Two main periods to structural warranty cover
Most reputable structural warranty policies for new homes will feature two main periods:
- The Defects Insurance Period: typically one or two years, during which time the developer is responsible for rectifying any defects
- The Structural Insurance Period: typically eight or nine years, when your warranty provider will take up your claim, assuming it is covered by your policy and is valid
The periods run one after the other. So from the time you move in, most homeowners are covered for up to 10 years in total.
The Defects Insurance Period
The initial period for most structural warranties makes your developer liable for putting right structural defects. This is typically for one or two years. You should carefully check the wording of your policy to see what is covered and understand the difference between snags and defects. Snags will not be covered.
Before you make a claim against your structural warranty policy, you should report faults to your developer in writing as soon as possible, and keep a copy for your records.
If your complaint is valid, your developer should rectify the defect.
If you report issues to your developer within the Defects Insurance Period and either there is a disagreement over the issue or they fail to resolve it within a reasonable time period, then most structural warranty providers will seek to help you through a conciliation service.
If the developer becomes insolvent or unreasonably refuses to rectify an issue covered by the policy, then the warranty provider will step in and fix the defect.
A successful claim will pay for any costs incurred in repairing, replacing or rectifying a defect in the property for which the developer is responsible and which is covered by the warranty policy.
The Structural Insurance Period
This period starts once the Defects Insurance Period ends and typically lasts eight or nine years, depending on your policy wording. The Defects Insurance Period and the Structural Insurance Period usually add up to a total of 10 years.
During the Structural Insurance Period, if you have a valid claim you should contact your warranty provider directly. Please refer to your policy and read it carefully first. Remember, structural warranties are designed to ensure that damage caused by defects in design, workmanship or materials is put right.
Structural warranty policies generally will not cover non-structural issues such as gutters, central heating, internal plaster finishing, fixtures and fittings, and normal wear and tear, nor damage caused by accidents or severe weather events. if you have such damage it may be more appropriate to contact your household insurer.
Peace of mind
Remember, a structural warranty as with any insurance policy is designed to give you peace of mind, and cover you in the unlikely event of something going wrong. With luck, you will never it need – but rest assured it is there should the worst happen.