HOME ADVICE ACCIDENTAL DAMAGE: ARE YOU COVERED?
Accidents can happen, even to DIY veterans – so check your home insurance suits your needs
he beginning of April has been a washout in many parts of the country. Still, April and May remain favourite months for home improvement projects – anything from a new coat of paint in the kitchen to major rebuilding.
But accidents are all too easy, even for experienced DIYers. People drive nails
Check you have into water pipes and
accidental damage flood homes, they put
as part of your home feet through loft
insurance policy flooring, wrecking rooms below, and start electrical fires with faulty wiring. Then there’s spilling five litres of paint on expensive floor covering or smashing a valuable object with a ladder.
Before you start, check home and contents insurance for accidental damage cover. It’s usually an optional extra.
If you don’t have it, you can’t claim, but even with this add-on, watch out for small print exclusions that let insurers try to invalidate claims.
The accident must not be foreseeable or as a result of stupid carelessness. So don’t expect an insurer to pay out if you drill holes in walls without checking for buried pipes or cables – or if you spill paint that’s balanced with a hope and a prayer on top of a ladder. If you take on a job that is beyond your capabilities or should only be carried out by a qualified person, then insurers may also refuse to pay out. This would include knocking down walls without taking the correct measures to prevent the home collapsing or wiring work that an electrician should do or plumbing work such as replacing a boiler. In general, home insurance policies exclude damage from structural alterations, faulty or unsuitable materials and slapdash workmanship – your own or that of others. You’ll be crying over spilled paint if the damage is caused by your own carelessness
Trades people should have correct insurance cover so they can claim to put your home back in order if they make a mistake. If they don’t have this, you could end up forking out a fortune to repair the property, even if you rent it.
Whether DIY or using qualified builders, many projects such as new kitchens, replacement bathrooms and fitted bedrooms can increase the value of your home.
Most policies will cover this extra value – often based on the size of your home or the number of bedrooms – but some will not.
It’s best to check with your insurer to ensure any increase in value remains within the policy limits. proceedings. Speak to the bank and, if possible, obtain written evidence from your solicitors of what damages they hope you should receive as evidence of the money you can reasonably expect. If you have established that the accident was not your fault, then you can ask your solicitors to obtain a payment on account of your damages from the defendant in your case. The bank will need to be satisfied that you can not only clear the arrears of the mortgage but that you will be able to pay future instalments.
MY wife died recently. She was to have been a
Don’t put your foot in it by not being properly insured
beneficiary of her mother’s will and also that of her uncle, who has no children of his own. One of his nieces got him to change his will recently. I want to avoid a family feud and make sure my wife’s daughters receive what she was to inherit. Have they any rights?
The wills made by your mother-in-law and your wife’s uncle (assuming they are still alive) may already make provision for what would happen in the event of a beneficiary dying before them. In the absence of any such provision in the will, your wife’s daughters would probably inherit what their mother was to have received from your Be sure to check walls for pipes and wires before you start drilling ■ Take precautions before you start. Remove valuable and fragile items. Cover furniture and carpets completely if you cannot remove them. ■ Use the right Try tools to have for captions the job. short Accidents are with more decks likely of even with legs blunt chisels and saws. Replacing these or sharpening them costs a lot less than an accident. ■ If you are unsure about what a job entails, there are countless instructional videos online – many from the big DIY retailers. Still unsure or believe the job is too difficult for you? Then call in a qualified person. ■ Ladder safety is paramount. Never lean out, stand on one leg, or climb too high. Any fall will damage you – as well as your home! ■ Never drill holes without checking for cables or pipes. These tend to go vertically to switches and appliances. Digital Wall Detectors start around £20. ■ You will probably have to pay the first slice of a claim – the excess – even with accidental damage cover. mother-in-law. However, I suggest your discuss this with your mother-in-law and the uncle and suggest they update their wills to make it clear who is to benefit. The uncle’s will could be subject to challenge if he was unduly influenced to change it, but this is likely to be difficult.
AFTER many quarrels with our daughter and her husband, we are considering leaving our house and any capital to other deserving causes. Is this legal and will they be able to make any claim on our estate?
You can leave your property and cash as you choose. It would help if you included a declaration with your will stating why you had cut them out. A solicitor would help you to draw this up. Your daughter could still bring a claim on the ground that the disposition of your estate failed to make reasonable financial provision for her maintenance. Call Bromleys Solicitors LLP on 0161 330 6821 or visit www. bromleys.co.uk If you have any legal questions, write to Property Law, MEN Media, Mitchell Henry House, Hollinwood Avenue, Chadderton OL9 8EF, or email mail@lawQs.co.uk.