Frequently Asked Questions

Protection Insurance

Transferring cover from my current protection provider

You can transfer a mortgage payment protection or short-term income protection policy from your existing provider and the initial 120 day exclusion period that is normally imposed at the beginning of an Unemployment policy will be waived provided that:

  • There is no gap in cover. Make sure that the start date of the new policy is the day after the cancellation date of your old policy
  • You have had your current policy for 6 months
  • The type of cover you want must be included on your existing policy
  • It is possible to increase the amount of benefit from your previous policy, but the 120 day exclusion will apply to that increased amount

Make sure you inform your current insurer and cancel your Direct Debit.

What is an excess period?

An excess period is the number of days you are off work that you have to wait before your entitlement to benefit commences. You will not be entitled to any benefit during this period.

After your excess period, there is an additional period of 30 days before payments are made.

Excess PeriodEntitlement CommencesFirst Monthly Benefit Payable
Back to day one ( 0 days) Day one Day 31
30 days Day 31 Day 61
60 days Day 61 Day 91
90 days Day 91 Day 121
180 days Day 181 Day 211

Who provides this protection cover?

British Insurance has selected a number of insurers to provide you with cover. We will let you know the insurer after you have completed your quote as it depends on your age and the type of cover you select. You will then also have access to the policy summary and full policy wording.

I live in the Isle of Man/Channel Islands – can I apply for protection insurance?

You can apply for cover if you are resident in the Isle of Man but unfortunately we are unable to provide cover for the Channel Islands.

How do I buy this insurance?

Just complete the application form online, which consists of a few questions, your contact details and your bank details. Payment is by monthly Direct Debit.

You should ensure that you have checked the full eligibility criteria presented to you during the application process and taken note of any exclusions that may apply. It is important that you have read and understood the policy wording and policy summary before taking out any policy.

Do you provide unemployment only cover?

Yes, we do provide unemployment only cover, however we do not provide this cover with a 180 day excess period.

What is this insurance designed to do?

Protection insurance is designed to provide you with an income when you cannot work due to an accident or sickness and/or unemployment. At British Insurance we offer two types of protection cover: Mortgage Payment Protection which can cover your mortgage repayments (you can choose to increase this by up to 25% for related expenses) or Income Protection which protects your income and can be used for any purpose, such as to cover any credit card payments, household bills and school fees, as well as your rent or mortgage.

Where can I find the policy wording for the policy I wish to apply for?

The policy wording that relates to you is dependent on the product options you select. You will be able to access the policy wording and policy summary after you have obtained a quote online. However, please note, if you change the criteria for your quote, the insurer and the policy wordings may change. Don’t worry, we ensure that you can read the wording, and the eligibility criteria again before you commit to buy. There is also a 30 day cooling off period at the start of the policy, during which you can cancel and get a full refund, so long as you have not made a claim.

Do I need a mortgage to be insured under this insurance?

To apply for Mortgage Protection cover, you do need to have a mortgage on the residential property that you occupy, and it can only cover your monthly mortgage repayment plus up to an extra 25%. However, for Income Protection cover you do not need a mortgage - you can protect any financial outgoings. For both types of cover, you will need a regular, taxable, monthly income.

Important Note: If you make a successful claim, benefits will be paid directly to you and not to a mortgage provider. Accordingly, please be aware that this will mean that as you are in receipt of an income, your eligibility for State ‘means tested’ benefits such as Income Support, may be affected. If you require further details, you should check with your local Job Centre Plus.

Can I have joint cover?

British Insurance does not offer joint cover. Each person wishing to be insured needs to take out a separate policy.

What types of cover are available under this insurance?

For both income payment protection and mortgage payment protection, British Insurance offers the following three cover options:

  • Accident, sickness and unemployment cover
  • Accident and sickness only cover
  • Unemployment only cover (except for 180 day excess)

How much can I insure?

The maximum monthly benefit that you can insure under Income Protection Insurance is £1,500 or 50% of your gross monthly income, whichever the lesser.

For Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance, the monthly benefit can cover your mortgage repayment amount plus up to 25% extra for additional related expenses. Your monthly benefit should not exceed £2,000 or 50% of your gross monthly income.

How long does this insurance cover me for?

All Mortgage and Income Protection policies British Insurance offers will pay claims benefit for up to 12 monthly payments in any 1 claim.

How long does this insurance last?

The policies offered are on a rolling contract that operates on a monthly basis and continues for each month that you pay your premium. Cover can continue until you retire, reach the age of 65 or until you or the insurer cancel. Further information, about the end date of cover, may be found in the policy wording.

Am I eligible to receive benefit under this insurance?

You are only eligible to receive benefits under the payment protection policies that British Insurance offer provided that you meet certain conditions. For guidance, you should refer to the eligibility section on the Payment Protection page. It is also essential that you satisfy the specific eligibility requirements presented to you during the application process.

