More claims arise from escape of water (or oil) than any other under home insurance, making the cover given and the terms applied an important issue when choosing a policy.
A home insurance will cover the damage caused by the escape of water from fixed domestic heating or water installations and domestic appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers. A buildings policy will cover the damage caused to the buildings and a contents insurance will cover the damage to the contents. One area which is not insured is the plumbing works to rectify the leak, as this is considered a maintenance, a general upkeep issue so the responsibility of the homeowner. Some more comprehensive home buildings insurances will cover the cost of tracing and accessing the leak by a tradesman, but not the leak repairs.
As always there are terms and conditions applying, escape of water damage is generally excluded when the home has been unoccupied for a set period detailed in the policy wording, which could be 30 or 60 days. Escape of water resulting in subsidence, ground heave and landslip is excluded. Finally it is common practice with insurers to have an increased compulsory excess for this peril of usually £250, with any voluntary excess on the policy added on top. Please check your insurance schedule and policy wording for details of your cover, terms and conditions.
When renting there’s always the possibility of accidentally causing damage to the landlord’s buildings and then being liable for the costs. If as a tenant you have a home contents insurance in force covering your possessions, then you may have tenants liability cover for damage to the building. This policy extension usually comes with a limit, often 20% of your contents sum insured including additional costs and expenses, such as architects and surveyors fees, clearing debris, shoring or propping up and the cost of complying with any government or local authority requirements. Sounds heavy stuff, most of which may not be required, but the basic provision of cover gives the tenant assurance and peace of mind.
Please check in your policy wording to see whether cover is in force or if you are looking for a tenants contents insurance quote including this extension we would be pleased to help.
Insurers are usually good at keeping up with changes in lifestyles and are willing in adapt home insurance accordingly, provided the change is in keeping with a domestic policy and the risk isn’t significantly increased. Most standard policies now come with automatic cover for office contents owned or the legal responsibility of the policyholder. Limits generally apply, maybe £5,000 or 10% of the overall home contents sum insured, whichever is the lessor. Cover applies for own use and in connection with the policyholder’s business or occupation, although it is worth mentioning that any liabilities arising from business activities would be excluded. Office contents more specifically insured elsewhere, such as a business office policy, would also be excluded. If you need a wider scope of cover then a homeworkers insurance may be suitable, especially if you run your own business from home. Homeworkers policies are a combination of home and office insurance, where you can insure a full range of office equipment at home, cover laptops, cameras and mobile phones whilst away on business, employers and public liability, business interruption and business money. For details try searching online for homeworkers insurance or contact an insurance broker for advice.
As always the devil is in the detail. The policy wording relating to your home insurance will tell you if there is cover and if so the limits, terms, conditions and exclusions.