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Home insurers aggravating rat epidemic

29th February 2012 Print

Home insurers are exacerbating the nation’s growing rat epidemic by failing to authorise full repairs of problem drains and sewers, warns consumer champion Drain Claim.

The insurance handling expert believes the nation’s booming rat population – currently at 80 million – will continue to rise due to a combination of factors that together present the ideal environment for the proliferation of vermin.

Drain Claim believes insurance companies refusing to fully repair cracked and broken sewers is aggravating the UK’s rat epidemic. This, combined with the mild dry winter and councils cutting back on services including pest control and weekly bin collections, has created the perfect breeding ground.

“Rats are hardy and extremely resilient rodents which once they have taken hold of an environment are tremendously difficult to eliminate,” commented David Hayes, CEO for Drain Claim. “With female rats capable of producing litters of up to 10, 10 times per year, it is easy to see why they are multiplying at such a rate and the importance of preventing them from entering our homes where they can cause significant damage.

“One of the biggest issues we are currently seeing is drain and sewer problems being exacerbated by rat damage because home insurance companies are failing to comprehensively mend faulty pipes, enabling rats to get back inside and cause further damage. Insurers also often refuse to fix minor drain damage labelling it as ‘serviceable’ because the drainage system is still working, yet this enables rats to get into systems and cause wider problems. The word serviceable does not appear in any home insurance policy documents and the industry has failed to provide a definition for this vague term which provides them with increased wiggle-room on insurance claims. With the rat population thriving inside our aging sewer systems, home insurance companies have a duty to work harder for customers who have accidental damage cover. By conducting comprehensive repairs on all drains, no matter how small the damage, insurers can protect their customers from rat infestations and help curb the exponential population increase.”

A growing problem within the nation’s sewerage system, rats are very resilient, capable of swimming up to half a mile, even against the current, in a sewer pipe. Young rats can squeeze through holes as little as 1cm wide with rats also creating significant damage by chewing through pipe work and building materials. Well documented carriers of disease, rats are also extremely difficult to eradicate once they have established a nest.

“The best and most humane strategy for avoiding rat infestations in the home is to be vigilant about maintaining drainage and sewage systems,” continued David. “Once rats enter a home, because of the serious health risks that they pose, the only course of action is trapping or poisoning which runs the risk of decaying and infected bodies being trapped within the fabric of a property. It is far better to address the problem outside of the property by preventing rats from establishing a location within the sewage system and working their way into the home.

“I would urge property owners, even if they haven’t noticed any visible sign of rats, to ensure they have adequate protection for their drainage systems through their buildings insurance policy accidental damage clauses. Property owners must also always insist that full repairs are carried out on problem drains to protect against future rat infestation and never accept part fixes or ‘serviceable’ excuses from insurers. Paying out an insurance excess for a part fix that will not stop rats from getting into a sewage system is quite literally money down the drain.”

Drain Claim is the only FSA approved company in the UK currently to offer free, professional advice on drainage insurance claims. Supporting the increasing number of drain insurance claims in the UK, due to the country’s ageing and rat impaired sewerage network, Drain Claim takes the hard work away from the property owner at the point of establishing whether an insurance claim is required. The company will source a local contractor to resolve the initial problem, which is typically a blockage, and assess whether more work is required.

Should further work be necessary, Drain Claim will then CCTV survey the problem and produce a full report on the damage. If the repairs are covered under a buildings insurance policy, Drain Claim will present the report to the insurance company and customer and process any insurance claims on behalf of policy holders. Customers not able to make an insurance claim can still use Drain Claim to organise the full repairs to their drains or they can simply pay for the initial unblock and CCTV report (if required) and source their own contractor.

Managed by a professional team with more than 20 years’ experience in drainage, sewage clearing and repair, Drain Claim has access to a UK wide network of approved contractors. This ensures customers are visited by expert contractors in their local area and that call outs are typically made within 24 hours of Drain Claim being alerted to a problem.

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