This summer has been a wash out as far as the weather is concerned. Rain, rain and yet more rain, causing localised flooding and disaster for all concerned. However with rain comes wet ground, reducing the need for trees and shrubs to extend their roots in search of moisture, which should result in fewer incidents of subsidence damage. Tree and shrub roots are a major cause of subsidence, especially in shrinkable soil areas.
We all enjoy a sunny day, but prolonged spells of hot weather results in a rise in subsidence damage. The summer of 2012 might be a low point for sun lovers, but it may be a season with fewer subsidence damage than usual. Subsidence is costly for insurers, so fewer claims may mean less of a squeeze on home insurance premiums, helping to lessen the effects as insurers compare premiums with claim payments.
Generally the definition of what constitutes Buildings and Contents under a home insurance is commonsense and straight forward. Buildings being all domestic buildings within the boundaries of the land, owned by the insured and permanent fixtures and fittings. Contents are portable items, possessions you’d take with you if you move, including carpets and curtains. There are however a few areas which can cause confusion, so here we go.
- Flooring, glued, nailed or stuck down would usually be considered Buildings, with carpets coming under Contents.
- Fitted kitchens and bathrooms under Buildings, but free standing (not built in) domestic appliances being Contents.
- Satellite dishes, receiving aerials, their fittings and masts are considered Contents, as seen as an extension of the television.
The insurance policy wording will give you a definition of Home Buildings and Contents, along with the terms, conditions and exclusions. Insurers usually keep to a plain English format, to make the policy wording easier to understand. Leaving aside complex insurance jargon. If you’re still none the wiser, then any queries should be ironed out in a phone call.
On occasions confusion can arise when insured damage occurs to laminate flooring. Especially when the owner has separate Home Buildings and Contents policies with different insurers.
Although there is no Association of British Insurers (ABI) agreement on whether laminate flooring is covered under Buildings or Contents, a meeting in July 2003 of the Property Claims Forum, an insurance industry group, concluded that it should be insured under a Home Buildings policy. This decision is not set in stone, so very much a matter for individual insurers to decide. Insurers may take into account whether the laminate tongue and groove is glued, binding the flooring and making it more permanent. If so the outcome is more likely to be a matter for the Buildings insurers. No glue then the outcome might be a little less clear.
Obtaining cover for Contents Insurance for homes with past subsidence history can be difficult, despite claims for subsidence damage being a matter for the buildings insurers. Try using an insurers’ website or a price comparison site and it is likely you will get nowhere once you disclose the past subsidence. Call centres are no better, so where do you go for common sense thinking and a decent price? As a specialist Insurance Broker we use our expertise to find a solution, at of course the right premium. If you live in a flat or in a situation where it is best to keep the buildings with the current insurer, but wish to compare the price of having separate contents insurance, we are here to help.
Our Contents Insurance policy comes with a wide range of cover as standard, including spoilt freezer contents, loss of home keys and family legal expenses. Other optional covers can be added for extra premium, such as full accidental damage, cover for personal possessions away from home for jewellery, laptops, mobile phones, personal money and cycles. You can choose the cover that suits your requirements.
To obtain a competitive quote please click on the QUOTE LINK, submit your details and we will come back to you, or call Steve Hayton or David Nash on 020 8941 2204 during office hours.