Water Damage Explained
After a month of lodging more flexi-hose and waterproof membrane failure claims we thought it timely to provide some information on what you might expect to be covered and what is actually covered.
Water damage is the number one reason that insurance claims are made. It spans damage from storms to maintenance issues and sometimes crosses over both!
These claims can be tricky in that the cause of the water damage determines which costs included in your claim are going to be paid and what costs will be at your expense.
We have endeavoured to explain in general how these claims work and help you understand how you might expect your claim to proceed.
Water Damages claims generally have costs in the following three areas:
- Exploratory – finding the leak
- Rectification – fixing the problem that has caused the leak
- Resultant Damage – fixing the resultant damage caused by the leak
These are normally claimable and include costs associated with finding a leak, these are only claimable if there is resultant damage as exploratory costs are not an event in themselves and are usually an additional benefit of the policy. These costs include things like holes cut in walls, or plumber camera costs.
An example of where these costs are not covered would be a burst pipe underground that is clearly leaking, but no actual damage has occurred to the concrete slab. The costs of excavating to locate the pipe, replacing the pipe and relaying new concrete would not be covered by the policy, as there is no resultant damage.
Claiming the costs to rectify the leak are dependent on the type of damage, this is the most misunderstood section of a water damage claim and causes the most confusion for claimants as most rectification costs are not covered. These costs include things like;
- Plumber or roofer to repair leak in roof
- Cost of replacing tiles or roof sheeting
- Cost of replacing pipes
- Cost of removing tree roots
- Cost of replacing or installing a waterproofing membrane
Here are some examples where they may or may not be claimable:
Where the insurer will most likely pay the rectification costs:
- Hail Damage or Storm Damage to Tiles
- Someone has damaged a pipe maliciously or accidentally
Where the insurer will most likely NOT pay the rectification costs:
- if the leak was caused by something due to lack of maintenance
- building defect that you didn’t know about
- Failed waterproofing membranes. This is quite common and it pays to note that if your damage is due to a failed waterproofing membrane the rectification cost includes stripping the bathroom, reapplying the membrane and reinstalling\supplying bathroom tiles and fittings. The costs will not be covered
- Bathrooms that do not currently have waterproofing membranes that will require one to be put in to comply with a new code
- Guttering that is not designed to cope with high levels of rain
Resultant damage is simply any damage that the leaking water has caused to your building and\or contents.
The insurer will often require proof by way of invoice to show that you have rectified the leak before they will release payment or authorisation for these works to begin, this is simply because they want to make sure you are not going to have to go through this happening again and that the problem is fixed.
Hopefully you have found this information helpful, we are always available to explain anything you don’t quite understand or answer any questions you might have about your claim. This information is general advice only and any claim you make is subject to your particular policy wording and situation.
This article originally appeared on Austbrokers Coast to Coast News and has been published here with permission.