August has been a complete wash out for many of us, and this seems to be part of a recent pattern of more and more rain. One side-effect of this is that sinkholes are becoming more common: in just the last few weeks both the Mancunian Way and the A27 in Hampshire have been closed by huge holes opening up, with another appearing on a beach in Devon.
None of these was near property but this can happen, as we mentioned in a previous blog. So what is the position on insurance if a sinkhole opens up near your home?
The key point is that most buildings insurance policies cover damage caused by a sinkhole – but only to the property itself. Damage to the garden or any garden features is not automatically covered, and this includes swimming pools, patios, hot tubs, trees, plants and ponds. These would need to be covered by extra insurance but, according to an article in The Guardian, it seems that no insurer in the UK would be willing to take on that risk.
If you’re worried about sinkholes – particularly if there’s a history of them appearing near you – then as always make sure you read the small print of your buildings insurance to ensure your property is covered. But you can also take practical safety measures to avoid triggering a hole in an area prone to subsidence. These include fixing water leaks from gutters and downpipes, avoiding running a hose for extended periods, and never emptying a swimming pool on to the garden.