Most people don’t even realise that, often, the costs of resolving septic tank problems or soakaway problems are covered by standard buildings insurance policies. Some people will go searching for a specific septic tank insurance policy – but no such thing really exists, because typically cover is already provided by buildings policies.
So, that’s the good news. The not so good news is that insurers aren’t always great at dealing with claims for damaged septic tanks. So, what are the main reasons why insurers turn down septic tank insurance claims? And what should you do if it happens to you?
There are many reasons why insurers decline septic tank insurance claims – although, they’re often not right to do so, and we’ve laid out the top 5 reasons below:
They don’t understand septic tanks
Ok, so the concept of a septic tank seems pretty straightforward. But actually, how they work and more importantly why they STOP working can get pretty technical. Least of which because they are underground so no one can see what’s gone on. Some insurers simply don’t understand how it all works, and valid claims can get turned down because of this.
They rely on their own professionals
Each insurer appoints a company to assess the claim for them. Sometimes this might be a loss adjuster, other times it might be one of a number of drainage companies set up to work for insurers. The problem is that septic tanks are just a small proportion of what these companies do, and – dare we say it – some are more inclined to recommend that claims be turned down more than others, which is why it’s always worth considering seeking a second opinion.
They can rely too much on opinion
We see a number of claims being turned down based on the opinion of these specialists, and the insurer will often support the decision in default, until the Ombudsman tells them that they are wrong. For example, one specialist used by insurers will say that any septic tank beyond a certain age has failed because it’s too old. The problem is that it’s just their opinion, and it’s not supported by manufacturers or any industry bodies.
They get hung up on the ’cause’ of the damage
There are two problems with finding the cause of the damage. Firstly, it’s very difficult to prove what has happened to a drainage system which is underground, and most people don’t have plans to set up camp in their septic tank, just in case some damage should occur.
But secondly and most importantly, for a claim to be valid, you don’t have to prove what’s CAUSED the damage (unless you have a really tricky policy). All you have to prove is that what’s happened to your septic tank or soakaway meets with the definition of `accidental damage’ set down in your policy.
They forget that they need to prove that an exclusion applies
If a customer has demonstrated that their claim meets with the policy definition, the insurer must PROVE that an exclusion within the policy applies if it wants to turn it down. It’s not enough just to provide an opinion, only evidence will suffice. So, for example, if an insurer wants to use the argument that the septic tank is just too old, they have to prove that it is the age of the tank that has caused the system to fail.
It can be. Luckily you are already in the right place for help, we can provide a lot more information and advice on Septic Tank Insurance Claims and refer you to an appropriate specialist through our network of contractors if required. Contact us today with an online enquiry.