A Guide to Subsidence Insurance

What is Subsidence?

Subsidence refers to the quality and variation of the ground on which your property is built. If this ground is uneven, cracked or damaged then your property is considered to be affected by subsidence. This is an aspect of home insurance that is often overlooked as many people assume that only houses built on cliff faces or other high risk areas can be affected. This is far from the case. There are many factors that can cause subsidence even if your home isn’t considered to be in a high risk area. For example if you’ve had any large trees either removed or planted near your house – this will affect the ground underneath it. Also extreme weather conditions are one of the most common causes of subsidence. Dry spells in particular are known to cause properties to be susceptible to subsidence as the soil can shrink and swell due to a lack of moisture.

How Do I know if my Property’s at Risk?

There are certain tell tale signs that your property may be affected by subsidence. Things such as

  • Unexplained damage to walls or floors
  • Tears in the wallpaper
  • Doors or windows are difficult to open
  • Protrusions in the walls

If your property shows some or all of these signs then there is a good chance that it is affected by subsidence. Often if your property hasn’t be treated for subsidence in the past then it will be covered as part of your home insurance. You cannot take this for granted, however. The first thing you do before thinking of getting quotes for subsidence specifically, is to find out if your covered by your home insurance.

Should I Get a Policy?

Subsidence can be very tricky to assess for a non-expert. Simply having some cracks around the interior of your home is not conclusive proof that you have subsidence. If you’re certain you don’t have subsidence and the property has no history of it then you can probably have it covered by your home insurance. If however you strongly suspect that your property is affected by subsidence and has a history of it, then you will probably need a specialist policy. In this case the insurance company will usually send an expert to assess your property, as well as the risk of a claim and use this information to tailor a quote for you.

The idea of a specialist policy is that it will cover you much more thoroughly than a home insurance policy that covers subsidence. If subsidence is covered in your home insurance policy then be sure to read the small print to see exactly what you’re covered for. Often it is very minimal coverage, which is less than idea, especially if your property is high risk.

Getting a Policy

The difficulty and cost of getting a subsidence insurance policy will vary depending on where you live and how badly your property is already affected by subsidence. Subsidence insurance can very costly if you live in a high risk area so you want to know for sure that your property has been properly assessed. It would be a good idea to have an independent contractor assess your property for current subsidence damage. If you feel you’re in a high risk area then you really have no choice but to take out a policy as your home is irreplaceable and is too valuable an asset to take chances with.

You can usually get an idea of the price you might expect to pay by getting quotes from several companies online (with www.subsidenceinsurances.co.uk you can do this online). However you should not take out a policy unless your certain of the risk factor and history of your property as you can easily find yourself paying over the odds.

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Is my mobile phone covered by my contents insurance?

Insurance of almost any kind can never be classified as a waste of time or money. However they all serve completely different purposes, therefore it is important to find the appropriate cover for the right purposes. The value of goods is not always clear to owners and so very often some items are treated in a nonchalant manner and are eventually damaged, although they may carry considerable value. Value of all the items in a home can accumulate to a hefty sum. For many people, the net worth of personal possessions in their homes can often amount very closely to the value of their homes. Mobile phones seemingly come under this category. Here we address the issue of your mobile phone being covered by your contents insurance.

What is contents insurance?

Whilst your possessions are in your home, any unintended loss or damage caused to them within the bounds of your home can be covered by home contents insurance. Contents insurance may not restore individual possessions in case of fires or floods but the aggregate values of the items will be reimbursed in such events. Contents insurance applies not only to residents but can cover businesses of all types.

What insurance does my mobile require?

When it comes to protecting your mobile phone from theft or loss, there are two main insurance options available. Mobile phones can either be added to household contents insurance or can be protected by standalone covers. There is no denying the fact that finding the best insurance policy for the latest mobile phone models, which have a replacement cost over £500, is of the utmost importance.

