What is meant by gradual deterioration, wear and tear or gradual operating cause, and why is this not covered?

Damage caused gradually or by wear and tear or depreciation may also be referred to as a 'gradually operating cause' exclusion in Home policies, meaning customers will not be covered if they tried to make a claim for damage where the cause of the damage is proven to be due to these reasons. 

This can mean items which have suffered mechanical or electrical break-down or which have suffered inevitable failure due to general wear and tear from normal everyday use, will not be covered under our Home policies.

Customers may find that if the item is still under warranty, it might be covered for repair or replacement by the warranty insurer.

Our home insurance policies are designed to protect policyholders against the risk of things happening suddenly which you could not have expected such as fire, theft, flood and storm. Our Home policies are not designed to protect policyholders against losses that arise due to gradual deterioration or cover the cost of routine maintenance of your home or possessions. AXA, along with most other insurer's require home-owners to keep their property well -maintained and won't cover you for damage that happens gradually over a period of time or by wear and tear, which can be made worse by stormy weather.

Properties are designed to withstand damage by all but the most extreme weather conditions. Normal weather conditions should not cause damage to a well-maintained property and damage of this nature is not covered by our AXA policies.

We have provided some claims scenarios below to show you the types of claim covered and not covered when damage has happened gradually or due to wear and tear.

Incident and damage caused Is the claim covered?

The insured made a claim for escape of water after discovering mould under their bath which had come through to the ceiling in the room below. When the bathroom and ceiling was inspected, the damage was due to failure of the sealant and grout around the bath. This had been happening over a period of time and not from a one -off escape of water incident.

No, the claim was declined due to gradual deterioration, as well as the policy containing an exclusion for loss or damage caused by the failure or lack of sealant and grout.

The insured made a claim for damage to their roof. When the roof was inspected the damage was due to nail corrosion over a period of time which caused the tiles to slip. Although the weather conditions at the time highlighted the problem, the roof had been deteriorating over several years.

No, the claim was declined due to gradual deterioration.

The insured made a claim for water damage to the spare bedroom their property after suddenly noticing water leaking down from the ceiling. The damage was found to have been caused by a problem with the heating tank, which had caused a pipe to leak slowly into the ceiling void which the insured had not been aware of.

Yes, although the water had been leaking slowly over a period of time, the insured had been unaware of the water building up in the floor void until they first noticed the presence of water coming from the ceiling, at which point the damage was reported straight away.

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