Many community schemes have outdoor spaces that have well-maintained landscaped gardens that add a touch of elegance and tranquility, thereby enhancing the overall aesthetics and quality of life for the residents. Gardens, comprising soil, grass, trees, and plants, are not typically covered by insurance policies as part of buildings or improvements as gardens are ‘in the open’ and exposed to the elements with little or no protection against loss or damage.
Some insurers acknowledge that landscaped gardens, those that contain professionally designed and laid features, do require some form of limited cover in the event of certain loss or damage circumstances.
Most specialised sectional title insurance policies provide a limited form of cover for landscaped gardens (R5 000 – R10 000) where damages are caused by emergency vehicles in attending a fire emergency. Some insurers go a little further to specify certain loss events only, e.g. fire, explosion, impact by vehicles, impact by aircraft, and or articles dropped from it while other insurers even may include flood perils, theft, and malicious damage events.
It is important to check your policy wording with regard to this cover, being an extended benefit only, as these defined events do differ slightly from insurer to insurer.
It should not be expected that an insurer cover garden landscaping against the likes of theft, storms (floodwater, wind, rain, hail, snow), malicious damage, earthquakes, burst underground pipes, subsidence, landslip, etc.
If a tree falls over and causes damage to the buildings or to insured improvements, most insurers also provide cover (normally limited to R5 000) for the costs of removing the tree. Please note that if the fallen tree does not damage any part of the insured buildings, the cover does not apply. The cover also usually excludes the cost of roots and stump removal.
In the case of landslide, rockfall, and storm tempest events that may result in rock, soil, and vegetation debris deposits on your property gardens, the policy would only respond to debris removal costs where the buildings are damaged and the debris is obstructing the building reinstatement process.
Understandably, it is important to realise that these covers (benefit extensions) are rather more limited and/or specific in their response in certain damage circumstances.
Author: Brian Addison
Addsure is South Africa’s leading sectional title insurance brokerage. Obtain fit and proper advice from advisors who understand sectional title. Contact our head office, Cape Town (021) 551 5069 who will put you directly in touch with one of our nationwide advisors.