What is Trace and Access cover?

It’s important to understand the principles of what’s called “Trace and Access” cover because it might make a significant difference to you in the context of an insurance claim.

Household problems

Many of us have had the unpleasant experience of something going wrong in our homes that requires the attention of a tradesperson or other such specialist. Examples that come to mind include things such as:

  • water leaks;
  • electrical problems;
  • water supply troubles (internal);
  • blocked drains; etc.

We have also probably all discovered that the reality of getting in that professional assistance is yet more mess and sometimes even entirely necessary further damage to our home’s surroundings. For example, if you have a leak, sometimes floorboards need to be lifted or holes knocked in plaster, in order to discover the source of the trouble so that it can be fixed.

This investigative work, which may lead to mess and some justified further damage to our property, is called “trace and access activities”.

The insurance implications

In some cases, the side effects of that trace and access activity can be expensive to put right. That’s when you might have a bit of a shock when making your insurance claim.

The problem is that whether you have owner-occupier, landlord or unoccupied property insurance, you might find to your horror that it doesn’t cover the costs of repairs associated with trace and access type work. Those costs can be high too – imagine how much it would cost to re-lay a concrete and tile floor if someone has had to dig it up to try and find a water leak?

It’s such an important point that it’s perhaps worth re-stating explicitly via another example.

If your policy doesn’t cover trace and access, keep in mind that conventional cover might only apply to the damage caused by the problem itself.

So, if a specialist has been forced to cause damage looking for a problem but it transpires that he or she was looking in the wrong place (this might easily happen and regularly) then the damage wasn’t, strictly speaking, caused by the event itself. Your insurer might legitimately refuse a claim covering such restoration.

Trace and access cover

That’s why trace and access cover might be very important to you.

Typically, it might include:

  • the activities of a tradesperson or specialist required in order to find the source of the problem to begin with;
  • the work associated with accessing the problem;
  • the costs associated with restoring any damage caused by trace and access activities.

If you’re a landlord, remember too that even if a problem seems minor to you, the law may now require you to respond quickly and efficiently to tenant requests for problems to be investigated and fixed. You cannot simply ignore a problem and hope it goes away – and such an approach might not be wise in terms of protecting your investment anyway.

Do note though that typically trace and access cover as part of landlord, owner-occupier or unoccupied property insurance, only relates to insured perils. So, it typically won’t cover costs arising from trace and access activities you decided to undertake as part of say your investigative work covering a new extension you’re planning to build.

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