When it comes to insuring your home, there’s no better idiom than ‘a stitch in time saves nine’. Fixing small maintenance problems at the first sight of deterioration will prevent a small problem from becoming larger and much costlier in future. Yet, complacency seems to remain a large contributing factor towards the rejection of claims for what is commonly referred to as ‘wear and tear’.
Deanne Van Doesburgh, from Hollard, explains that, “When it comes to insurance, the insured is responsible to prevent damage or loss by ensuring that assets are maintained in good working order”.
“It’s important to remember that insurance is there to protect you against the impact of sudden, unforeseen and accidental events, and not for gradual wear and tear”, adds Van Doesburgh. “‘Wear and tear’ refers to the gradual deterioration of an insured item caused by aging, normal usage or the environment, for example exposure to weather, moths and insects, rust, mildew and so on”.
Yet, as simple as it is to maintain a minor upkeep of one’s household, it is just as easy to overlook certain easy-fixes.
Consider the following;
- The wooden eaves of John’s garage roof have not been treated for years and have started to rot. Carpenter bees love to lay their eggs in weathered wood. Even though John has noticed the carpenter bees and the rot, he delays getting the eaves treated. The rotting spreads and as a result one part of the roof caves in because the damaged eaves can no longer bear the weight of the roof. After claiming from his insurer, John is advised that the cost to replace the eaves and re-tile the roof are not covered, leaving him with the hefty repair bill.
- After a thunderstorm, Jane notices that her roof is leaking. She lodges an insurance claim for damage to her roof, and upon inspection, the assessor finds that the waterproofing and flashings have deteriorated over the years and a number of roof tiles are broken. Her insurer therefore does not cover the cost of the repair of the roof or waterproofing since these have deteriorated due to a lack of maintenance.
- Paul decides to raise the height of his boundary wall for security purposes. He gets an informal builder to do the work to save some money and they proceed to build the wall up from 4 foot to 8 foot, and they install electric fencing on top of this. No-one thinks to check that the existing wall foundations are suitable for the height and weight of the new wall. After the first summer storm and winds, the wall collapses causing considerable damage and loss. The insurer assessor determines that the wall collapsed because of faulty design and insufficient foundation strength, and not because of the storm, so Paul’s insurance claim is rejected.
With the rise in the cost of living and the decline in credit ratings, it has become crucial, now more than ever, to give your home the TLC it needs. Attending to any maintenance issues as soon as they arise should become top priority for any homeowner.
Take care of the hard earned assets you’ve already built up over the years, so if life does decide to unexpectedly dish out a few lemons along the way, your insurance will get you back to normal before you can say lemonade!