If you have damage to your main property fabric, then it may be worth an insurance claim to get the repair costs covered. This is applicable for both residential and commercial properties, and focuses on damage to the actual property through the building insurance, rather than your own personal or business items through contents insurance.
So you might have roof tiles falling off and needing repair, or a water leak from under your bath and shower chasing issues, not to mention of course any break-in damage. This can also involve other properties in shared development so a flat below affected by a water leak, or adjacent office unit by a shared damaged roof areas.
When looking to see if a building insurance claim is possible and even worth it, here’s three simple questions to ask:
1. Is it Part of the ‘Building’?
So, first check if the damaged part forms part of the building.
The good news here, is that if it is naturally part of the main structure then it probably is, even though your own lease may say otherwise.
So if you do have a leak from say your kitchen units or bathroom suite, then because they are permanently fixed, building insurers sensibly include as part of the building insurance, even though they may be part of your own demise and repairing liability as a tenant.
Although ‘loose’ items like curtains, lampshades, and personal belongings should get covered by a separate contents claim, then make sure this is also progressed as soon as possible and that either insurer has any details of the other.
2. Is the ‘Risk’ Covered?
So that water leak under the bath may be covered by the insurance, but you then need to look at what caused this problem, and if that is an insured ‘risk’. The rule of thumb is that if it has happened from an extreme situation that was not expected, or a ‘hidden’ area that you cannot normally check out, then it should be permitted.
So an extreme wind causing roof tiles to fall off should be covered, although if this is just down to poor maintenance and repair therefore it probably won’t be. However, a leak under the shower should still be covered, as although it might be down to disrepair, it’s not the sort of thing you can regularly check out.
3. Will Any ‘Excess’ Payment Make it Worthwhile?
So you’re on the right track with a possible insurance claim to pay the cost. Before you go off processing a claim and establishing different quotes, first check what excess payment is due on the policy.
So this is basically a set amount deducted from the claim, in order to deter very small and petty claims, often a few hundred pounds. So If your excess is £200, and your repair is £250, then you will only receive a £50 pay out, and after taking into account all the time and work involved in processing the claim and collating quotes, it may not actually be worth it.
If not, then you’ll have to cover the cost yourself, although if you’re in communal development with a landlord’s service charge, it’s worth checking if they will cover this and any excess payment on the service charge.
Therefore in short, begin by checking what physically is allowed as part of the ‘building’, to then begin seeing if this particular risk is covered, and if the figures add up taking into account the excess payment
It’s important as well to keep people posted, whether that’s a neighbor or managing agent or insurance contact, as often a communication breakdown can cause frustrations and unnecessary delays.