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  • FIRST POST
    • d000hg
    • By d000hg 14th Mar 17, 12:28 PM
    • 101Posts
    • 11Thanks
    d000hg
    Does buildings insurance cover retaining walls?
    • #1
    • 14th Mar 17, 12:28 PM
    Does buildings insurance cover retaining walls? 14th Mar 17 at 12:28 PM
    The house we want to buy has a fairly large/high retaining wall holding the back yard back from the road. Our survey mentions that since this wall is 100+ years old, there's the potential for issues and while they're paid to be cautious I suppose it's possible.

    I this the kind of thing that buildings insurance would cover? Or does that strictly cover the 4 walls and roof by default not external features? If our survey said there WAS a problem then presumably it wouldn't be covered or we'd have to disclose it... but where do we stand that they merely pointed it out as they do any number of issues (it's an old house)?

    Anyone in a similar sort of situation - does your insurance cover these things or do you have indemnity policies or what?

    Thanks for any advice and personal experiences you can share.
Page 1
    • huckster
    • By huckster 14th Mar 17, 12:57 PM
    • 3,007 Posts
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    huckster
    • #2
    • 14th Mar 17, 12:57 PM
    • #2
    • 14th Mar 17, 12:57 PM
    What do you want to be covered against ?

    Storm damage may be covered, impact by road vehicle, flood, but not subsidence or landslip.

    If this wall is a major risk, you need to ascertain full cost of reinstatement and make sure it is covered within Buildings Insurance. You also need to read the policy to see what the exclusions are.

    There are some Insurers who are better at covering houses with large garden risks like this e.g NFU Mutual.

    Keep full records. If the wall condition is at all being questioned, then get a full assessment and if necessary negotiate with vendor. I have come across garden walls on massive country properties being subject to very large claims, with the conditions of wall being subject to lengthy arguments.
    • d000hg
    • By d000hg 14th Mar 17, 1:28 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 11 Thanks
    d000hg
    • #3
    • 14th Mar 17, 1:28 PM
    • #3
    • 14th Mar 17, 1:28 PM
    I suppose the perceived risk, however unlikely, is that it collapses and our back yard falls into the street! Not a risk to the house but that would be rather a problem to sort out and not cheap.

    I suppose in the first instance you'd want insurance to cover against the costs of that extreme worst case scenario.

    But more likely - what if down the line it shows signs this might happen later? Prevention is likely to be cheaper and easier but can you get insurance that would cover "we need to shore up this wall to stop it collapsing"? Or does insurance tend to cover things actually happening, not stopping the things happening (if that makes sense)?
    • huckster
    • By huckster 14th Mar 17, 2:33 PM
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    huckster
    • #4
    • 14th Mar 17, 2:33 PM
    • #4
    • 14th Mar 17, 2:33 PM
    You have liability insurance for third party claims against you under Home Insurance. Buildings Insurance as property owner and Contents as occupier.

    BUT, Insurance is always on the basis of the property including this wall being in a good state of repair. Home Insurance covers against the perils stated e.g storm. It is not a property maintenance policy.

    There is one case i can remember reported online where the potential claim was over 100,000. The wall had come down due to flooding and was the subject of a complicated claim where Insurers experts argued with the Policyholders experts. It was a limestone wall with a lime mortar that could be washed away by water.

    I have seen other reports of people worrying about walls in this situation where there was no issue. This wall has been there 100 years or more without problems. If the wall is maintained in good order and any trees/shrubs taken care of, then there should not be problem. If in doubt, get it checked and negotiate any repairs with vendor.
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 15th Mar 17, 8:51 AM
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    eddddy
    • #5
    • 15th Mar 17, 8:51 AM
    • #5
    • 15th Mar 17, 8:51 AM
    If, for example, the wall crumbles and falls down simply because it is old and/or is poorly maintained, no insurance policy will cover that.

    You can ask a structural engineer to report on the condition of the wall - but the information that they can give from a visual inspection may be limited.

    But a structural engineer should certainly be able to advise you how the wall can be strengthened to reduce the likelihood of future problems.

    It would almost certainly be cheaper to strengthen the wall whilst it is in place, than rebuilding it after a collapse.
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