The most common way to insure a handset is to purchase a policy from the mobile phone network provider. Unfortunately many people forget that mobile phone insurance covers can be very expensive and often, wrongly, assume that finding a cheap monthly or pay as you go mobile phone deals means an equally cost-effective mobile phone insurance cover can be found. This is simply not the case. The average insurance costs for smartphones range from £10 to £15 per month, in addition to the price of the tariff and any incurred costs over the course of a price plan month.

Shop around

However, here’s a way we think you could make huge savings and still benefit from great insurance deals for your mobile phone. Take advantage of the many small firms currently offering insurance for smartphones, at almost half the price of their larger counterparts. From some of these firms, smartphones can be covered from just over £5 per month and come without the annoyance of easy get-outs. Your mobile will be covered in all respects, and unlike a with household contents insurance, your mobile phone will be covered at all times, not only when you are at home and the phone is lost or damaged within the home.

Extra household cover

If you feel that you’re already spending a large sum of money on insurance, your mobile phone can be added to your home insurance cover, in the form of an out of home extra which will incur very little extra costs to your current insurance rates. However, some household contents insurance policies include a no-claims discount, which is highly significant because if a claim for your mobile phone is made, your premium could substantially increase.

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Obtain Inexpensive Renter’s Insurance

Depending on whom you rent from, sometimes renters insurance is required; it will depend on the landlord. Even if you are not required by your landlord to obtain renter’s insurance, it still is not a bad idea. Renter’s insurance is great whether you live in a house, condo, or an apartment.

You could say that there is an art to purchasing this type of coverage. For one thing, you should not be against it, as it has your best interests at heart, and those of your family, visitors, and even your landlord. Your insurance policy will cover you, your belongings, and your family, as well as any visitors that may come to your home.

If you have roommates that are not related to you, they will have to have their own insurance policies, as coverage under the same roof only applies to family members.

Because you are not related, that means that there are two different sets of personal belongings, meaning that there needs to be two separate policies to cover them. Also, if one roommate buys insurance and one does not, the one who does not must understand that his or her property is not covered under the other’s policy. Some of the stipulations are subject to change, as it all depends on the insurance carrier that you choose to purchase your policy from.

Before two or more people decide to live together, the etiquette of renter’s insurance should be discussed fully. It should be well understood by all parties what is and is not covered under the respective policies. For the best information, call your local insurance provider and find out what their coverage policies are when it comes to renter’s insurance.

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Contents Insurance for Tenants

Lamps, the contents of my trunk, Wedgwood, Seattle, Washington, USA
Creative Commons License photo credit: Wonderlane

Tenants often don’t need the same type of contents insurance as people who are buying their own homes.  A tenant doesn’t need to protect the building that they live in as that is the responsibility of the landlord who owns the property.  Landlords should have their own Landlord Insurance cover.

Buildings Insurance shouldn’t be a concern but it is always a good idea to have contents insurance for tenants.  This protects any belongings that a tenant owns in the property or doesn’t want to lose.

It’s important to look carefully at the contents insurance policy wording to check if you are covered for the items that you actually need to be covered for.  Some policies don’t cover expensive items as standard, this can be items over £2000 very often.  You will then need to buy additional cover for valuable items should you have expensive jewellery, electronic equipment, or anything else.

Alongside your contents insurance you could also be offered cover for accidental damage.  This will generally be an extra too.  It covers your possessions should you accidentally damage something, for example by spilling something on a piece of electronic equipment.

Landlords do not need to provide contents insurance for their tenants, it is the tenants responsibility to find their own insurance, so tenants need to be aware of this if they are renting for the first time.  This is particularly true in the case of students who might not think about taking out contents insurance cover.

There are a number of ways to make sure you don’t pay too much for your contents insurance.  One of the best ways is to shop around online to find the best deal.  There are numerous places you can compare quotes online, so you can look at different quotes side  by side and judge which is best value for you.

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How a CCTV Drain Survey Can Help with Your Insurance Claim

Ribbed for your pleasure
Creative Commons License photo credit: sub-urban.com 

When you’re buying a property, you have all sorts of surveys conducted to find out whether there are any problems with your new property and the land it stands on. One thing you may not consider however, and which is often not included in property surveys, is a drainage survey. However, one of these could be invaluable if you ever need to make an insurance claim for damage caused by blocked drains.

