Japanese Knotweed and Home Insurance

Knotweed and Home Insurance

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Introduction

Japanese knotweed can negatively impact on the value of your property, as well as causing conflict between neighbours and causing stress in your day-to-day life. The discovery of a knotweed infestation can lead to extensive and expensive repairs, which some might seek to avoid by relying on their home insurance.

Unfortunately, in most cases, you will not be able to make a claim on your home insurance after discovering Japanese knotweed, or for any damage caused by the infestation.

Does house insurance cover Japanese Knotweed?

The majority of house insurance policies do not cover losses incurred or repairs for damage caused by Japanese knotweed. This extends to the professional removal of or treatment required to eradicate the infestation, often leaving the homeowner to foot considerable bills.

This prompts further question in to what effect Japanese knotweed might have on your insurance premiums, and whether your insurance would cover costs associated with a claim from someone who alleges that they have damage from your infestation.

Can I get in trouble for having Japanese Knotweed in my garden?

Although it’s not illegal to have Japanese knotweed in your garden, controlling it without careful consideration is a bad idea. Even when you think you’ve gotten rid of it completely, Japanese knotweed can grow back from just a tiny piece of root left in the soil.

Anyone found spreading Japanese knotweed into the wild could receive a significant 4-figure fine or go to jail for up to two years, so it’s no joke. If you allow Japanese knotweed to grow into anyone else’s property, you could even be served with a community protection notice or worse yet, face legal action and claims.

Will my insurance cover legal expenses if a neighbour makes a claim for Japanese Knotweed damage/expenses?

Your insurance policy may cover the cost of legal expenses if your neighbour were to sue you for damages caused by Japanese knotweed entering their property. This would ultimately fall on the level of cover you have with your provider.

You are expected to act & prevent Japanese knotweed from spreading onto neighbouring properties, regardless of whether the land is publicly or privately owned (click here –> if you have land with Japanese Knotweed). If you allow Knotweed to spread into neighbouring property, you could be held liable for the loss of value to the neighbour’s land, as well as any treatment & damage costs that the infestation might have incurred.

It’s often possible to add additional legal fees insurance to your standard home insurance policy. We recommend you check it out and read the fine print in your current policy if you’re worried that you might not be covered for this eventuality.

Will Japanese Knotweed affect my insurance premiums?

Although your home insurance policy will not cover the removal of Japanese knotweed, or damage caused by it, you shouldn’t necessarily experience higher premiums because you have the invasive plant on your property. The costs will fall directly on the homeowner, meaning that premiums should remain largely unaffected.

Can I get insurance specifically to protect against Japanese Knotweed?

It’s only recently that the insurance industry has begun to address the problem of Japanese knotweed in the UK. Only a few years ago, companies would refuse to insure against Japanese knotweed encroachment, insisting that property owners were responsible for any treatment costs, claims made against you from neighbours & damage caused to property.

Since 2015, it has been possible to buy a number of specific Japanese knotweed insurance policies which cover the cost of removing the plant and any further associated costs. A Japanese knotweed indemnity insurance policy will cover the removal of the infestation and preventative measures to stop the plant from reappearing. Providing any preventative measures & surveys are insurance-backed and carried out by trusted professionals – such as Knotweed Services.

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