Why poor property maintenance can impact your insurance
October 14, 2021
You might be mistaken for thinking that just because you have insurance, all damage that occurs will be covered. This might not be the case, especially when it comes to issues around your property. It is your responsibility to maintain your property and any damage that occurs when it happens. It is also important to keep good records of your maintenance.
What do you need to consider?
- Should maintenance issues be identified, it is important that you rectify these as soon as possible.
- Reports on maintenance from a builder can show that the property is well maintained. Having a recent building inspection or roof report provides support to demonstrate you have performed a recent maintenance inspection of your property and identified any areas that require repair.
- Taking images periodically of the property is recommended as a record of what the property looked like at a given point in time.
Why is maintenance so important?
By not completing maintenance checks on your property regularly or not keeping your property in good order, other areas, like your contents, may be damaged as a result. Whilst the insurer may accept the secondary damage, this may cause the loss of use of your damaged property and significant avoidable inconvenience and stress.
During a claim, should maintenance issues be identified insurers will generally request maintenance repairs to be completed at your cost prior to insured damage being repaired and may not want to renew your policy if work remains outstanding.
This means you will still incur the cost of the maintenance works and have the inconvenience and cost of damage to your property. Remember insurance claims are not ‘free’ either and most policies have an applicable excess. Additionally, a claim may impact your no claims discount and your premium at renewal. In some cases, your claim may not be accepted at all.
Having a claim for damage to your property under this circumstance is generally not an enjoyable experience and whilst we at Rivers will fully support you through the process many different parties may require involvement including but not limited to plumbers, electricians, builders, assessors, and engineers.
Examples of areas that may require maintenance – Roof, gutters, internal/external plumbing, internal/external electrical, waterproofing, external building walls, retaining walls, air conditioning units.
Insurers will not cover damage by wear and tear. Even if a storm was to occur, the wear and tear portion can be excluded as part of the settlement.
Property maintenance is part of your duty of care and will help to minimise future claim issues and make sure if a claim does arise, the work required is completed quickly.