How long do I have to wait before this insurance covers me for unemployment or carer benefit?

The policies we offer have an ‘initial exclusion period’ at the start of the policy. This means that during the first 120 days of cover, it is not possible to make a claim for unemployment or carer benefit.

This exclusion period may be waived if you are transferring cover from another policy and you should check the policy wording for further details.

Further information, about when you can and can’t claim for unemployment or carer benefit, can also be found in the policy wording.

How do I make a claim?

To make a claim, you should first of all call the claims line number as found in your policy documents. 

A claims handler will then talk you through the process and let you know what the next steps will be.

How do I change my monthly benefit?

To change your monthly benefit under the policies we offer is a very simple process. All you need to do is call the administrators for your policy, whose number can be found in the policy documents. Further information about how to change your benefit can be found in the policy wording.

How do I cancel this insurance?

You can cancel your cover under the policies we offer at anytime by contacting the insurers (or their administrators) of your policy, details of which can be found in the policy wording. In addition, you have a cooling-off period of 30 days at the start of your policy, during which you can cancel and get a full refund, providing you haven't claimed on this policy. Further information, about your cancellation rights, may be found in the policy wording.

How do I make a complaint?

Your policy wording document will provide details on how to make a complaint depending on the type of insurance you have and the insurance provider.

Contact details for British Insurance and our insurance providers can also be found on our Contact Us page.

Holiday Home Insurance

Why can't I buy standard home insurance for my holiday home?

There are restrictions and limits on cover in standard home insurance which cannot be imposed on a holiday home, for instance with regard to occupancy and renting out your property.

Standard home insurance normally has a condition on how long your home may be unoccupied for, and also requires it to be your main residence. This 2nd home insurance does not have that condition (although there are some restrictions if your home is unoccupied and you do need to make sure you take precautions so your home is safe and secure).

You also may wish to rent out your holiday home, or have family and friends stay in it. Unlike standard home insurance, this second home insurance provides for this.

In addition, if you have a holiday home abroad, there is extra cover you may need that is not offered by standard home insurance. In certain circumstances your policy may pay towards your travelling expenses/alternative accommodation if an emergency that is covered by this policy has happened to your overseas holiday home.

French home insurance, Spanish home insurance and Portuguese home insurance have specific liability requirements, which are covered in the Towergate Insurance holiday home policy.

Home insurance in France and Spain have specific requirements. In accordance with French Law your policy will be extended to include French natural catastrophe cover which would include material damage to any of the property insured under the policy due to an intense and abnormal natural event. In accordance with Spanish Law your policy will be extended to include Consorcio, which would include material damage to any of the property insured under the policy due to extraordinary events, such as earthquakes or terrorism.

Do you cover Spanish and French holiday homes?

The Towergate Insurance Holiday Home Insurance does cover Spanish and French holiday homes.

It provides insurance for properties in:

  • UK, including Channel Isles and Isle of Man
  • Spain
  • France
  • Portugal
  • Italy
  • Greece
  • Southern Cyprus
  • Bulgaria
  • Republic of Ireland

How do I establish the rebuild value of my holiday home?

If your holiday home is in the UK, just like with your main home, you can register with Association of British Insurers who have a rebuilding cost calculator on their website.

If your holiday home is abroad, you may want to get a qualified surveyor or builder to assess how much it would cost to rebuild your home and facilities around it such as your swimming pool and outbuildings. If you have a mortgage on your second home, you can refer to the mortgage valuation which normally shows the rebuild value.

Can I rent my holiday home out?

Yes you can but you need to make sure you have a rental agreement in place. 

Please refer to the Policy Wording for full details and exclusions

Why are there various public liability sections in the policy?

Different countries have different laws and regulations. This policy aims to provide appropriate cover for the country your second home is in.

Can I get covered straight away?

Yes, you can buy your policy online. If you have specific circumstances, your quote might need reviewing by our underwriters, which can take a little bit longer.

How do I establish the contents value in my home?

Contents are calculated on replacement as new (apart from clothing and household linen for which an amount for wear, tear and depreciation is deducted). Consider what is in each room, and what the items would cost if you had to buy them today. The total of all those items would be your contents sum insured. Kitchen cabinets and carpets are not included in your contents, but mirrors and free standing cupboards are.

What is IPT and are there any other taxes to be paid?

IPT stands for Insurance Premium Tax, and insurers are liable to charge this on each policy sold in the UK. All local taxes are included within the quoted premium and the underwriters are responsible for paying them to the appropriate countries.

What is the maximum rebuild value I can insure?

The maximum sum insured for buildings is £500,000.

What is the maximum contents value that I can insure?

The maximum contents sum insured is £60,000.

How can I pay for this insurance?

You can choose to pay either as a one off annual premium with your credit or debit card, or pay by monthly instalments through Direct Debit.

