroy a Care Home and had to handle the sensitive needs of the residents and the demands of Local Authorities and CQC? (Care Quality Commission). If not, and you were unlucky to be victim to such an event would they be “cutting their teeth” with your claim?
Not only is your Care Home a business that requires protecting it is your Residents Home and they certainly require protecting.

A Care Home Insurance Policy that is not right for you could mean that both your business and residents are at risk.

It therefore pays to seek alternative Insurance quotations but to ensure you get it right it is always best if your Broker is a specialist in the Care Sector who is prepared to visit you to discuss the cover and understand your business.


Stuart Hulbert is a Director of Brents Insurance – Independent, Impartial Care Home Insurance Brokers.
For further information call 01277 223344, email stuart@brentsinsurance.co.uk or visit www.brentsinsurance.co.uk