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There are some situations where we’ll look at complaints differently to what we’ve explained above

wear and tear

Sometimes the exclusion about gradual damage includes a number of specific types of gradual damage. For example:

This policy doesn’t cover any loss or damage caused by wear and tear, depreciation, corrosion, rusting, damp, insects, vermin, fungus, condensation, fading, frost or anything that happens gradually.

We see complaints where the insurer has declined a claim because it thinks the damage was caused by wear and tear, and so it was caused gradually. If we think the damage was caused by wear and tear, we’re unlikely to take the same things into account as we’ve explained above. This is because everything will ‘wear out’ eventually and an insurance policy doesn’t protect a consumer from that.

accidental damage

Cover for accidental damage isn’t usually a standard part of a policy. It tends to be available for consumers to add to their standard policy for an additional premium. The extra cover provided by the accidental damage section of the policy can be much wider than, and not as specific as, the insured events. Because of that, we’re unlikely to take the same things into account as we’ve explained above to claims made under the accidental damage section of the policy. That’s because doing so could make insurers pay for a wide variety of situations they never intended to cover.

‘all risks’ policies

There are policies available which don’t restrict cover to a list of insured events. Instead they offer much broader cover. These policies will tend to simply cover ‘damage’, subject to a number of exclusions. These are often called ‘all risks’ policies.

Because all risks policies cover ‘damage’, rather than a list of specific insured events, the cover they provide can be very broad compared to standard policies. So we don’t think it would be fair on insurers to look at claims made on all risks policies in exactly the same way as we’ve explained above.

As the cover provided by all risks policies is more extensive, they’re usually more expensive. We don’t think it would be fair for consumers who pay more for a policy that offers wider cover to be worse off than those who pay less for a standard policy. So for claims made on all risks policies, we’ll consider whether the damage claimed for was caused by an insured event found in standard policies – like escape of water or flood. If so, then we would take the same things into account as we’ve explained above. If the damage wasn’t caused by an insured event, we wouldn’t take the same things into account and would usually only consider whether the damage was gradual or not.

pitch-fibre pipes

We treat damage to underground pipes made from a material called pitch-fibre differently. A separate note explains that in more detail.

In summary, an inherent flaw in the structure of pipes made from this material causes gradual deterioration in the pipe. That usually leads the pipe to collapse and cause a blockage. The issue here isn’t that the damage is gradual – it’s a problem with the materials used. So for pitch-fibre pipes, we only consider whether the damage was gradual or not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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