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Bathroom damage insurance claim

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  • Bathroom damage insurance claim

    I have a standard mid-1970s house in South Auckland, rented to a family.
    About six weeks ago I called in on a Saturday morning, mainly to check up on some work that had been carried out there.
    The work was OK, but the tenant happened to mention that something heavy had been dropped into the bath and cracked it. Sure enough, there was a sizeable crack right at the bottom of the acrylic bath.
    As soon as I got back home I dug out the AMI policy on the house and rang their 24-hour help line.
    "Sorry, there is nothing we can do today" I was told, "you'll need to file a claim on Monday".
    So at 9.10 am on Monday morning I was at the AMI office filling out the paperwork. They admitted that as the claim fell under the sanitary fittings clause, I would not be liable for any excess.
    At that time I stressed to them that as the family of tenants had small children, there was no way they were not going to not use the bath and that speed of repair was essential to minimise the leakage of water from the bath into the subfloor and the risk of extensive water damage to the structure of the building.
    To cut a long story short, despite my perpetual hassling, they took a month to repair the bath damage. By this time the subfloor was waterlogged and starting to break down, with water damage spreading into the adjacent toilet and hallway.
    AMI have now admitted liability for this quite extensive damage, and have engaged a contractor to carry out the repair work at their cost.
    My problem is that this work means that the bathroom/toilet will be out of commission for several days, and what happens to the tenant during this time?
    My policy, as it is written, does not cover this eventuality. My argument will be that as the work is now required due to AMI's failure to act in a speedy manner they have a liability to cover the costs of any tenant disruption.

    Anyone else been down this track? What was the outcome? Informed feedback welcome.

  • #2
    Somebody else must have run into this sort of situation before now.


    • #3
      I am insured with State. This year my preminiums went up 25% because I had a new landlords policy. I said , no way I want the old one but that was not available anymore . Anyway, a couple of months ago a slow leak in a water pipe behind a wall eventuated. I rang State only to be told that slow leaks were not covered because it was a rental property and tenants were slow to report these things. If it was a burst pipe with water gushing out , then that is different. I guess the point I'm making is that at least they have accepted you claim even though they have performed woefully. It would be interesting to find out if they have any stated service commitments to customers. Good luck.


      • #4
        I had a similar but not identical situation. Hot water cylinder shat itself, and before we had a chance to get plumbers in the floor was shot and needed replacing.

        AMI paid up within the week, (a limited amount due to the "slow leak" argument above) . Insurance apparently doesn't cover "normal wear and tear" that would cause the bottom of the HWC to rust through! However like you say it meant the tenants were without floor or bathroom for 2 days.

        We offered them a couple of night in a nearby motel OR the equivalent $ in cash. They took the cash, reluctant to be away from their gear whilst tradesmen were in the house.

        Insurance would not have paid that $260 but it was money well spent to keep reliable paying tenants happy and in place.
        two ears and just one mouth.. for good reason.


        • #5
          Thanks for the feedback. Insurance, of course, does not cover gradual deterioration only a sudden incident.
          My view is that this claim is now not actually an insurance claim, more likely a claim for lack of performance. As would be the case if say a roofer left a hole in the roof and the rain got in causing damage.
          Anyway, I will check with the tenants and see if they're planning to go away for a week anytime soon.


          • #6
            My cover included a limited amount for gradual damage... $1500 is better than nothing!

            Good Luck!
            two ears and just one mouth.. for good reason.


            • #7
              As I've been a Mum of small children I guess I can say that it is not that hard to shower with your babies instead of using the bath. Even a baby bath at the bottom of the shower is another option.

              My view is that the tenant used the bath knowing it was split/leaking - I would say they are liable for the extra damage.

              My two cents worth


              • #8
                Insurance cover

                Hi Flyer,

                If you want an informed conversation ring Greg Fretelli at Insurance and Lending on 4482096 and tell him I said to call you for some "free advice". Greg is going to be our geust speaker at the next APIA north shore monthly meeting where he will cover the various policies and what you get and answer everyones questions and concerns about landlord type insurance , brokers and dealing with insurance companies- feel free to come along as my guest for free if you like just PM me. Otherwise just give him a bell he s a great guy and knows his stuff !!

                I see lots of rejected - disputed claims every week and am amazed that landlords dont know what their cover is or even if they have cover for issues such as gradual leaks in bathrooms and laundries etc.




                • #9
                  APia North Shore meeting Re Insurance

                  What date will this be on?
                  And Where please?
                  Just the info I need at the moment.
                  Am starting a reno this week in Manurewa so want to be properly Insured
                  A few hot water cylindrers have been disappearing lately in that area from empty houses.
                  Want to cover such contingencies plus any other issues from overnight visits.
                  Does anyone else have any suggestions of how to discourage overnight visits etc??
                  and how do insurance coys handle 'missing' equipment or chattels?