What are my cancellation rights?

You have the right to cancel this policy within 14 days of inception or renewal or receipt of policy or renewal documentation, whichever is the latter, without giving any reasons. If that happens, your premium will be refunded to you, after deduction of a charge for the cover provided from the beginning of the contract to the date of cancellation.

Following the expiry of your statutory cooling off period, you continue to have the right to cancel your policy at any time during its term. If you do so, you will be entitled to a refund of the premium paid, subject to a deduction for the time for which you have been covered. This will be calculated on a pro-rata basis for the period for which you received cover. However, where a claim has been made during the current Period of Insurance no refund or credit of premium will be due.

This application is online, why do I need to pay an administration charge?

Our underwriters charge an administration charge for the issuing of your policy and any further amendments you may need to make.

How can I amend this insurance?

To make changes to your insurance policy, you must contact the insurer or their appointed administrator. Please visit our Contact Us page for telephone numbers.

What is the length of time that the property can be vacant for and still be covered by this insurance?

There is no maximum length that the property can be unoccupied for. However, there are restrictions to your cover if your holiday home is unfurnished and there is limited cover to metered water if your home is unoccupied for a period in excess of 30 days.

If your home is unoccupied, any loss or damage as a result of water escaping from tanks, pipes, equipment or fixed heating systems is not covered unless

  • The water supplies are turned off at the mains (and for the period November to March inclusive all water tanks, pipes and apparatus are drained – excluding properties in Spain, Portugal or Southern Cyprus) or
  • The holiday home is maintained at a minimum temperature of 15° C at all times (excluding Spain, Portugal and Southern Cyprus)

Also make sure you have removed valuables, money and credit cards from your home.

Will a claim be paid to us in GBP or in the local currency?

All your claims will be settled in GB Pounds.

Can my friends and family stay in my holiday home?

Yes. If they do pay you rent, you need to make sure you have a rental agreement in place.

Is cover for my swimming pool included?

Yes cover is included under the buildings section of your policy subject to the sum insured being sufficient, however, you are not covered for escape of water from burst pipes. Furthermore, if the filtration plant and similar equipment is housed in a building detached from the main residence, malicious damage to those are also not covered.

Unoccupied Property Insurance

What if I only need to insure the property for a short period of time?

The unoccupied home insurance policy is very flexible with cover for 3, 6, 9, and 12 months at a time. 

Why can't I get standard buildings and contents cover for my unoccupied home?

Many providers will not insure properties which are left unoccupied for more than 30 days at a time, which is why you need to come to a specialist provider.

I have some items of furniture in the unoccupied property - are these covered?

Contents are covered up to £20,000 so your furniture will be covered as long as it does not exceed this amount.

Does this policy include property owners liability insurance?

Yes. The policy automatically provides property owners liability cover of up to £2 million. The policy wording contains the full terms and conditions including any exclusions.

How much should I insure my unoccupied property for?

For your buildings you need to take into consideration not only the cost of rebuilding the main property but also any outbuildings, swimming pools, boundary walls etc. The value should include solicitor and surveyor fees and demolition costs. With your contents you need to consider all household goods and personal property within your unoccupied property and how much you would have to pay to replace them as new. A deduction is made for wear and tear for clothing and linen.

Landlord Insurance

What cover do I need to arrange, rather than my tenants?

You need to ensure you have building cover in place. If you are renting out your property furnished, you should consider getting contents insurance.

What happens to my tenants if my property becomes uninhabitable?

Your policy can cover the cost of alternative accommodation for up to 20 percent of the sum insured. See the policy wording for conditions and exclusions.

What do I do if I need to cancel my cover?

You are entitled to a full refund of the premium paid if you find the policy unsuitable for your needs and cancel it within 14 days of receipt of your policy documents (as long as no claims have been made). If you need to cancel cover after that time, cancellation charges will apply. Please visit our Contact Us page for details on how to contact the relevant department.

Non-standard Home Insurance

What excess do I have to pay on this policy?

You can choose a voluntary excess from £50 to £250. If you choose a higher excess, your premium could be reduced. Certain types of constructions also carry compulsory excesses - such as flat-roofed properties.

What do I do if I need to cancel my cover?

You are entitled to a full refund of the premium paid if you find the policy unsuitable for your needs and cancel it within 14 days of receipt of your policy documents (as long as no claims have been made). If you need to cancel cover after that time, cancellation charges will apply. Please visit our Contact Us page for details of how to contact the relevant department.

Would you insure my property if it is both listed and timber framed?

Yes. We can cover for both of these situations.

Do I have to keep my property maintained?

You must maintain the home and all domestic equipment in good condition, and carry out or arrange regular inspections and preventative maintenance to the fabric and structure of the home.

Would I still be covered for theft under this policy?

Yes. As long as there is forcible entrance into or exit out of your property, you will be covered.