Covering yourself for an unexpected event that leads to damage and financial loss is exactly what insurance is for. For house and contents insurance, you are most likely to think of your typical risks that might include fire, property flooding or theft of contents. However, insurance goes much further the ‘usual’ losses.
At initio we come across our fair share of unusual claims. As part of our ‘2019 in Review’ we go over our top 5 most unexpected claims – with a few honourable mentions. We are calling this the ‘Annual Initio Claims Awards’
Expect the Unexpected?
#1. Runaway Trailer
Sometimes damage can come from something outside of your control and your property. In late 2019, an initio customer in Te Awamutu was taken by surprise by a runaway trailer. Concrete was being laid at the building site next door and one the contractors loaded trailers became unhitched. The trailer was sent rolling down the hill and ended its journey by colliding the corner of our customers house and garage door.
This resulted in significant damage to the interior lining, exterior cladding and the garage door. Lucky for the insured their vehicles were not parked in the garage at the time, however a shelving unit and set of golf clubs were also destroyed. Saturday golf was put on hold unfortunately.
Total claim cost $19,187. In this instance, the concrete layers public liability insurer was pursued for the costs of this claim.
# 2. Colouring-in competition
When a customer rented their holiday home to short term guests they were not counting on their TV taking part in a kids colouring competition. The guest’s toddler thought they would hone their colouring in skills on the large flatscreen TV.
The artistic crayon drawings were cleaned off but the hard crayons left permanent scratches across the screen that could not be removed. A claim was made under their ‘landlord-holiday home contents’ which meant that the homeowner was able to replace their TV.
#3 . The Phantom Bather
An initio client with a multi-unit rental property was expecting it to be unoccupied for eleven days between tenancies. Two days into the property being untenanted, they received a call from their neighbour to say that there was water coming out of the property. It appeared an intruder had entered the property gone up the stairs and decided to run a bath.
Extensive water damage included saturated carpet upstairs that then seeped through the floor to downstairs. The ceiling in the kitchen and dining room downstairs collapsed, and significant water damage and clean-up was required through the property.
While we don’t know what the motives were for running the bath, we know that the landlord was happy to have an initio landlord insurance policy come to the rescue. With further costs still to come in the claim cost of repairs so far exceeds $32,000.
#4 . Rampant Puppies
After a tenancy had ended at an initio rental property early in 2019, an initio client lodged a claim for damage to the underfloor insulation. When repairers investigated the cause of loss, it appeared that the previous tenants family of puppies had found their way under the house, and shredded the flooring insulation from below.
Unlike many domestic insurance policies in New Zealand, the initio landlord insurance policy does not exclude damage caused by pets. After the landlord’s excess, Initio paid out $2,225.16 to repair and reinstate the insulation.
#5. Clumsy Chopping Board
While renting a holiday home, the guests popped down the road only to return to water running out the front door. They certainly didn’t expect to find water everywhere, a swelling to the kitchen, kitchen bench, cupboards, walls and floor.
It turns out that while they were out of the house a bread chopping board fell from its stand and landed on the sink tap. Not only did this turn the tap on, the awkward way it landed meant it also redirected the water away from the sink, running down the bread board and into the kitchen cabinets.
The aftermath damage resulted in water damage to the kitchen structures, damage to electrical components, and loss of rent payments as the sodden kitchen meant the property could no longer be rented. Total repairs amounted to $21,151.38 and are covered as sudden accidental water damage under the customers initio holiday home policy.
2019’s Honourable Vehicle v House Mentions
From AirBnB guests throwing a party to lightning strikes – we have had some interesting ‘honourable mentions’ lodged throughout the year.
Six claims were lodged with initio in 2019 for vehicle damage to properties – where a member of the public lost control of their vehicle and damaged our customers houses.
Three were involved in a police chase, whilst a further two were caused at the hands of drunk drivers.
Drivers who are responsible for damage caused are liable to cover the costs of repair. However in reality it’s difficult to get those responsible to accept liability (especially where it involves a police chase or drunk driving). Regardless of the driver accepting responsibility or being insured themselves (not that they would have insurance if drunk or in a police chase) initio provides cover for the damage caused to the property. We then pursue the driver.
The average claim for vehicle house damage in 2019 was $4,761.
‘Expect the Unexpected’ – You never know what could happen to your property. This is why it’s best to make sure you are covered for such unexpected and unusual events.
For more information on insuring different types see our insurance covers designed specifically for:
Home Insurance – for your own home, and contents.
Holiday Home Insurance – for the bach and for holiday homes that are also rented out (eg Bookabach, AirBnB)
Landlord Insurance – all in one house and landlord insurance, including loss of rents, malicious damage & more.