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Buildings and Contents Insurance for your Practice

Over the last few years many practices have saved money, in some cases several hundred pounds, by switching their business surgery insurance provider.

Yet it is all too easy to simply agree to the first set of renewal terms received and continue with the existing insurer – regardless of the fact that there may be a better value for money contract available in the market. At the minimum, cover should be regularly reviewed to ensure that adequate cover is provided and that it remains relevant to the practice needs and circumstances.

There are number of key areas within a typical, package insurance policy. The following is a brief review:

• Buildings: Ideally, this would be all risks cover to ensure premises are fully reinstated in the event of the worst happening. To help avoid underinsuring your property and reducing any claim payout there are some simple steps you can take. To check your buildings are insured for the correct amount, we recommend you periodically carry out a building survey based on the rebuilding cost and not the market value. For an indication you can visit the website of the Association of British Insurers at Your ‘sum insured' is kept up to date by ensuring the policy is index linked. This is quite a common policy feature now. However, you must make sure the original sum insured is correct when taking out the policy. You must keep your insurance broker informed of any changes to your property that will affect its value; for example, building an extension or upgrading the quality of the interior fittings.

• Contents: This should be on an all-risks basis to cover any eventuality. You should also seek for a contract to cover aspects such as loss of money, medical bags, equipment and so on. Additionally, practices – as with all business – have an increasing need and reliance on computers. It is crucial to ensure your IT equipment is adequately insured, and that in the event of a claim new equipment will be quickly provided to ensure the surgery can be up and running in the shortest time possible. If you do not have computer cover, you do not benefit from the recompilation of data lost as a result of the damage to the computer.

• Subsidence cover: Property damage to buildings cover tends to automatically follow the contents section on a commercial all-risks basis, but you should check whether this is covered and not assume that it is. In the event of a claim, the excess – that is, the amount you have to pay – is normally £1,000.

• Liability: Like any other organisations, doctors' practices are required by law to have employer's liability. All surgery policies carry employer's liability cover as well public liability cover.

• Revenue protection/business interruption: In the event of a material damage claim to your property, if your practice had to close even for a short period your income would drop – and yet you would still need to pay bills and wages. Business interruption cover is available to handle this eventuality. Cover is available for gross fees and other practice income, which would include loss of income for professional services and the additional expenditure needed to avoid a reduction in your income. The increased cost of working would include relocation costs, advertising and increased rents.

Apart from ensuring the main aspects of the practice are covered, value can often be obtained from the incidentals within a policy – for example, are vaccines covered, and to what level so as to provide an appropriate allowance for seasonal variations, keeping your insurer notified of any improvements or changes to security arrangements such as a new alarm system.

At Pulse Independent, we have developed our own insurance scheme for practices in conjunction with a major insurer, providing all the major benefits outlined above, all with very competitive premium rates. Furthermore, as a reader of Pulse – and not withstanding the fact that we believe our new scheme to be highly competitive already – we are able to offer an additional discount of up to 10% on the first year's premium.

Let us check your existing cover – provide us details of your existing insurance (your renewal documents or schedule will tell us all we need to know) and we can advise as to whether or not we can provide better-value cover. If you are better off staying with your existing insurers we will tell you exactly that, so at worst you will have peace of mind. There is nothing to lose and, potentially, savings to be gained.

To enable us to provide a quotation, please call us on 01245 260117 to discuss details of your existing cover, email the information to us at, fax us on 01245 491641 or return the attached coupon. We will then provide a quote and full details of the cover.

* Pulse Independent is a trading name of R J Hurst & Partners Ltd, authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority