Insurance company AXA is urging UK homeowners to ensure their properties are prepared for autumn and winter by carrying out essential maintenance now. According to AXA, 6 in 10 UK homeowners make incorrect assumptions about the coverage supplied against stormy weather. The insurer also revealed that it refuses 1 in 20 storm damage claims each and every year due to a lack of maintenance by the policy holder(s).
Research recently carried out by AXA reveals a lack of understanding and misconception amongst UK homeowners. Whether or not this is because of miscommunication or unclear policy wording is open to debate.
However, the research did produce some interesting and surprising findings.
Almost two thirds of homeowners surveyed said they would expect their insurer to pay out for any weather-related damage to their property, regardless of its state.
Some 23% believe that a home insurance policy is for the purposes of paying for any kind of structural damage caused by general wear and tear.
A quarter of home owners have experienced winter weather damage as a result of flooding, strong winds, and snow causing collapsed roofs and broken guttering. Some 31% of people resident in their homes for five years or more have yet to check the condition of their roof.
Nor do homeowners seem to be overly concerned about the state of their guttering. AXA found that only 41% of respondents had checked their guttering within the last three years, and 24% have never cleared out guttering to prevent blockages.
Expense was identified as the key stumbling block when it comes to property maintenance. AXA discovered that 36% of respondents hadn’t fixed problems with their homes because they couldn’t afford the repairs.
James Barclay, home insurance underwriting manager at AXA, said: “Misconceptions about home insurance cover is an industry-wide problem that causes alot of heartache for consumers and alot of problems for insurers, particularly during the winter weather.
Consumers need to understand that an insurance policy is there to protect customers’ homes against the unexpected and not cover for general wear and tear. There are some claims that we simply have to turn away as they are caused by obvious neglect and lack of investment in the property rather than the weather.
While it may seem expensive to get your roof repaired or a crack in the wall fixed, the potential cost of an unpaid insurance claim is alot higher.”
AXA pointed out that it’s often a lack of maintenance and overlooked areas which often leave properties vulnerable to weather damage. Claims are often turned down due to unswept chimneys, faulty electrical wiring, cracks in walls and neglected structural issues.
Sources: Property Wire, AXA.