Kevin complained to us when his insurer rejected his claim for subsidence damage.
Kevin complained to us when his insurer rejected his claim for subsidence damage. The insurer thought Kevin’s house had been exhibiting cracks and distortions for many years, long before its own policy came into force.
What we said
We set about establishing whether the damage continued to occur after the start of the policy. The evidence was that the movement and damage was progressive. That meant that the property had been damaged by an insured event during the period when Kevin was insured. This triggered the insurer’s liability.
Under most policies, it’s the insurer’s liability to repair or pay for the repair of damage that occurred after the start of its policy. This doesn’t include any damage that predates the policy. If the insurer can distinguish between the two sets of damage, it’s entitled to do that. However, in this case, it wasn’t possible to do so.
We thought the property needed stabilisation to repair the damage that occurred over the insured period, as much as to repair earlier damage.
We said that the insurer had to pay for repairing all the damage – including the cost of stabilisation if necessary. Only then, would it meet its liability for any damage that had occurred since its policy had started to cover the property.
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