Tree roots & insurance claim

Tree roots & insurance claim

Postby jayse134 » Thu Jun 18, 2015 7:55 pm

We share a private sewage system with next door, it in their garden. The roots of tree/s in their garden have damaged the out pipe from the tank and we had a letter off them in January stating we had to accept the quote their insurance had agreed. There were no prices included at all. We thought it odd and sought advice from the CAB, we wrote back stating we had not received anything from their insurance (totally wrong address given - even the post code) and that the insurance company need to contact us at the address listed below (our correct address). That was in January. nothing until a couple of weeks ago whilst we were on holiday, when the house sitter told us they had a company out doing things which we presumed was connected to the tank. Yesterday a letter arrived from their insurance company tree root damage (no trees in our garden - only theirs)stating they are seeking 50% of the incurred costs. it also states we are aware our policy holder has already contacted you in relation to this matter and are in possession of what they issued to is on 8th Jan. It appears the insurers are not aware we responded to that letter (we sent it recorded delivery). Can the insurance co do work willy nilly then expect us to fork out for half when they have made little or no effort to contact us prior to doing the work. And are we liable as the damage was caused by their trees/shrubs.

Our neighbours are not pleasant to deal with at all hence the recorded delivery
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Re: Tree roots & insurance claim

Postby arsie » Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:58 pm

jayse134 wrote:Can the insurance co do work willy nilly then expect us to fork out for half when they have made little or no effort to contact us prior to doing the work. And are we liable as the damage was caused by their trees/shrubs.

Under the circumstances there is no reason you should contribute. As the neighbour's tree roots caused the damage (though that needs to be confirmed) their insurance should bear the cost 100% subject to any excess. It is their insurance isn't it? not joint??

I would write to the insurance company explaining you are not liable, and why. They have acted on their own initiative/their policy holder (your neighbour) not for you or with your agreement to bear any part of the cost (which would imply some fault or contribution to causing the damage on your part, when there is none.)

Explain that the neighbour was asked to provide correct contact information by you in January and obviously has not. Enclose a copy of the letter you wrote and the recorded deliver receipt.

I think the neighbour is trying to share the blame with you to save future premium increases or he has agreed some 'deal' with his insurance company. You do share the use of the system but his trees have caused the damage and it is 100% a claim on his house insurance not on your pocket.
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Re: Tree roots & insurance claim

Postby jayse134 » Fri Jun 19, 2015 11:52 am

jayse134 wrote:It is their insurance isn't it? not joint??


Thanks for the advice. No its not a joint policy, we have our own home insurance, they have insurance for theirs. they originally tried to claim for a whole new system £26k. we saw a report which stated the pipe was blocked after exiting the tank - a large shrub durectly above and just short of the final outlet where they have a number of semi mature trees (probably about 20 yrs old). The report claimed 'accidental damage' to underground services
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Re: Tree roots & insurance claim

Postby MacadamB53 » Fri Jun 19, 2015 12:00 pm

Hi jayse,

as an aside, how have you been dealing with your sewerage since the problem arose?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Tree roots & insurance claim

Postby arsie » Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:16 pm

Hmmm. Thinking more about this ... I can see their difficulty.

I am no insurance expert but blockage due to tree roots is going to be considered accidental. Looking at it from the other extreme, it is hardly going to be a deliberate act, although we can all realise - with hindsight - that this sort of situation is possible. Roots do seek out moisture!

So, my original comment - that the neighbour caused the damage and so should bear the cost - is not a sensible or reasonable assessment of the situation and is not a fair or equitable solution.

Given that the OP's property shares the benefit of the private sewage facility equally, I can see why the other chap's house insurance company seek to recover 50% from the OP. Although very little of the private sewage system stands on his own property surely this sort of accident is not unique? Only exceptionally will a utility like this shared between two properties sit exactly 50-50 on each but the benefit of the utility is shared 50-50.

Why doesn't the OP submit a claim for his half to his own insurance company?

The delay hasn't helped but the OP has a completely legitimate reason why - the wrong address etc etc - and that only now the repairs have been carried out has this reasonable request for 50% come to the OP's attention and had he realised sooner he would have raised a claim sooner.
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Re: Tree roots & insurance claim

Postby jayse134 » Fri Jun 19, 2015 6:50 pm

MacadamB53 wrote:Hi jayse,

as an aside, how have you been dealing with your sewerage since the problem arose?

Kind regards, Mac

No problems at all. it was jetted in march/april 2014 and working fine since. it got blocked about 10 years ago before they moved in. the previous neighbours had it jetted then and its worked ever since
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Re: Tree roots & insurance claim

Postby jayse134 » Fri Jun 19, 2015 6:54 pm

Why doesn't the OP submit a claim for his half to his own insurance company?

The delay hasn't helped but the OP has a completely legitimate reason why - the wrong address etc etc - and that only now the repairs have been carried out has this reasonable request for 50% come to the OP's attention and had he realised sooner he would have raised a claim sooner.[/quote]

I contacted our insurance, didnt have accidental damage - not the type to claim for gloss on a carpet. I have a new insurance policy now its been that long and have everything, not sure they will cover it as surely its an existing issue
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Re: Tree roots & insurance claim

Postby MacadamB53 » Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:27 pm

jayse134 wrote:
MacadamB53 wrote:Hi jayse,

as an aside, how have you been dealing with your sewerage since the problem arose?

