Considerations for your garden
IF YOU invest substantial amounts of money on landscaping then it is essential to have appropriate insurance cover in place in order to reinstate the garden to its former condition should severe damage be caused.
Garden insurance is a specialist form of insurance cover and while some standard personal lines policies do include insurance for the garden, the cover involved is often limited.
As a general rule of thumb, reinstatement of garden insurance is usually found as an automatic extension under policies specifically designed for high net-worth individuals. There are two main categories for an extension to home owners’ insurance policies — firstly, the removal of fallen trees and secondly, reinstatement of gardens after damage to a home.
The removal of fallen trees following a wind storm is one of the most common claims that tend to be submitted for damage to a home owner’s garden. It is a common issue and most personal lines policies should include it; however, cover for fallen trees is often subject to the building being damaged at the same time, which is often not the case.
If the home owner is then required to pay for the removal himself it can prove to be quite an expensive exercise, particularly in instances where one needs to remove more than one tree following a bad storm. With very large trees the cost can vary between R10 000 and R20 000 a tree, so if there is no cover in terms of the policy the policyholder can face a serious personal financial loss.
The other common type of claim is the reinstatement of gardens, which often comes into effect following a fire at the home owner’s property. While the fire itself could spread and cause damage to the garden, such a claim often arises as a result of the damage caused by fire engines and firemen.
However, this extension typically covers limited perils only. If the home is damaged by fire, lightning, explosion, theft, impact by vehicles, vandalism or malicious acts, the insurer will pay the cost of re-landscaping the garden up to a certain sum. However, this will vary from insurer to insurer.
The major difference between the removal of fallen trees and the reinstatement of gardens is that your trees are covered against storm and wind damage; however your general garden will not be covered as a result of winds or storms.
It is important to bear in mind when insuring your garden that both extensions – fallen trees and reinstatement of garden – are limited and if a garden has been expensively landscaped then you must discuss how you can increase these limits with your financial adviser.
Also important is the fact that garden insurance, like any other form of insurance, is there to protect you against sudden and unforeseen events.
For example, in the case of dying trees and any potential risk that these may pose to the insured property the policyholder would be expected to remove these trees at his own account.
Like any form of insurance, the implications of not having the appropriate insurance cover in place can be severe. People often underestimate the true value of their gardens and what it would cost to replace them, so it may be advisable for those who have undertaken extensive landscaping to have a full valuation conducted to ensure they are insured for the correct amount.