5 things to consider when choosing your buildings insurance for a septic tank.

Claims handling | By Sam Warren

Let's face it, the world of buying insurance has gotten all the more confusing in recent years. There are websites selling insurance, aggregator websites selling other companies' insurance, and websites about which aggregator website is best. Given that one of these websites is confused.com, I think that just about sums it up. So, when you have a property with a septic tank, and you're looking for buildings insurance, where do you even start? Many property owners that we speak to weren't even aware that many septic tank problems are covered by buildings insurance. Here are the top 5 things to consider when choosing your buildings insurance for a septic tank.

  1. Who are you actually getting into business with?

    Knowing who you are getting into business with is probably useful advice in life as well as when buying buildings insurance for a septic tank. These days, you can buy buildings insurance at the same time as your weekly shop, but when you need to make a claim it's not your trusted supermarket that you'd be speaking to. Many policies these days are underwritten by a different company than the one who sold it to you, and who have their logo on all the nice brochures. You'll sometimes need to dig through the small print to find out exactly who is providing the insurance cover to you. In my opinion, you're best off going straight to a good insurer directly - it's good to know who is actually going to be providing the service if you should need it. I have spoken to many a disappointed person who had absolute faith in a completely different brand than the one they ended up dealing with when they needed to claim.
  2. Does the policy have accidental damage cover for septic tanks?

    Generally speaking, if your septic tank is going to be covered by your buildings insurance, it will be covered under the section 'accidental damage to underground services'. Accidental damage generally means something that was unforeseen and unintentional, and can cover all sorts of problems you might have with your septic tank or soakaway. Typical examples are things such as tree root damage, broken dip pipes, cracks or splits in the walls of the tank. Now, some insurers offer accidental damage cover as an added extra that you need to pay for, whereas with many policies it comes as standard. Either way, check that the policy has it before signing up.
  3. Sometimes you get what you pay for.

    In our experience of having managed more than 3,000 claims and having dealt with every insurer both big and small, I can say that paying more for your policy won't always get you the right outcome if your septic tank becomes damaged and you need to make a claim. We have seen insurers who are charging the earth for their policy get it wrong, just as we have seen much cheaper insurers turn down valid claims too. The only difference? The more expensive insurers care a little bit more when you need to make a complaint. Also, we have seen a lot of very cheap policies flooding the market, and the wording in the policies is so specific that it would almost be impossible for anything to be covered. Tread very carefully when buying your buildings insurance for a septic tank - if the price of the policy seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  4. Is your septic tank or soakaway outside of your property's boundary?

    Most buildings insurance policies will provide cover for septic tanks, drains or pipework that your property connects to, and for which you are legally responsible. However, a small number of policies have an exclusion for anything that sits outside the boundary of your property. So, if you know that any part of your drainage system sits outside of the boundary, check that you would still be covered before taking out a policy.
  5. What kind of service can you expect if you have a septic tank problem?

Here at UKDP, we specialise in managing insurance claims for damaged septic tanks and other off mains drainage systems. Trust us when we say that the most important thing your insurer can do when you have a damaged drainage system is to provide really good service. But you'd be surprised how often this isn't the case, and many property owners are unpleasantly surprised when it happens to them. In our experience, it takes an insurer on average 6-8 weeks to deal with a claim for a damaged septic tank. Now, this is an awfully long time when you have a drainage system that is constantly backing up, or overflowing into your garden. Why does it take so long? It's hard to say, because we don't think it should take that long at all. The really good insurers that we deal with can get things turned around in a couple of weeks. Brilliant! Some others can take weeks just to return a call, or to get a report from any loss adjusters they might have appointed. Google is a great source of information on this stuff, if you don't mind paying you can access the Which reviews here or alternatively there are other free reviews such as this one.

Choosing buildings insurance for a septic tank can be a real minefield. But it's worth investing a bit of time in getting the right policy. With any luck, you'll never need it - but if you do, you'll want to know you have the right cover in place. Of course, if you do have any septic tank problems that might be covered by your buildings insurance, you are already in the right place! UKDP can manage everything for you from start to finish, and there is no cost to you aside from any excess on your policy if a claim is successful. Just give us a call on 0800 028 9903 or 01628 788600, or contact us here and one of our friendly team can call you back.

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