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When you purchase an Insurance policy you are entering into legal contract with the Insurance Company to provide protection against loss or damage to your property against and agreed peril – These are called Insured Perils, however as with all contracts you as the Insured party has responsibilities under the Insurance.
Principle among these responsibilities is the requirement that you as the owner of the building must maintain your property as though you were uninsured. The reason for this is that Insurance has never and will never cover damage as a result of a lack of maintenance or a loss directly attributed to natual wear and tear – Insurers expect you to maintain your property.
Where a claim is submitted for damage to property Insurers will only respond if there is an Insured peril these may vary from policy to policy but will all include the following;
- Escape of Water
- Accidental Damage
- Storm Damage
- Third Party vehicle collision (a motorised vehicle impacting your property and causing damage)
However, a claim for the above might still be repudiated if there is evidence of a lack of maintenance. As an example our property claims business has a whole host of example of when this has occurred.
Leak from Roof
During one of the many storms that occurred this year, we received notice of an ingress of water at a clients premises. On the surface of it this would appear to be an easy claim – Storm damage had caused the roof to prevent the rain water from entering into the property.
However when an Insurance company loss adjuster visited the premises it was discovered that the roof had been poorly maintained and no work had been done on the roof in the last 15 years. Following the loss adjusters report to the Insurer the claim was repudiated based on the lack of maintenance to the clients roof.
When an insurance companies look at claims in terms of causation (what was the proximate cause of the damage) in this instance it was assumed by the client that the ingress of water was caused by the storm. However the Insurer argued that had to roof been properly maintained then the roof would have been able to withstand the onslaught of rain from the storm. Based on this Insurers repudiated the claim based on the fact that the main reason for the ingress of water was down to wear and tear on the roof due a lack of maintenance from the client.
The result of this was that the client had too at their own expense affect repairs to their roof and resort the damaged property at their own expense which cost them in the region of £17,000 to fix.
How can I prevent Insurers applying the Maintenance clause?
Put simply, while Insurers will accept liability for loss or damage to your property – You must keep your responsibilities and maintain your property as though it was uninsured.