Buildings Insurance - Standard
This is where we split up into standard cover
and accidental damage (or all risks). If you have standard
cover, you need to compare any loss you have with the list
of 'peril's that you are insured for. If you can't match the
cause of the loss to one of the perils on the list, you are
not covered. The 'onus of proof' is with you. That means it
is you that has to prove the cause of loss is covered.
If you have accidental damage, you then have an
'all risks' type of cover. Here you are covered for any and
every possible type of loss, except those listed in the
exclusions (small print). The 'onus of proof' rests with your
insurer. That means, they have to prove you are not
You should have a list of perils covered with another list of
exclusions that apply only to that peril. It might look
something like this:
Fire, Lightning, Explosion, Earthquake, Smoke - excludes damage
Aircraft and articles dropped from them
Impact by animals, vehicles or falling trees or branches -
excludes damage caused by felling or lopping trees
Theft or attempted theft - excludes losses that happen if left
unoccupied for more than 30 days or left unfurnished or caused
by a tenant or lodger or paying guest.
Malicious Persons - the same exclusions as for theft
Burst Pipes - some exclude frozen pipes, others include it
Storm or Flood - excludes damage by frost and damage by storm
to fences, gates and hedges
Riot, Civil Commotion, Strikes, Political or labour
Television Aerials, Satellite or radio-receiving aerials,
fittings and mast breakage or collapse
Subsidence - a long list of exclusions, see next section !
FIRE - Damage caused by a fire will usually
only be paid for where there has been ignition. Where there was
also smoke damage to your property from the fire, that is also
covered. You cannot claim for the smoke damage to your
decorations caused gradually by smoking cigarettes and so on.
That is not a fortuitous event, it is something over which you
have control. Hence the exclusion. There are some more
exceptions to the rule that there must be ignition. you can
find out more from the 'home insurance - grey areas' page of
LIGHTNING STRIKES - to your buildings are no
problem. If it hits an aerial, sorry but that is a contents
claim! Although aerials are listed as an insured peril, they do
not appear in the definition of a building. They do appear in
contents. So damage to aerials constitutes a contents claim.
Similarly with explosion and earthquakes. Fortunately these are
few and far between here in the UK.
AIRCRAFT - This will cover anything dropped
from anything that flies. Again, fortunately, a rare
IMPACT - The intention here is that if your
home is hit by a car or a wild animal, you are protected. With
trees, if you have arranged to have your tree cut down or
branches taken off, you need to make sure that all precautions
are taken to prevent it hitting your house (or out buildings).
Where you have an outside contractor doing this work, and they
cause damage to your property, then you have the right to seek
payment for the damage from them. But your policy will still
exclude this damage so you cannot ask your insurer to help.
THEFT - Cover is very wide, in other words the
exclusions do not take much away from you. Where your home is
left unoccupied for a long time (e.g. 30 days or more), then
cover is restricted as it is seen as a more tempting target for
thieves. Indeed, if you home is left unoccupied or unfurnished
you should tell your insurer anyway! Similarly with a tenant or
lodger. The risk of the tenant or lodge being involved in the
crime is such that your insurer does not want to take the risk
on, hence the exclusion. And again, if you are doing this, you
should tell your insurer.
MALICIOUS PERSONS - In many ways this is the
same as for theft.
BURST PIPES - Insurers position on this has
gradually changed over the years for the better. A good insurer
will pay for any leak, from any pipe, tank or water apparatus,
even where it has been leaking over a period of time. Some
insurers will also now include damage caused by frozen pipes
defrosting. When I first started working in this industry, it
was strictly the case that the pipe itself was not covered,
only the resulting water damage. Where there is clear evidence
that the pipe has failed due to rust then your insurer might
still raise this argument. If a pipe is holed by a nail, say
when fitting a carpet, then you will need accidental damage
cover for the pipe repair but the resultant water damage to
your building is paid for under this peril.
STORM OR FLOOD - What constitutes a storm is
given in the grey areas page of this site. Frost damage is
excluded although damage caused by snow is covered. A common
area of disappointment is that damage caused to fences, gates
and hedges are not covered. Some fences seem to blow down with
even the most mild gust of wind! I have seen at least one
insurer offering additional cover, at a premium, for storm
damage to these items.
RIOT, CIVIL COMMOTION etc. - Again, it is rare
for these to cause damage to your property, but when it does,
you are covered. In certain circumstances, your insurers will
have a right to recover their outlay from the local police.
LEAKAGE OF OIL - For those with oil fired
central heating, any damage to your buildings caused by the oil
leaking is covered.
TELEVISION, SATELLITE AERIALS - As indicated
above, your buildings are protected if any receiving aerials
collapses and cause damage. But the items themselves are
defined as contents and thus, not covered by your buildings
"I am black and blue under my private parts.
I would like you to look into this as soon as you
|Extracts taken from actual claim
forms submitted to
a number of UK car insurance companies