Buildings insurance is compulsory when you take out a mortgage in the UK. If you are a tenant, this type of UK home insurance policy is the responsibility of your landlord as it covers any structural damage to the property. Many people have claims on their building insurance policy refused because they aren’t clear what is covered. Let’s look at the most common questions homeowners ask:
- Home insurance and rising damp
- Insurance and roof leaks
- Whether a broken boiler is covered by home insurance
- Getting home insurance after a fire
Does house insurance cover rising damp?
Rising damp is generally more common in older properties that were built without any waterproof layers in ground-floor walls. As rising damp is classified as a gradually deteriorating problem, it isn’t covered by home insurance policies. One of the assumptions that insurers make is that your home is in good condition when the policy was taken out (irrespective of whether you realised there was a problem).
Does house insurance cover roof leaks?
An insurer might be prepared to pay out for damage caused to the roof by a one-off event which won’t be repeated. However, they will turn down your claim if they feel the roof leaks were a direct result of wear and tear and insufficient maintenance of the property which is your responsibility as a homeowner.
It is therefore important that you clear guttering and fix any slipped tiles. You should always keep proof of any work you do or have done by a professional to show that you maintained the property.
Home insurance questions:
As part of your home insurance policy, you may wish to consider accidental damage buildings cover. This type of cover can protect you in the event of damage to the building itself, as opposed to the contents of the building. This type of damage may occur by accidentally drilling through water pipes, for instance, or by doing DYI work at your home.
Home buildings insurance policies typically cover you from damage to your house caused by movement, which may result in cracked walls. This may occur from landslip or subsidence, in which event your house will likely need repairs to the resulting cracked walls. It is important to check whether your UK home insurance policy includes this coverage and consider the worth of being insured against this type of damage depending on the profile of the area in which you live.
The most rudimentary home insurance policy typically does not cover the policy holder in the event of an accident during home improvement. However, accidental damage cover may suffice to protect against certain types of damage. More extensive building and home contents insurance policies may also provide cover for damage caused by poor workmanship.
Is a broken boiler covered by home insurance?
A broken boiler isn’t generally covered in a standard UK home insurance policy. This is because it is so common, can be expensive to repair and often householders are partly to blame because of the lack of maintenance such as an annual service.
It is possible to add your boiler to your main policy for only a few pounds a month extra. However, if your boiler is 10-15 years old and/or isn’t serviced annually, your insurer might refuse to give you cover. You should always check the terms and conditions because there might also be a cap on how much they’ll be prepared to pay if it breaks down.
Instead of having the boiler insured as an add-on, you could take out a standalone policy. This tends to be more comprehensive and often includes a free service and no cap. Alternatively, you could take out home emergency cover. This policy would cover all domestic emergencies from burst pipes to electrical failure. However, if damage happens in the warmer months (May-August), a broken boiler might not be classed as an emergency.
How to get home insurance after a fire
If you’ve already had a home fire, you can still get home insurance but your insurer will ask you about previous claims you have made. You must be honest otherwise your policy can be declared invalid. After having made a previous claim on your home insurance, you might find that your premiums are higher. Simple measures like the installation of smoke detectors can bring the price down. For owners who have a property to renovate it is also worth investigating unoccupied property insurance to make certain your building is covered while it is empty.