Perplexed by unclear insurance terms?

There are many insurance terms used in your policy documents that you may not be familiar with. Here are a few that frequently come up in conversations with our customers, and the explanations we give:

Flood vs Escape of water vs Trace and Access

Flood is damage from a large volume of water, caused by a sudden release or rapid build-up of water outside your property.  For example, if there has been a heavy storm and this has caused the nearby rivers to overflow and burst their banks. Or local drains couldn’t cope with the heavy rainfall and have overflowed causing flooding to the area and your property.

Escape of water is water that has entered your home by the mains water supply and at one point escaped from the pipe or tank and caused damage. A most common example is a burst pipe, which is the most frequent and costly household claim.

Trace and Access is tracing and gaining access to the source of a leak, from a fixed water, drainage or heating installation. It covers the cost of replacing or removing any part of your home to locate the source of escape of water.  Most policies will cover escape of water (with some restrictions) but there are many times when you may not be covered for trace and access, for instance if you appoint a plumber without contacting your insurer first and without relevant information and evidence.

Subsidence vs landslip vs heave vs accidental damage to underground services

Subsidence is a downward movement of the ground beneath your building by a cause other than settlement. It occurs when the soil beneath the building’s foundations is essentially unstable and unable to support it; the movement is unconnected with the weight of the building.

Landslip is downward movement of sloping ground, often caused by excessive rain causing soil or rock slip.

Heave is upward or sideways movement of the ground beneath the building caused by the soil expanding, the removal of large trees for example can cause heave.

Accidental damage to underground services is accidental damage which can occur to underground drains, sewers, services, cables and pipes. This can be caused by several factors, including most commonly: by differential movement of the subsoil, intrusion and breakage by tree roots, or unrelated excavation work.  You may find after you have done some works to your property, or if the local water company are repairing drains in your street, that these have caused problems to your underground services and in turn caused damage to your home.

For more explanations of obscure terms and topics, head over to PolicyCastle’s own Glossary, written just for this purpose with our customers in mind:

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