Extreme cold weather, of the type we regularly enjoy here in the UK, has been known to lead to an increase in incidents leading to insurance claims, such as flight cancellations, burst pipes, and motor accidents. However, it is an error to make the assumption that any issues caused by the wintry weather will be covered by the terms of your insurance policy. Although you should always check with your insurer as to the exact terms of your cover in the event of a cold-weather incident, here is a guide to what you can reasonably expect from your home insurance provider in some cold weather situations.
If the water pipes in your house should freeze up, then the chances are they?re going to leak when they thaw, due to the expansion of the water when frozen. Now your home insurance should cover you for this eventuality, although you should check the terms and conditions of your cover before you make any claim. Some types of winter weather damage, such as the damage to your assets caused by water escaping from heating systems and burst pipes, usually covered by the terms of your contents insurance policy, whereas others, such as damage caused to your water tank by freezing, should be covered by your buildings insurance. If, for whatever reason, you have left your property unoccupied for more than a month, and you have not informed your policy provider, then you may not be able to claim for cold weather damages incurred while you are away, so it is important to let your insurer know about any planned long absences and come to an arrangement with them on those terms.
The damage that is caused by extremely cold weather is ordinarily covered by most buildings insurance under the terms of the ?storm? provision, although if the weather conditions have led to damage through the exacerbation of a pre-existing fault, you may not turn out to be covered. However, what counts as pre-existing damage in a claims dispute of this kind is far from clear, as the responsibility may lie with the construction company that built your home, or the tradesman who fixed your pipes the last time.
Due to the amount of grey areas that exist when it comes to making insurance claims, it pays to have some legal knowledge on your side in the case of a dispute, especially if there is a third party involved. Some insurance firms offer a free legal advice and even cover some of the legal costs incurred by the customer in the case of a dispute. For instance, Co op insurance offer a free legal help line as a standard feature of all their home insurance products, and offer up to ?50,000 worth of legal expenses insurance for free when you take out a buildings insurance policy with them.