Don't be green when it comes to trees and insurance.
Planning a move to a bigger garden or out to the leafy suburbs? Make sure your new greenery doesn’t become the root of a bigger problem.
As a homeowner, you are responsible for any damage or injury caused by trees in your garden. That includes damage caused to drivers or passers-by from overhanging or falling branches, falling trees, as well as thirsty trees close to your property causing subsidence or heave.
If you're thinking of buying a property with a large or overhanging tree it’s worthwhile asking an arboriculturalist to pay you a visit. They can tell you if your new garden is growing a problem and how much to factor in for regular maintenance.
One last tip, check your building insurance covers you for damage caused by trees.
Dream home in a flood risk area? Make sure all is not lost.
Check whether your new property is in a flood-risk area at Environment-agency. If it is look out for, or budget for these forms of protection.
You can find out quite easily whether your new home is on a flood plain at environment-agency.gov.uk. If there is a flood risk, your home insurance premiums and excesses could be affected.
Talk to your insurer about the property before you put in an offer to get a feel for what your premium might be. For more information on flood risks visit the nationalfloodforum.org.uk
Make sure you don't end up paying for a crime in a new area.
Here are some ways you can do a drive-by of your new neighbourhood before you buy.
Crime levels in an area can be a factor when calculating home insurance premiums. However, in the case of theft, burglaries are often crimes of opportunity, with burglars letting themselves in through doors or windows.
Fitting strong locks on your windows and doors can help, as can joining the local Neighbourhood Watch Scheme. Your premiums may be reduced if your new home has a working intruder alarm.
Is your new home on safe ground?
Here are some giveaway signs your potential new structure might be giving way to subsidence.
Subsidence is when the ground beneath a building sinks, pulling the property's foundations with it. If you’re worried the property you’re thinking of buying is subsiding it’s a good idea to get a full structural survey. Costs for the survey start around £600* and it will highlight any issues.
If the property has a problem with subsidence it can be more difficult and expensive to get home insurance, particularly if it has been underpinned. Armed with the facts from a structural survey you can at least negotiate a better price to offset any future insurance costs.
Make sure you know what you’re taking on. Talk to your insurer before you buy the property.
* Source: moneyadviceservice.org.uk.
If you’re an existing home insurance customer, here is a link to our policy booklets so that you can check what’s covered, what’s available as additional cover, as well as advice on making claims and frequently asked questions.
If you're thinking of moving to a unique property, like a listed building or an eco house, your home insurance could be affected.