Intouch Summer 2015 - A new policy for a growing problem
We are delighted to announce the launch of our new Japanese Knotweed indemnity policy, which will offer protection to buyers and lenders in the event that knotweed is discovered at a property.
"Aggressive and destructive"
Japanese knotweed is an invasive, non-native plant that can spread relentlessly. Growing at a spectacular rate of up to four inches a day, it's described by the Environment Agency as the UK's "most aggressive and destructive plant".
It can grow beneath concrete and tarmac, causing damage to buildings, roads, driveways and drains. You can find a few examples of the nightmares it has caused some unfortunate property owners on our website. Suffice to say, if knotweed is discovered at a property, it can cause serious headaches for the owners.
In recognition of this developing issue, an additional question was added to the TA6 property information form in 2013 to ask whether a seller's property is affected by knotweed, with the option to answer 'Yes', 'No' or 'Not known'.
Clearly, it's a problem if the seller states that the property is affected by knotweed, not least because the lenders may refuse to lend on an affected property or may require a survey and specialist treatment, guaranteed for at least 10 years, to be carried out before they will lend.
However, where the form is answered 'Not known', it also creates problems for a buyer, as they are left in an uncertain position, unsure as to whether a knotweed problem could surface in the future. Even when the seller states that there isn't a problem, sometimes they may choose to stipulate that no warranty is offered, and the buyer should obtain their own survey.
An insurance solution
As a result, we created our innovative, new indemnity policy to offer protection against the potential financial costs and physical damage caused by the future discovery of knotweed. The policy offers cover to the buyers, their mortgagees, lessees and successors in title in the event that knotweed is discovered at the property after the policy commencement date, following a 'No' or 'Not known' answer being given on the property information form. If the question is answered 'Yes', our policy protects against reoccurrence of a knotweed problem after the policy commencement date, provided any required works are completed first with an insurance backed guarantee.
The policy covers a number of losses, including:
the cost of obtaining a survey report from a knotweed treatment specialist
treatment costs to eradicate knotweed at the property
repair and restoration costs for any damage caused by knotweed
legal defence expenses incurred to handle any claim from a third party affected by the spread of knotweed.
Knotweed removal specialists
We've been working closely with Environet, one of the UK's leading knotweed removal specialists.
Environet offer patented equipment and a guaranteed removal method to eradicate knotweed and ensure it is permanently removed from properties.
Premiums start from as little as £65 for a £100,000 policy limit. Homeowners are covered for 10 years, and lenders are covered for the full term of the mortgage, provided it is taken out within the period of insurance.