Regarding the experience with the insurance company, basically, when I rang to transfer the existing policy in to my husband's name (as his aunt died in February this year) they advised the existing policy would have to be cancelled and a new one issued. As the policy did not expire until February 2011 they would issue a refund.
I then advised the representative that since their policy holder died on the 10 February, the property was unoccupied. Once again, I was advised that there's a clause stating the property could only be left unoccupied for up to 45 days and after that the policy becomes invalid.
I was then told that they don't insure empty properties, I asked why not and they said it was a higher risk, and I commented that surely empty properties are at higher risk and are in more need of property insurance - the insurance company's representative just kept repeating the same thing from her script that properties could remain empty for up to 45 days but anything longer then the policy would become invalid and that they did not insure empty properties.
She did however confirm that they would offer to quote for household insurance to any subsequent purchaser of the subject property despite the previous flooding claim and any potential flood risk.
I told her again to cancel the policy, but said that she could not cancel the policy until receipt of a copy of the death certificate and a written request along with proof that my Husband, Ian, was the executor. To this end, although I'm very reluctant and uncomfortable doing so, I have to forward a copy of the will as this is the only document we have stating that Ian is the executor. Upon receipt of this documentation she will then be in a position to issue a refund.
By this time (moreorless an hour later) I was getting rather hacked off, so told her to forget the refund and just cancel the policy, to which she replied that she could not cancel the policy without written notification.
I think I sighed heavily at this point, gave in and said that I would do as she asked but surely there must be something they could do for empty properties. At this point she put me on hold for several minutes (adding to my ever increasing phone bill) When she eventually took me off hold, she suggested that she redirect me to some organisation (who apparently specialised in high risk insurance), which she did, the phone rang out and then an automated voice message said I was being transferred - the phone rang with a very odd short tone for about 5 minutes (again, I expect a premium rated call!!) and then just cut off - resulting in my patience and temper at its limit, and no doubt a very expensive phone bill.
I then proceeded to search the internet for unoccupied property insurance and as the subject property was a victim of flooding in 2007, Flood insurance cover, which is where you came in and managed to get me on cover in 5 minutes without any fuss.
Are you looking for insurance for a property in a Flood Risk Area? Take a look at http://www.jml-insurance.co.uk/types.php?id=81&sec=1 It could save you a lot of Inrternet searching