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Avoid ‘woodpecker’ excesses

Beware woodpeckers. A recent case involving one has highlighted the need to read the small print carefully on insurance policies – particularly regarding the excess you are expected to pay in the event of making a claim.



The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) recently had to deal with a complaint from a man whose shed had been damaged by a woodpecker. It had made 150 holes: and the insurer said it would deduct an excess for each hole as these were all separate incidents. The FOS, predictably, found the insurer’s demand to be unfair.

Recent figures from analysts Defaqto show that most policies apply a separate excess charge for items or incidents covered by different sections of your policy. So, for example, if your suitcase was stolen on holiday, you may have to pay excesses baggage, money, passports and valuables.

And excesses are increasing: according to Defaqto, half of home insurance policies have a standard excess of £100 or more, compared to one third three years ago. One key reason for this is the growth of comparison websites: many insurance companies have raised their excess charges in order to lower their premiums.

The message is to read the small print carefully before you take out an insurance policy. And if you are having any difficulties with making a claim, then Morgan Clark’s experience team of loss assessors may be able to help. You can find out more by reading about our domestic claims management service.

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