In an ideal world, we’d like to cover everything that happens to a home. But the reality is that the purpose of insurance is to provide cover for the unexpected, and if we covered every eventuality premiums would rise – potentially making insurance unaffordable for some. While we can’t protect everything, we can help to explain what isn’t usually covered by a home insurance policy and why. Below are some of the most common exclusions and the reasons why they’re not covered.
As a nation of animal lovers, our furry friends are a big part of our lives. But as any pet owner knows, they can – and do – cause damage. Almost a fifth (17%) of homeowners thought that damage caused by pets is covered by their home insurance. In fact, it’s a common exclusion across many policies, so it’s worth checking yours.
A quarter (25%) of people we surveyed thought their insurance would pay out for fences damaged in a storm. But this is a common exclusion because fences are highly susceptible to wind damage, particularly if they’re old or have been poorly installed. Damage to fences accounts for 10% of all Aviva home insurance claims rejected because of a policy exclusion6.
As policies vary across the industry, it’s worth checking the policy documents to see what cover is in place.
Wear and tear
Wear and tear accounts for 11% of all declined claims6, and the survey also showed a similar proportion – one in ten (12%) homeowners – thought home maintenance was covered by their home insurance policy. For example, damp – especially if left untreated – can cause major problems both inside and outside the home, but it isn’t usually covered by home insurance.
Home insurance isn’t a maintenance contract: it’s there to cover unforeseen events and doesn’t normally cover damage that’s occurred over a period of time. To protect their homes, we advise homeowners to regularly check their properties – particularly areas commonly prone to gradual wear and tear like gutters, flat roofs and fascia boards.
When does bad weather become a storm?
If regularly maintained, most homes can withstand rain and wind. However, weather can expose rather than cause poor maintenance problems, such as loose guttering falling down – an event that wouldn’t generally be covered by insurance.
Damage caused by a storm, though, would usually be covered by a home insurance policy. To establish storm conditions, insurers normally use third party expert weather data. Generally, a storm is classed as wind speed or gusts over 55mph.
Insurers will also consider other factors. For instance, properties in exposed locations are more likely to be damaged at lower wind speeds.
6 Analysis of Aviva home insurance claims 2016 which are rejected due to policy exclusion