How to spot signs of damp caused by poor gutter maintenance.

We have compiled some easy tips to help you quickly identify if blocked gutters are the cause of damp on your property. Also, some examples of insurance policy wording that you may not know exist in some policies.

Penetrating damp on wall image
Penetrating damp blocked downpipe image

Penetrating damp...

Penetrating damp is caused when water travels through walls and/or ceilings. Penetrating damp can usually be identified by the appearance of damp patches on walls and/or ceilings, which can darken when it rains. The appearance of water marks on outside walls can also be a sign of existing or historic water penetration down the wall.

Ground saturation...

Water overflowing from blocked gutters or downpipes can pool around the building's foundations. Over time this pooling can cause cracks, mould or even significant structural damage. One to watch for is open drains and soakaways. If you have a roding point/mini inspection chamber, open it up and check it's not blocked. Debris from gutters can enter the drain / soakaway via the downpipe.

Blocked downpipe drain overflowing image.
Insurance Policy Example

Check your insurance policy...

Damage to your property caused by blocked gutters may not be covered by your insurance policy, unnelss you can provide evidence of preventitve maintenance has bee carried out.

This could leave you substantially out of pocket, as repairing water damage can be time-consuming and expensive.

So, how can  insurance providers reject a claim? The answer should lie in your policy’s Product Disclosure Statement. Let’s take a look at some policy wording.

Example 1

"We cover Loss or damage to the building caused by liquid leaking, overflowing or bursting from any of the following. Any drain, fixed pipes, roof gutters or guttering and rainwater down pipes, drainage and sewage systems.”

That sounds pretty conclusive, doesn’t it? You’re covered from blocked drain damage then, right? Well not necessarily as the document also goes on to state.

"We do not cover wear and tear, or loss or damage by the escape of liquid occurring as a result of a gradual process of leaking, splashing, dripping or overflowing over a period of time when you could be reasonably expected to be aware of this condition."

So, if the damage is caused by the escape of liquid occurring as a result of a gradual process of leaking, splashing or dripping you could reasonably be expected to be aware of this condition. Your claim could be rejected.

Damage associated with blocked gutters often fits this description.

Example 2

Under the heading Roofs and Gutters, the article states.

"Home Insurance provides cover for unexpected events that are outside of your control. It’s not designed to cover damage that could be avoided by regular maintenance."

An example of this is roof damage. If your roof hasn’t been reasonably maintained and this has contributed to the damage you want to claim for, you might not be covered.

In other words, your insurance claim may not be accepted if regular maintenance, such as gutter cleaning has not been undertaken properly and on a regular basis.

Food for thought?


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