It's taken many years for the insurance market to wake up to the problem of Japanese knotweed. A few years ago you couldn't get any cover for Japanese knotweed, the risk remaining fair and square with the property owner, to pay for the costs of treatment, for any claims made against them from aggrieved neighbours being the victims of encroachment, and for repairs to damage caused to property.
The Japanese knotweed removal industry has responded by providing guarantees under various guises to at least provide cover for the cost of further treatment for periods typically 5 to 10 years in duration. After a couple of notable business failures, banks and lenders typically now require these guarantees to be insurance backed to cover the eventuality of the knotweed treatment company not being able to honour its obligations due to insolvency. The insurance industry backs a number of treatment specialists, with Environet's guarantees being underwritten at Lloyd's. But none of these insurance backed guarantees tend to cover the legal liabilities or indeed the costs of repairs to damage ..... but now that risk can be covered.
We have been working with the UK’s leading legal indemnity intermediary, Countrywide Legal Indemnities Ltd, who now offer Japanese knotweed indemnity insurance for residential properties sold via conveyancing solicitors. The policy pays for professional treatment, provides access to legal representation if a knotweed claim is made against the insured, but what is even more impressive is that it pays for repairs to damage. The limit of indemnity is based on the market value of the property, which offers protection for both the buyer and the lender. The policy term is typically 10 years, although the lender is covered for the term of the mortgage provided it is granted within the 10 years.
The policy is available for any residential property where the presence of knotweed on the property is not known at policy commencement, or where it has been treated by a professional firm acceptable to the insurers. This will provide a great deal of assurance that any knotweed problem that might appear in the future will be tackled in a professional manner at no further cost to the house owner or their lender. And it should make the conveyancing process far simpler knowing that the knotweed risk can be covered by a simple insurance policy.