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Do you need flood insurance?

flooded street of housesNews reports showing floodwater tear through homes have become so commonplace in the last few years that it is getting easier and easier to ignore them. When something seems to happen often, we tend to stop being concerned about it.

But if you own property you cannot afford to stop being concerned about flooding. Millions of homes in the UK are built on floodplains. Other properties are also at risk from flooding, as flash-floods can strike anywhere.

Unless your property is a tree house, the answer to the question ‘do you need flood insurance?’ is yes.

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What the Frack?

There are usually a number of issues that can have an impact on property owners, including noisy neighbours and flooding. Now there may be one more element to compete with, fracking!

Fracking

Fracking is a way of extracting natural gases from the ground which can then be used as the energy to power a home. However, this method has already caused a few small earthquakes in the UK.

The method of fracking splits open the rock beneath the ground which is then pumped with chemicals to release methane gas. This can be of concern because air and water pollution can be caused, there is also a risk of chemical spills and there is of course the increased risk of subsidence.

One fracking company, Cuadrilla Resources has 10 sites around the UK, mainly in Lancashire although there are others, including ones in Surrey and Kent.

Sometimes it can cause damages to buildings and one resident has even complained of a crack appearing in brickwork as a direct result of fracking. There are also loud bangs that can be heard from some of the sites and sometimes small earthquakes that will shake properties.

Insurance

Landlords that own properties in areas where there are fracking sites may experience an increase in their landlord insurance quotes due to an increased risk in damage being caused, although fracking isn’t thought to cause major damage.

Malcolm Tarling, from the Association of British Insurers, has been explaining the following, “Insurers are keeping a watching brief on the issue. At this moment in time there is no evidence that this procedure is leading to particular problems that would involve an insurer.”

Many people support the use of fracking as it can decrease energy prices and many companies are looking to set up more sites, particularly in South Wales. However, there are also many people that oppose the practice of fracking.

What’s your view on it? We’d love to hear from you on this issue, so please do leave us a comment below explaining your view on fracking!

Lighting and Landlords

So far this week we’ve blogged about the importance of internet access and televisions within the modern home and today we are very much in keeping with the week’s theme of electronic necessities by discussing lighting.

Having lights that work in a property is, of course, an obvious point. However, what I’m specifically getting at is the effect that different lighting can have on a home.

Spotlights

A particular favourite type of lighting for me is spotlights. They create a modern, stylish effect however they can be a hassle if any of the bulbs blow. Finding the correct replacement bulb, in my experience, can take some hunting around!

Furthermore, many properties these days will be fitted with environmentally friendly efficient bulbs. These are fantastic, not only for the environment, but for your wallet also as they are cheap and last a long time! Perhaps spotlights in the living room and bedroom, and energy efficient bulbs in the other rooms for me…

Adjusting the Brightness

In addition, it’s always great to be able to adjust the brightness of a room’s lighting. Some would suggest that “mood lighting” is always good fun, however, that, for me, is all a little clichéd. I instead like to call it a dimmer switch. Sometimes, after a long days work, when you’re eyes are a little sore and you’re feeling tired, it’s nice to be able to dim the lights in order to create a softer effect.

Selling Point

Many landlords, I’ve noticed, have in recent years turned to installing spotlights when renovating properties. I’ve lived in a number of properties where the spotlights have been a particular selling point because of the look and feel of them in the room. Many landlords therefore, in my experience at least, enjoy offering spotlights as something a bit more luxurious. Many landlords may also provide additional table lamps. However, when supplying such additions in your property, then it may be worth including such details when applying for landlord insurance quotes.

Of course electrical safety is of paramount importance to landlords and tenants and if you are to provide additional lamps then it will be important to ensure they are wired correctly and that the warning labels are still attached to the items.

That goes for the television and the internet box too.

Newcomers can benefit from advice

The continuing boom in the buy-to-let property market has attracted many first time venturers into the market. The poor returns offered by bank saving accounts and the dire problems encountered by the stock markets across the world this week will convince even more speculators to put their cash into property.

Research will reap rewards

It is vital for any landlord new to the business to have a good understanding of his costs. While it is impossible to become an experienced property investor overnight it is not impossible to do plenty of research before you take the plunge into a new project. It is fairly simple to get a quick understanding of the costs involved in setting up and a bit of diligent research will soon pay dividends when it comes to saving money.

Compare quotes

Although it is not as easy as with some other types of insurance, a quick perusal of the internet will find a few insurance comparison sites that offer landlord insurance quotes.

Regulation compliance a must

Adhering to fire and safety regulations is an absolute must and is not an area where you should think about cutting corners. Make sure your gas appliances are thoroughly checked by a fully authorised gas engineer, and don’t just take his word for it, ask him for identification and proof that he is qualified to certify your appliances. It is your responsibility to check that everything is in order. Fire and safety regulations are absolutely essential and don’t forget accessories like furniture, carpets and curtains must adhere to set standards.

Speak with professionals

Even though finding landlord insurance quotes can be easy, choosing a letting agent can be complicated and expensive. If you are entering the sector with the idea that you will expand and eventually become a professional landlord then you will probably want to avoid the expense of an agent. If that is the case make sure you join a professional body such as the National Landlords Association. The cost is minimal compared to the advice and experience that can be passed down to a newcomer, and special deals organised by professional bodies will probably recoup joining fees in no time at all.