Wear and tear is the damage that happens naturally as something gets old. For example, your carpets getting dirty and worn. Or the nails in your roof slates corroding, allowing the slates to slip and let water into your home.

Most Home Insurance policies will only cover you from sudden events, such as fire, floods or theft. They won’t cover damage caused by wear and tear or that happens slowly over time. For example, damp, condensation or rust.

This is why it’s important to read your policy documents to understand what is covered.

What is classed as wear and tear?

Wear and tear is the natural damage to your home and items over time. 

This could include:

  • Faded or worn carpet.
  • The colour fading on your sofa.
  • Your TV breaking down because it’s old.
  • Your window frames rotting away.
  • The seal around your bath becoming black.

Can you claim for wear and tear on your Home Insurance?

You are unlikely to be able to claim for wear and tear on both your Buildings and Contents Insurance.

Wear and tear is generally caused by poor upkeep or natural damage. Everything will suffer from wear and tear at some point, so it’s expected. Home Insurance is designed to protect from the unexpected.

For example, a carpet with many stains, scuffs and fade marks from general living would come under wear and tear. A carpet damaged from flooding would be covered under your Home Insurance. 

What happens if an insured event causes the damage but the item shows signs of wear and tear?

Sometimes, damage may happen that’s covered by your Home Insurance, but the item already had signs of wear and tear.

If the item you are claiming for had previous damage through wear and tear or if your home isn’t in a good condition, the insurer may reduce the claim.

For example, a fire destroys your sofa. But it had faded cushioning or scuffs to the armrest beforehand. It does not have the same value as a brand new sofa. So, the insurer may only offer what the sofa would be valued at before the incident.

Your policy documents will show if any reduction for wear and tear will be made.

How to avoid wear and tear

There are times where damage from wear and tear can be avoided, saving you money for repairs or replacements. This could be a loose tile that lets in water from a rainstorm, or a rusty pipe that leaks water and damages your ceiling.

It is important to keep on top of your home to make sure everything is in good working order. Then, if you ever do need to make a claim, you can get things back to normal quickly and easily.

Here are some tips for keeping on top of wear and tear: 

Buildings wear and tear

  • Roof and gutters

Unprotected from the elements, even the toughest roofs, suffer wear and tear over time. It is a good idea to check for broken, slipped or missing tiles regularly.

You should also make sure the gutters are draining easily. Gutter guards are a good way to keep them free of leaves and litter.

  • Flat roof

Most flat roofing is designed to last years. But contact with the elements can cause cracks, which let in rain.

Check your flat roof for any cracks and blisters. Keep an eye out for damp patches on the ceiling.

  • Walls

Loose mortar or cracks in your walls can let in the elements. This could lead to water seeping in where it is not wanted.

Spot and fix any faults before the damage is done. Look out for pieces of plaster that are loose or falling out and get it repaired. Or fill and replace cracks.

  • Damp and mould

If you see damp or mould, it could be a seal that has suffered wear and tear over time.

You might need an expert here, as it can be difficult to know the source of your damp and correctly remedy it. Mould can carry health risks, so make it a priority. 

  • Windows

The sun, rain and changing temperature can all lead to cracks in wooden windows. The weather can also weaken the rubber seals around your window.

Summer months are an ideal time to check your windows for flaky paint or loose seals. This then gives you plenty of time to get them sorted for winter.

Fixtures and fittings

  • Lock and doors

You rely on your locks every day to secure your home. Wear and tear can mean your door or window locks start to get stuck or become loose.

If this happens, it may be time to think about replacing them.

  • Plumbing and heating

You should get your boiler serviced every year. It is also good practice to remove air from your heating system with a radiator key regularly.

Avoid burst pipes by keeping them cosy with good insulation. Investigate even the smallest water leak, in case it is a warning sign of something more serious.

Contents wear and tear

  • Appliances

Wear and tear on items such as washing machines and fridges can cause a sudden break down. This can lead to leaks, drips or overheating.

Check any appliances that are not working as well as they should. Make sure you do what the manufacturer recommends, like defrosting or cleaning filters.

  • TVs and computers

You may start to see problems with your electronics, such as your TV or computer over time. You can see if it is under warranty or ask an expert for their advice.

If left untreated, electronics can overheat and cause a fire risk.

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Lloyds Bank Home Options Insurance is arranged by Lloyds Bank Insurance Service Limited and underwritten by Lloyds Bank General Insurance Limited. Lloyds Bank Insurance Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under registration number 310738. Lloyds Bank General Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 202091. You can check the Financial Services Register at www.fca.org.uk.