Financial Ombudsman Service – Gradual damage irrelevant as problem not covered in policy – Case Study.
The Complainants have a home Insurance policy with the Insurer. The Complainants discovered a patch of damp on their dining room wall. The Insurer established that this had been caused by a leaking pipe. The Insurer agreed to pay for the wall to be repaired and redecorated.
The Insurer then discovered that there was dry rot in the floorboards in the dining room. The Complainants had a plumber to inspect the damage. When inspected the sub-floor they found a lack of ventilation. This combined with the rising ground water had caused excess moisture, which caused the rot and was considered gradual damage.
The Insurer wouldn’t pay for the repair of the floorboards as the policy excluded damage from rot.
The FOS agreed with the Insurer that the rot damage had been caused gradually. The FOS also agreed with the Complainants that they couldn’t have known about it happening gradually as the problem wouldn’t have been visible to them.
The FOS didn’t think that the rot had been caused by something the policy covered. Like the vast majority of policies, there was no insured event for rising groundwater or excess moisture.
The Complainants policy didn’t cover the cause of the damage. Therefore, the FOS didn’t think it was relevant if the cause was gradual or if the Complainants were aware of it happening.
The FOS didn’t uphold the complaint.
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