Property insurance provides essential protection against a host of risks – whether you are the owner of your own home, a buy to let landlord or an investor in commercial property.
Consider the loss and damage that might be caused, for example, by:
- an escape of water which floods one or more floors of your insured property;
- a fire – or the risk of fire – caused by electrical cables that are shorting; or
- a potential explosion from faulty or leaking gas supply pipelines.
What your property insurance covers
You are probably resting confident that your home, buy to let or commercial property insurance makes provision for the loss or damage caused by an escape of water, fire, or explosion – and if these risks are covered in your policy, you are indeed entitled to suitable compensation from your insurer.
By no means all property insurance policies, however, offer cover for the potentially considerable expense of identifying, tracing, accessing and repairing the source of the problem responsible for the escape of water, or risk of fire or explosion.
Unless your insurance makes specific reference to trace and access cover, it has been found that your insurer bears no responsibility for providing cover for the expense of tracing, exposing and repairing the problem – costs which may prove considerable if floorboards need to be lifted, floors dug out, plasterwork removed, or holes knocked in walls.
If you don’t have trace and access cover, and you make a successful insurance claim, only the costs for repairing the damage caused by the problem will typically be covered (less any policy excess).
Where can you buy trace and access insurance?
Trace and access cover is not provided by any standalone insurance but may be incorporated into your overall property insurance policy.
It may be included as standard, but only certain property insurance specialists and providers offer trace and access cover as a standard feature of any property insurance they arrange.
The cover ensures that you are not only protected against the loss and damage caused by incidents involving the escape of water, fire or explosion, but also the expense of identifying, tracing, accessing and repairing the root of the problem, fault or failure.
Some property insurance policies may also provide trace and access cover for sourcing problems with underground services, such as pipework for gas, water and sewerage – pipework which you are responsible for.
Just as with other headings of your property insurance, if you make a claim under the provisions of your trace and access cover, you may expect to pay an excess – and the amount of that access is likely to vary from one heading of cover to another.
It is not always immediately apparent whether your property insurance includes trace and access cover – some policies do, but many do not.
To ensure that you are not left footing the bill and personally responsible for the cost of identifying, tracing, accessing and fixing problems responsible for loss and damage such as that caused by an escape of water or gas, for example, it is worth carefully checking your property insurance policy for the definition of trace and access insurance and specific reference to its inclusion.
If you remain in any doubt as to whether trace and access cover is incorporated into your policy, you might want to consult a specialist property insurance provider who arranges this aspect of cover as standard.