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Vero Voice

GRADUAL DAMAGE AND INSUR­ANCE - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Jimmy Higgins

By Jimmy Higgins
Executive General Manager, Claims

19 August, 2016

Our home insurance covers you from sudden, unexpected losses that you can’t prevent. But our customers are sometimes frustrated at claims time when they discover that they’re not covered for gradual damage.

Nobody likes to learn that their cover for certain things is limited, and gradual damage is an area where many customers ask – why aren’t I covered?

So how does it all work?

Gradual damage - what is it, and why isn't it covered?

The first thing you need to remember is that insurance isn’t a maintenance contract. It’s there to help you recover from sudden, unexpected losses that you couldn’t prevent.

Gradual damage is deterioration that occurs over time, and insurers usually exclude gradual damage from their policies.

Why? Insurers have to balance the need to provide cover for our customers, with keeping premiums affordable for as many people as possible. If insurers covered faulty installation or maintenance, insurance could become less affordable.

There’s one exception – hidden water damage

Say a pipe under your upstairs shower has been leaking for months, but you couldn’t see it. Then one day, you notice water stains and bulging in the ceiling below, and you realise you’ve got a problem.

We know even our most house-proud customers can’t see through walls, so if you discover a hidden leak, we can help you cover the costs of the damage it caused.

How can we help?

Under Vero home insurance policies, you can claim up to $3,000 to help you clean up the damage caused by hidden leaks. You may be able to put some of that money towards finding the source of the leak or overflow – but you’ll need to talk to us about that first.

Repairing the problem

You can claim to clean up the damage – but if you’ve got a hidden leak, in most cases you will need to pay for the repairs to your pipes or water fixtures to stop the cause of the problem. Unless the leak itself was caused by a sudden, accidental event, repairs aren’t usually covered by your insurance policy, because it’s considered ordinary maintenance for your home. 

Letting us know

If you discover a hidden leak – which you’ll often only discover if you get a lot of mould or bulging walls or floors – you need to let us know right away. If you let the leak continue to cause more damage for an extended period after you discover it, you may find you’re not covered.

Top tips for preventing damage

It’s important that you keep your home in good repair and do what you can to prevent damage. 

  • If you are getting any plumbing or installation done around your home, make sure it’s done by a reputable tradie. If your plumbing or the installation of pipes or water fixtures is faulty, this may cause problems at claims time.
  • If you think your home’s hidden pipe and cylinder systems might be leaking, the best thing you can do is check it out as early as possible, before it causes too much damage.
  • If you need practical advice, you can call Vero’s toll free HELP line 0800 800 786. 

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