Am I covered by insurance?
When structural defects are discovered in a building the question that most quickly comes to mind is “am I covered by insurance?”
Of course the answer to that question depends entirely on the policy wording and the exclusions of individual insurance contracts.
A standard buildings insurance policy generally covers the full cost of repairing structural defects caused by unexpected events such as:
- Fire and explosions
- Falling trees
- Ground movements (earthquake or subsidence)
- Vehicle impacts
Therefore if the structure of a building is damaged from any of these events the immediate call to action is to contact the insurance company to make a claim.
Not all structural defects will be covered by insurance. The most common conditions of a buildings insurance policy are that one must take all reasonable steps to prevent loss, damage or injury by maintaining the building in good condition. Gradual damage occurs to most homes over time and the policy holder is expected to deal with such issues and keep the property in good order.
Common buildings insurance typically excludes the cost of repairing defects caused by predictable events such as:
- Age-related deterioration
- General wear and tear
- Lack of maintenance
- Faulty workmanship
The burden of keeping a home in good condition lies solely with the policy holder. If maintenance is not carried out to tackle issues of ‘wear and tear’ it can have devastating consequences. Home insurance claims are most often turned down because the insurers consider the policy holder has not properly maintained their home in a manner that would minimise risk.
Homeowners should make sure their property is kept in a good state of repair and that any necessary maintenance work is carried out as required. If brickwork is cracked or pointing is in poor condition then get the structure repaired as soon as possible. Otherwise it could leave the building vulnerable to further structural damage or water infiltration which may not be covered by insurance