Having Japanese knotweed in your garden is seriously expensive, but can home insurance help?
Japanese knotweed and home insurance
It is unlikely your home insurance policy will cover you for Japanese knotweed treatment, removal or damages caused by this invasive plant. Unfortunately, home insurance providers will see you as “negligent” for not protecting your property from knotweed, especially if you have let it grow unhindered over time.
However, having Japanese knotweed in your garden shouldn’t affect your home insurance policy or premiums. You also don’t need to advise your insurance provider of an infestation, but should be honest if asked whether you are aware of its presence on your land, as you may risk nulling your entire policy if you lie! Nevertheless, you can still take out home insurance if Japanese knotweed is growing on your property.
Exceptions to the rule
There are of course exceptions to the rule, for example if Japanese knotweed has spread into your garden from neighbouring land or caused subsidence, then you may be in luck - to a degree!
If you can prove the knotweed on your land has encroached from adjacent land, your home insurance company may pursue the offending party – often your neighbours – for damages. However, you must also show your home insurer that you have taken steps to deal with the Japanese knotweed 'on your side of the fence'. Usually, you will have to hire Japanese knotweed experts to report on and treat the infestation before you have any chance of claiming on home insurance. And if the situation should arise that your neighbours take legal action against you for allowing Japanese knotweed to enter their property (from your land), your home insurance provider may cover you for the legal fees.
You may be able to claim on your home insurance if Japanese knotweed has caused subsidence on your property. Again, you will need to show you have taken measures to prevent this from happening in the first place. It is also worth noting that claiming for subsidence will likely affect your premiums too.
Also take into consideration that if you do make a claim for Japanese knotweed, you will be required to pay the excess stated in your policy.
Japanese knotweed indemnity insuranceIf you own a residential property, you can take out Japanese knotweed indemnity insurance. However, this insurance is only an option for properties not knowingly affected by the plant. Japanese knotweed indemnity insurance was introduced in 2015 to help the conveyancing process along. As such, this rare but valuable insurance will cover you for the following:
a) The cost of treating or removing Japanese knotweed from your property;
b) Expenses should your neighbours take legal action against you for allowing knotweed to encroach onto their land;
c) Japanese knotweed survey charges;
d) Insurance-based efforts to prevent the weed from returning.
Japanese knotweed indemnity insurance policies last for 10 years. The indemnity limits are set by your home’s value, meaning both you and your mortgage broker are protected.
Before you claim money back for a Japanese knotweed infestation – whether that is through your home insurance, compensation or other channel, you must first have a knotweed treatment plan in place. Contact us today to get started with removing Japanese knotweed from your land.