Con­sid­er­a­tions for your gar­den

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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.

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