If you do not have a drainage survey when buying a new home, this could lead to serious problems and costly repairs down the line. Collapses, subsidence, invasive tree roots and cracked or broken pipes could all pose problems, especially if the property you are buying is old or has been empty for a long time.

This is where a drain survey comes in. This involves a digital CCTV camera being fed through the pipes, recording everything along the way. The drain cleaning engineer can view these images on a monitor and find any current or potential problems.

You usually have to pay for these surveys yourself, but the cost is definitely worth it, especially when you weigh it up against the possible cost of damage and repairs later on. Even if your survey doesn’t find any current problems, it may highlight something that could become a problem in the future, allowing you to fix it before it causes any damage. Even the smallest everyday wear and tear could become more serious if it’s allowed to go unchecked.

Drains surveys can also help when it comes to insurance claims. CCTV drain survey providers will be able to provide you with the results of your survey in several ways. You can request a DVD copy of the inspection, a series of still images, or a written report. These are essential if you want to make a claim, as you will be asked by your insurance company to provide full documentation of the problem and any other issues that might show up.

Make sure you read your policy carefully when making a claim, too. Some insurers do not cover shared drains, for example. If you are not covered, you can take out insurance specifically intended for drainage and plumbing, which will cover you against a range of issues concerning drainage, structural damage, your boiler and so on.

Your home insurance company might even refuse to pay out in the event of drainage issues, especially if they are related to structural problems, as they may question why you did not undertake a drains survey during the buying process.

So, it’s a good idea to request a CCTV drains survey, especially if you’re buying a property. But even if you’re not, it’s a good idea to have one anyway. You never know what might turn up, and it’s always best to err on the side of caution.  

Author Bio

Helen Laird writes for Blitz Drainage in Nottingham, a family-run company specialising in CCTV drain surveys and drain cleaning.

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Insuring Your Diamonds

A balancing act
Creative Commons License photo credit: sylvar

Insuring Your Diamonds – Some Important Advice

Diamonds have been a target for both petty thieves and organised criminals since the year dot. Protecting them is a necessity form both a sentimental and monetary point of view. All of your high end diamond jewellery like wedding rings, engagement rings and pendants are likely to carry of a fairly high price tag as well as some sentimental value -it is worth checking that they are going to be insured correctly in the event of loss, damage or theft.

Step 1. Has your diamond jewellery been valued recently?
You would be alarmed how many people have never has their diamond jewellery valued ever – never mind recently. Current economic climates around the globe mean that prices and values for all type of jewellery – diamond included – has been going up and down on a regular basis. Get in contact with a reputable valuer for an up to the minute valuation. You may be surprised what some of your jewellery may be worth.

Step 2. Insuring your diamond jewellery
After you have got an up to date valuation you need to be taking out insurance that reflects this., Many people believe their home contents insurance will be enough but you will probably find that your diamonds are worth more than the policy allows you to claim for a single item (hence a thorough valuation beforehand). It is always wise to pot for a specialist diamond insurance jeweller to ensure that you get a good deal. Make sure that you don’t cut corners – remember the sentimental value that will be attached to these pieces, especially if they are wedding or engagement rings.

Step 3. Thorough investigation
Make sure you are familiar with the nuances of a particular policy before taking out the insurance for your diamonds. You may find that some policies only cover items that are kept in a safe – which is of no value to you if are wearing a diamond wedding ring or engagement ring. Make sure that the policy covers you for the full amount and check the excess that is connected with the policy. Something else that you may want to keep an eye out for is jeweller specific replacements. Some companies will work closely with specific jewellers and will only let you replace the diamond jewellery with a piece form their chosen jewellers. This, of course, is no good for a piece that came from a specific jeweller.

Essentially you need to make sure all your bases are covered and that you spend sufficient time investigating both the jewellery itself and the policies you have. When you are satisfied with these you can seek out the most appropriate insurance for you and your diamonds.

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