Japanese knotweed can have a detrimental impact on the value of your home, as well as producing conflict among neighbours and stress in your daily life.
Finding a knotweed infestation can also result in some very costly expenses, which causes most homeowners to check whether they have Japanese knotweed insurance to cover it or not.
Unfortunately, filing a claim on your homeowner’s insurance after discovering Japanese knotweed is not always easy, or even possible.
What to do when you discover Japanese knotweed on your property?
Insurance companies in the UK are well known for playing hardball and not paying out to their customers when they should. However, there is one thing that you might be surprised to hear about which can help your chances of getting insurance company support: Japanese knotweed removal.
If you’re caught up in a knotweed infestation, then it could mean that your home has suffered damage and this means that it’s worth checking whether or not your policy covers such an issue.
Does house insurance cover Japanese knotweed treatment?
Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover losses caused by Japanese knotweed. There are several exceptions to this rule, such as if the plant has caused subsidence or spread from a nearby property.
Having Japanese knotweed on your property may also raise additional concerns, such as how it may influence your insurance premiums and whether your insurance would pay the legal costs associated with a Japanese knotweed suit filed against you.
Am I covered for damage caused by Japanese knotweed?
The costs of restoring the damages caused by Japanese knotweed growing on your property are often not covered by standard home insurance plans. If the Japanese knotweed has caused structural damage to your home, such as subsidence, you may be eligible to seek compensation.
However, successful claims are only likely to be made if you can demonstrate that you took reasonable steps to eradicate the Japanese knotweed prior to the subsidence.
This is an excellent example of why it’s critical not to put off dealing with a Japanese knotweed infestation; doing so can lead to serious consequences like the ones described above, as well as the legal ramifications of allowing the plant to spread to a neighbouring property and breaking Japanese knotweed law.
Will my insurance provider pay for the treatment of Japanese knotweed?
Japanese knotweed treatment is not covered by homeowners’ insurance. If you find Japanese knotweed on your property and can prove that it came from a neighbouring property, or if the seller lied about the Japanese knotweed, you may be able to seek compensation to cover the cost of damages.
If your insurance provider does cover the cost of Japanese knotweed removal then your insurer may also require proof that treatments were completed by professionals in order for them to reimburse you – make sure they’re willing and able.
Will my insurance cover Japanese knotweed from a neighbouring property?
Depending on your policy, the cost of restoring damage caused by Japanese knotweed invading a neighbouring property may be covered. In this case, your insurers may seek reimbursement from your neighbours for the price of the property damage.
However, policies vary significantly so you should contact your insurer before starting any work to identify what sort of damage they will cover. For example, some policies include costs for controlling existing weed problems – but don’t cover damage caused by new plants if you didn’t have the problem when you took out the policy.
Will my insurance cover legal expenses if my neighbour claims for Japanese knotweed damages?
In the event that your neighbour sues you for damages caused by Japanese knotweed invading your property, your insurance coverage may cover the cost of legal fees.
Allowing Japanese knotweed to spread from your property into a neighbouring property, whether publicly or privately owned, is illegal. If your neighbour can prove that you permitted the plant to spread onto their property, you might be held liable for the property’s loss of value as well as any treatment expenditures spent as a result of the infestation.
Legal expenses insurance is usually available as an add-on to your basic house insurance policy. If you’re concerned that you won’t be protected in this situation, look over the fine language in your current policy.
Do I need to inform my insurance provider that I have Japanese knotweed?
You do not need to notify your insurance company about the presence of Japanese knotweed on your property. If you detect Japanese knotweed on your property, you should do everything you can to prevent it from spreading and causing harm to your home.
If you don’t do this, your insurance company may deny a future claim for subsidence damage on the basis that you were irresponsible in not correcting the problem sooner.
If your insurance company inquires about the existence of Japanese knotweed on your property, you must be forthright.
Can I insure against Japanese knotweed?
If you have Japanese knotweed on your property, you can still receive home insurance. Because most homeowner’s insurance plans do not cover the price of removing Japanese knotweed or the property damage caused by the plant, insurers are unlikely to consider this.
However, if you are specifically asked if you have Japanese knotweed, it is best to respond honestly and openly. Failed concealment of information may result in your claim being denied.
Know that if you do not disclose, and damage occurs as a result of Japanese knotweed, it is considered insurance fraud. An insurer can terminate the policy at their discretion and you will be left without an insurance provider. If your policy does not cover Japanese knotweed some insurers may cover the loss through personal liability coverage if you accidentally cause damage to a neighbour’s property.
Insurers may also opt not to renew your policy once it has expired, citing that you have concealed information about existing damage. If an insurer does deny this form of insurance because of knotweed, be sure to contact them and ask why specifically they denied the claim. If it is because of knotweed, this could be an act of discrimination.
Will having Japanese knotweed affect my house insurance premiums?
Your house insurance rate should not be affected if you have Japanese knotweed. The eradication of Japanese knotweed or repairs to anything harmed by it is typically not covered by normal homeowners’ insurance policies. As a result, whether the plant was discovered on your property or not should have no bearing on your insurance premiums.
However, if you intend to file a claim for losses due to Japanese knotweed-caused subsidence, your premium would almost certainly rise. Remember that if you make a valid claim, you will also be responsible for paying the excess specified in your policy.
Claiming for subsidence insurance can also make it more difficult to secure future subsidence insurance because your home will be designated as high-risk by the insurance company.
What insurance do I need to cover me against Japanese knotweed?
Since 2015, you can get Japanese knotweed insurance that covers the expense of eradicating the plant as well as the potential costs of claims made against you as a result of the knotweed spreading to a neighbouring property.
An indemnity insurance coverage for Japanese knotweed will cover the costs of treating and eradicating the infestation, as well as preventative insurance-backed actions to keep the plant from recurring.
The coverage should also cover the cost of a Japanese knotweed study, as well as any property damage repair costs and legal fees incurred as a result of claims brought against you.
These policies were established to make the conveyancing procedure easier in circumstances when properties were impacted by the plant.
Japanese knotweed insurance policies typically last ten years, with an indemnity level based on the market value of your home, providing essential protection to both you and your mortgage lender.
It should be emphasised that these Japanese knotweed indemnification plans are only available for residential properties when the presence of the plant is unknown or if the mortgage lender is satisfied that treatment has been completed.
Getting a mortgage with Japanese knotweed is a different situation, and it’s something to think about before buying a home with a history of infestations.
The best way to find out if Japanese knotweed removal will be covered by your insurance is to get in touch with them, but you can also do some research on the internet.
Some companies may have a clause in their policy that excludes coverage for this invasive species while others might cover it under certain conditions or payouts.
You should contact your insurance company before starting any work so you know what they say about the issue and how much they are willing to cover.
Insurance companies have become a lot more informed over the last couple of years and are making more provisions towards Japanese knotweed in order to accommodate homeowners. Do not be afraid to talk about Japanese knotweed with your insurance company and see what cover they can provide.
Want to know more about Japanese knotweed insurance?
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