Should You Insure A Property Going Through Probate?
It is unlikely that you will be asked any questions about whether a property is insured or not when you apply for probate. It is not a requirement for applying for probate or receiving the grant of probate; it won’t stop you doing what you need to do as an executor.
However, making sure that the right insurance is in place is actually a rather important thing to do. Remember that any home insurance that was being paid on the property by the deceased is no longer valid, even if the payments are still being made through direct debit or similar. If the person under whose name the insurance is paid for is dead, no payments will be made if anyone tried to claim on it. In essence, therefore, until probate is complete and the house can be sold or passed on to the beneficiaries, it will be uninsured unless something is done about it.
Those who are responsible for the estate should therefore arrange for insurance on it for the probate period. This is especially important if the property is to be sold – in order to get the best price, the upkeep should be good and the house should be in good repair. If anything where to happen, especially while the property is empty, then the insurance would be able to make it good again for the sale. Insurance will also be able to fix any burst water pipes and general wear and tear. The heating will, in an empty house, be turned off. This will save money. But it can also lead to pipes freezing and bursting and therefore insurance with additional emergency works cover is often useful. It will be better to have the insurance dealing with these problems rather than the beneficiary who may not be able to afford large repairs and will have to sell the house at less than it is worth. A vacant house should be inspected regularly to ensure that everything is as it should be.
There is a special insurance known as ‘unoccupied property insurance’ which is designed for exactly this situation.