If I were to believe the good people of the movie “My Fair Lady,” “The Rain in Spain falls mainly on the plains.” It is raining in Cape Town now, and I promise you, it falls everywhere.
You probably wonder how rain, Spain and insurance all get together? Well, you see, the rain that falls on the roof of my house runs into the gutters. If the gutters cannot handle the run-off, the water may go where it should not and cause damage. And that could lead to an insurance claim. And that claim may be paid – or not.
And that is the topic of this post.
IF YOU WERE THE INSURER – WOULD YOU PAY THIS CLAIM?
We are busy with a series of posts to help us understand our short term insurance better. If we understand our insurance, we can make more informed decisions as to what to cover and what not. Or how to cover it. Or perhaps decide we will rather not cover some items.
Once again I urge you to study your own policy wording or speak to your broker. Please do not take this post as advice, because I am working on a “generic” policy wording. Furthermore, your circumstances and needs are unique.
Water Damage is An Insured Peril
Normally, a personal policy that covers your house and/or content will cover you for water damage. That means, if you have Building Cover (i.e. the structure of your house) and the water overflows the gutters and their is damage to soffits or ceilings, the insurance would pay.
If that overflow causes damage to the content of your house (and the content is covered according to the schedule), this damage will also be covered.
The reason I am thinking of this, is that recently, while out walking for my lockdown exercise, I noticed a house with an “elevated garden.” The gutters were overgrown – you have probably seen houses like that. I have a lot of trees on the yard and have to clean the gutters regularly. It always amazes me how quickly leaves accumulate in the gutters.
Would You Still Pay The CLAIM IF …
Let’s suppose with the rain today the water damage described above happens at this house with the “elevated garden.” Will the insurance still pay? What is your feeling? The gutters are blocked. The water has to overflow and go where it should not go?
DUTY OF CARE
You must take all reasonable precautions and all reasonable care to prevent or minimise loss, damage, death, injury or liability.
If you read your policy wording, you will probably find a requirement like the one above somewhere in there.
Looking at this requirement, the questions is, did the owner of the house under discussion take reasonable care?
Based on this clause, am doubtful whether an assessor will approve the claim!
Insurance covers you against sudden, unforeseen events. Any deterioration over time is also excluded. There is an onus on us to maintain our possessions. Unfortunately, the normal short term insurance contract is not a maintenance contract.
The principle of care is very important.
- Leaving a bicycle unlocked while you have breakfast after a ride – can you claim that you have exercised reasonable care if it is stolen?
- Leaving your car unattended with the keys in the ignition – did you take care? (I once left my car in Knysna in a parking lot with the keys in the boot! Middle of December holiday. When I got back the car guard stood at my car – he got a good “Christmas” that day!)
- Leaving your front door unlocked and the house unoccupied – in a case like this it is not even burglary!
The principle today is – to get claims paid without hassle, take care of your possessions.
I love this saying:
“Insure what you have. Live as if you have no insurance at all.”
What are your thoughts? Please comment below. You are also welcome to post your Short Term Insurance related questions below.