Kind regards, Mac

No problems at all. it was jetted in march/april 2014 and working fine since. it got blocked about 10 years ago before they moved in. the previous neighbours had it jetted then and its worked ever since

it's not clear how recently the current neighbours moved in - were they informed of the problem prior to purchase do you know?

Kind regards, Mac
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Re: Tree roots & insurance claim

Postby jayse134 » Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:46 pm

it's not clear how recently the current neighbours moved in - were they informed of the problem prior to purchase do you know?

They moved in 5 or 6 years ago, I doubt the previous owner told them, of any issue. we had told them since they moved in it had been blocked and the previous owner did not want us to pay towards the jetting, but we insisted they accept something towards the cost at the time. we so so miss our former neighbours, easy going and make do and mend. unlike the new ones that think everything has to be upgraded and brand new. I'm not trying to get out of paying at all, its the fact its been done and the insurance are esure thay can just expect us to pay whatever. if they thought wee were liable why did they make little or no effort ot contact us and if they think we are jointly tied in to the system why did they do work without our consent. they are after all an insurance company, they are not the law

whoops venting a venomous vien! :twisted:
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Re: Tree roots & insurance claim

Postby MacadamB53 » Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:03 pm

Hi jayse,

I find it odd that you hold your former neighbours in such high regard if, as you say, they sold without disclosing the fact their property was known to be damaged or might be damaged (and would only get worse if ignored).

can you clarify what you did and didn't know about the damage when you and the ex-neighbours had it jetted?

Mac
Last edited by MacadamB53 on Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tree roots & insurance claim

Postby COGGY » Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:06 pm

Hi

Before you pay anything it would be a good idea to investigate. The law has changed recently regarding drains. We let what was formerly my father's house. It is a modern end of terrace. The row of houses on the right hand side drain through "our" drain into the garden of the neighbour on the left. There was a problem with the drains recently. We were between tenants but needed to sort it out. Hubby rang the local water board, who said they would fix it. They sent a private firm that evening to clear the problem and there was NO charge. We were told a "shared drain" was the responsibility of the Water Board, even though it was in the garden of the house next door. We couldn't believe it either.

It would surely be worth a phone call. If it could have been fixed for free you need not pay.

Kind regards
Coggy
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Re: Tree roots & insurance claim

Postby arsie » Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:26 pm

is the sum of money ('your' 50%) huge or just a few £hundreds? What exactly had to be done? I am not clear if the system connected ultimately to the public sewer or not. If not, I don't think the water authority can be responsible. Hugh Jaleak is our resident expert on water.

If you were under-insured in the past I hope you are covered now - for any future problems ...
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Re: Tree roots & insurance claim

Postby jayse134 » Sat Jun 20, 2015 4:11 pm

can you clarify what you did and didn't know about the damage when you and the ex-neighbours had it jetted?

We just had them out to jet it, no cameras or anything. literally the offending pipe is the exiting pipe from the tank. it only carries filtered water nothing nasty or lumpy
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Re: Tree roots & insurance claim

Postby jayse134 » Sat Jun 20, 2015 4:22 pm

[quote="arsie"]is the sum of money ('your' 50%) huge or just a few £hundreds? What exactly had to be done? I am not clear if the system connected ultimately to the public sewer or not.
We are not connected to the mains sewer so the principal that once a pipe crosses a boundary it becomes a shared pipe and therefore the water companies responsibility does not apply.

we have no idea what the amount is what we received in Jan was a letter from next door with 3 pages that looked like they were printed off at home, one addressed to them excavate & replace 1m of 100mm pipe at 21m
from here cut and line 21m excavate on mark at 33m under bush and replace 1 m bed surround and backfill.

the second letter addressed in part to us (wrong address) stating that thety cannot process and have written to your insurers recommedning the matter be passed to the local authority. This is one of the things that made us suspect. the letter suposedly addressed to us is about us but worded as if sent next door.

the other point is that when we got the letter from the neighbours we contacted the company the letters were from as it stated shared liabilty: No. we asked if this meant any other party was iable for the costs and they said no. we have the name of the person who told us.
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Re: Tree roots & insurance claim

Postby ukmicky » Sat Jun 20, 2015 7:02 pm

Are you responsible

Even though the part that got blocked was on his land ,If the part that got blocked is a part which is also used by you both of you you are both responsible for repairs .

His roots causing damage only becomes an argument for them to pay the full cost of repair if you can prove he knew or ought to have known the roots were going to block the pipe and failed to act to prevent it from happening.

if the blockage was such that it required immediate action,such as land contamination etc the neighbour would be allowed to perform any work resonably necessary to repair it without your full cooperation or knowledge if it was enough of an emergency and then claim from you your share of the costs afterwards.


If you need to claim from your insurance company and the blockage occurred under the old policy,your claim even though you have changed companies will be through the old company not the new one. They remain responsible for all claims for all events that occurred during their period of cover and you can make that claim I believe up to 6 years from the date of the event.

So basically if this is a shared pipe, gain the details of the repair, make sure the receipts ,etc are genuine and pay and then if need be claim through your old insurance company . Read the small print of the policy In case it wasn't covered first.
Advice given is not legally qualified and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
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