Tag Archives: loss assessors

Building Insurance and Subsidence

Subsidence doesn’t only involve spectacular holes that make the news. Any building in an area where the soil has a high clay content could be at risk of subsidence.

Of course, insurance companies know all about this, and if your home is at higher than normal risk of subsidence, your insurance policy will include a higher excess than normal. In fact, most policies specify a higher excess for subsidence than other risks.

Avoiding Subsidence

If you live in an area like this, the best way to avoid having to negotiate with the Loss Adjuster for a subsidence insurance claim is not to plant large trees or shrubs near the building. However, if there are already trees when you move in, you may need the Council’s permission to cut them down, so you’ll need to talk to them first.

It’s not always just a matter of cutting down the obvious trees, though. Allied Claims have encountered cases when repairs have been made only for other trees to cause more subsidence. In any case, trees aren’t the only reason for subsidence. Leaking drains beneath or near the house can also be a cause.

After subsidence has occurred and been confirmed, the first thing is for the cause to be determined. This is likely to involve a period of monitoring, which can be for as long as eighteen months, before any repairs are made. Only when you know all the facts can Allied Claims present your case to the Loss Adjuster.

How Much Insurance Cover Should You Have?

How much should you insure your possessions for? It’s a tricky question, since too low means you wouldn’t be able to replace everything if you made a claim, while too much means you’re wasting money on the premiums, and the Loss Adjuster will require the correct valuation when you claim. What you need is just enough cover.

In addition to the basic cover, contents insurance providers offer various add-ons. Perhaps the most important of these is Accidental Cover, which we’d advise taking up, while other extras like Legal Cover and Home Emergency Cover depend on the circumstances. If you’ve done the sensible thing and gone through an insurance broker, they’ll advise you on these.

Valuing Your Possessions

So how do you get an accurate valuation of your possessions? It’s a laborious job, but you only have to do it once. Just go from room to room putting each item and its value on a spreadsheet, not forgetting those obscure items (bike, barbecue, exercise equipment) that you used once or twice and stuck in the shed or attic.

You’ll be surprised how much it all adds up to — and the good news is that, once you’ve done it, you’ll only need to add new items as you get them.

For anything regarded as high-value by Insurers, you’ll need to make up a second spreadsheet. Anything worth more than the Insurer’s high-risk single item value must be itemised in the insurance policy, or the Loss Adjuster will refuse to pay out on a claim for those items.

Insurance Claim and Occupancy Clause on Household Policies

Water damage insurance claim

Before you make an insurance claim on any insurance policy you have, it’s essential to read through all those fine-print clauses. Yes, it might be boring, but not nearly as bad as being hit by a restriction you weren’t expecting when you try to make a claim.

A case in point is the Occupancy Clause.

Most home insurance policies, and the majority of policies for commercial properties, include a clause that addresses the “occupancy issue”. The exact wording will vary from policy to policy, but what they all say boils down to stipulating a maximum length of time the property can be left unoccupied, if you need to make an insurance claim is usually 30 days.

If you’re intending to leave the property unoccupied for longer than this, the Insurer must be notified, preferably in writing or by email, and specified actions must be taken by the Policy holder. The most common are that the heating must be kept on, bi-weekly visits must be made, and that an alarm must be installed.

However, it’s vital to check exactly what your policy says and make sure you know what needs to be done, in addition to informing the Insurer if the property is going to be empty for more than 30 days.

This can apply to any circumstances when the property will be unoccupied, but it’s particularly relevant to anyone letting out a property. The landlord must notify the Insurer as soon as the tenant has moved out. In many cases, the landlord will be making repairs or decorating before the new tenant moves in, and this can easily stretch out beyond 30 days so watch out if you are about to make an insurance claim.

Whether your insurance is for a domestic or a commercial property, make sure you know your obligations under the Occupancy Clause. If you don’t, there’s a good chance that you’ll be left without a penny if you have to make a claim.