A recent devastating fire at a beautiful country estate in Hampshire gives a timely reminder of the need for an insurance cover that protects your country estate properly.
The fire at Clandon Park, a Grade I-listed, National Trust mansion near Guildford, Surrey, on 29 April, gutted the house. Starting in the basement (possibly from an electrical fault), the fire very quickly took hold with about 80 firefighters tackling the blaze at its height and taking nearly 24 hours to put it out. Whilst the devastation was immense with many timeless artefacts lost, a well-rehearsed fire drill was in place and the fire crews managed to save a significant number of valuable antiques.
Dame Helen Ghosh, director general of the National Trust, said the interior of the stately home was essentially “a shell” after most of the roof, lintel, ceiling and floors collapsed.
She said it was heartbreaking to witness the damage and the fire had come as a terrible shock and a devastating personal blow to staff and volunteers.
There’s no doubt the insurance claim will be complex and vast; from the months and years of rebuilding, to restoration of antiques and artefacts saved, to the replacement (if that is possible) or financial reimbursement of those lost. It’s going to keep many loss adjusters busy for a while!
I know this is an extreme example of what could happen to a country house and of course, this is a National Trust institution, so far larger than the types of country house estates we generally deal with, but it does show that when it goes wrong, it can be life changing and insurance is absolutely fundamental in trying to restore what is left of the property and valuables.
Insurance for country houses is a specialist area and it’s vital you make an informed choice when selecting the insurance coverage you require.
No two country houses are the same and no two insurance policies or premiums will be the same either.
Whether your property has been passed down through generations of your family or you have worked hard to buy your dream home, we understand that it’s worth far more to you than just the cost of the bricks and mortar. You may be running a business from there or it’s a lifestyle choice to live there. The sentimental value alone means it’s vital that you take the correct measures to protect your country house.
At Greenfield Insurance Services, we have been arranging Country Estate Insurance since 1989 and have access to over 25 country house insurance products and specialist high net worth products , all with insurers we have worked with for many years. We have a tried and tested quality claims service.
In addition, we find many of our clients use their country estates for alternative revenue streams such as office space, farm land rentals or wedding venues. We will tailor the insurance around this, making sure no area is overlooked.
We make sure you have the correct sum insured for your buildings and contents. In our experience, the cost of rebuilding country houses often far exceeds the market value of the property due to the unique structure of the country house. It’s vital that your insurance adequately covers your rebuilding costs so you don’t end up footing some of the cost if a major disaster does strike.