HOME AD­VICE AC­CI­DEN­TAL DAM­AGE: ARE YOU COV­ERED?

Ac­ci­dents can hap­pen, even to DIY vet­er­ans – so check your home in­sur­ance suits your needs

Glossop Advertiser - - Home Advice - IN THE FAM­ILY UN­DE­SERV­ING OFF­SPRING

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.

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