Woman warns over landslide cover ‘loophole’

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A pensioner who faces a bill of more than £20,000 after a landslide hit her home is warning people of an insurance ‘loophole’.

Brenda Hart was enjoying Christmas Day in Parkside, Belper last year when she heard an “almighty bang” and found tonnes of earth had crashed into her home.

She hoped to claim building costs from her insurer to move the earth back.

However, an agent said her building and contents cover was not valid for the accident.

Now she is urging people with low-lying homes to ensure they have proper cover after works were completed within the last few weeks and she was forced to cough-up the bill out of her own funds.

Brenda said: “I have had months of anguish to get this sorted out and I just want people who think they are covered for this sort of accident to know.

“It was a huge shock when it happened. I had been sitting with my son enjoying Christmas when there was this loud crash.

“I couldn’t believe how much earth there was - it also damaged my back door windows and window frame.”

Insurers contested Brenda’s claim, saying that her wall had “failed” which caused the accident.

However, an independent civil engineer said swelling of the earth caused movement in the earth which made the wall fall.

Brenda took her claim to the ombudsman who found in favour of the insurance company. She said she did not wish to name the firm.

She added: “Anyone with land higher than their property should make sure they have accident cover because this is the loophole the insurance company have used not to pay for this claim even though my insurance did cover me for landslide.

“I also have legal cover and full home and contents insurance.”