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Home Insurance Topics Of Interest (D-J)

Document L – Document L is part of the Building Regulations for England & Wales that sets the standard of energy efficiency in buildings. The equivalent section of Scottish Building Regulations is known as Part J. Click Here for more information.

Drains – You should expect your insurer to pay for blockages in drains where this has been cause fortuitously, under the accidental damage to underground services, provided there are no other untoward features. Drain damage can also be linked to subsidence claims.

Escape of Water/Burst Pipes - You will need to check what your policy says, but generally I would expect a good insurer to take a wide interpretation of this insured event. For example, I would expect water escaping from pipes, leaking radiators, fish tanks and other water receptacles to be included. I would expect gradual leakage to be covered where this was previously unknown by you.

Excess – Where a value exceeds the sum insured, I would expect an excess to be deducted before the application of the policy limit.

Exclusions – Where ‘all –risks’ or ‘accidental damage’ cover applies, remember that the burden of proving that it is not covered rests with your insurer. You do not have to show that the exclusion does not apply.

Extra Cover – Sometimes your loss could be covered by more than one section of your policy. This usually arises with a contents and a personal effects section. Your insurer should meet the claim under whichever section gives you the best possible settlement.

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Fire – What damage can you claim for under the fire peril? Generally, there should be actual ignition and damage occur outside the confines of a heating appliance. But you should expect the following to be included. Fortuitous cigarette burns Scorching caused by hot irons and electric fires Refilling of fire extinguishers or pay for metered water used to fight the fire Smoke damage caused by a fire You should not expect your insurer to pay for melting, such as putting a hot saucepan onto a worktop. If the melting correlates to other fire damage where there has been an ignition, then that is a different matter.

Flood – this can be defined as a moving body of water that is usually caused by burst water mains, overflowing rivers, seas and so on.

Fraud – Don’t try to cheat your insurer! The chances are you will be caught out. There are many instances where your insurer might consider you are being fraudulent whereas you feel you are just trying to reduce your premium or increase your claims settlement. I can only say to you, be 100% honest with your insurer at all times. They, in turn, must be 100% honest with you and I encourage more transparency by the insurance industry.

Impact by Animals – This one is interpreted by different insurers in different ways! Some strange ideas have been promoted by media consumer programs no doubt more intent on entertaining than a serious attempt to clarify the cover. Similarly, the accidental damage section might well exclude damage caused by vermin. What you regard as vermin might be different to the claims handler! My old dictionary defines it as ‘creatures injurious to game and crops, noxious parasites and vile persons’ If there is ambiguity, I suggest you quote one of those quasi -Latin legal phrases at your insurer – the contra proferentem rule. If a phrase in an insurance policy is not clear, the meaning more favourable to the policyholder is taken. Damage by domestic pets is usually excluded. It isn’t a risk – it’s a certainty!


 "The accident occurred when I was attempting to bring my car out of a skid by steering it into the other vehicle."
Extracts taken from actual claim forms submitted to
a number of UK car insurance companies