Once Japanese knotweed takes root on a property, it can be a behemoth task to permanently remove it. Homeowners can put a lot of time, energy, and money into trying to kill it off, but despite these efforts, it may still advance relentlessly both above and below ground for months, or even years. The threat it poses to homes and to homeowners is all too real, and for this reason, many people seek support from their insurance.
One of the wisest financial choices you can make when purchasing a property is to make sure you have appropriate protection, to limit any costs of unexpected threats to the home such as damage caused by Japanese knotweed.
Our comprehensive guide will shed some light on any questions you might have regarding Japanese knotweed and insurance.
Japanese knotweed impact on property values
Japanese knotweed is becoming more and more of a problem in many areas of the UK. In fact, this invasive plant has negatively impacted more than a million UK properties, devaluing them by an estimated £20 billion.
Given its rate of growth, the persistence of its roots, and how challenging it is to permanently remove, Japanese knotweed can pose a serious threat to retaining walls, sheds, greenhouses, patios, and garden paths.
It may jeopardise the structural reliability and appearance of significant components of the property due to its ability to grow through concrete and tarmac. There have even been instances where Japanese knotweed has invaded the interior of homes and their foundations.
Is Japanese knotweed covered by insurance?
Japanese knotweed damage is not always covered by home insurance, as it is likely to be an issue which developed slowly over time. As a result, an insurer could claim that your lack of action was to blame for the damage. The majority of home and building insurance policies do nott cover liabilities related to Japanese knotweed, with the possible exception of legal expense coverage in certain cases involving legal claims.
Japanese knotweed may be covered by some comprehensive building policies, however, successful claims are only likely to be filed when you can demonstrate that you made a reasonable effort to get rid of the Japanese knotweed.
You might be able to obtain a Japanese knotweed indemnity policy if you are purchasing a property, and are concerned about potential threats from this invasive species. This would pay for the costs of a survey for Japanese knotweed, the treatment or removal of the infestation, any costs associated with property damage, and any legal fees resulting from claims brought against you.
Will claiming for damage affect your home insurance premiums?
As with any insurance, you will be required to pay the excess if you file a claim, such as one for subsidence or other structural damage. However, you should be aware that if you file a claim, your premium for the next year will likely increase.
You may also have trouble obtaining future coverage for subsidence, which could have an impact on your subsidence insurance. In the future, some insurers may even refuse to provide a quote at all, as you would likely represent a high-risk case.
How to get a Japanese knotweed insurance-backed guarantee
Due to the high likelihood of damage, Japanese knotweed must be declared on a TA6 form. The impact Japanese knotweed can have on a property’s value and its potential for spread must be made known by those who are looking to sell their property. Property owners could face legal repercussions if they fail to report the presence of Japanese knotweed. Before a sale, many mortgage lenders will require a thorough survey to be completed, along with confirmation of a Japanese knotweed removal strategy.
Most reputable knotweed removal businesses offer some kind of guarantee, with the majority offering to remove any regrowth without charge while the guarantee is in effect.
Guarantees backed by insurance take things a step further by guaranteeing that the guarantee obligation will be fulfilled, even if the treatment company goes bankrupt.
Take the first step with a Japanese knotweed Survey
If you are looking to buy or sell a property, you’ll likely need a thorough Japanese knotweed survey to find out whether the invasive plant is present or not within the property’s borders.
All of the major banks and lenders will demand a treatment program, and “Insurance backed guarantee” on the knotweed-affected property before they will consider lending. It’s important to guarantee that Japanese knotweed won’t reappear after treatment in addition to protecting against the risks of discovering it and having to deal with it.
Different Insurance backed guarantees offer varying degrees of cover and security, meaning they’re not all the same. A trusted knotweed specialist will not only provide a thorough Japanese knotweed survey but will also provide detailed advice on what treatment plan and guarantee would work best for you and your property.