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Expert QA

Kevin Milne - Insurance problems

Insurance problem? Pipe up!

By Kevin Milne
Recently, the contents of our hot-water cylinder emptied out over our laundry. Luckily, the floor and wall-lining damage was covered by insurance. However, the plumber's bill to replace the cylinder and some pipes was not covered. The insurer told us resultant damage is covered, but not the cause of the problem. This doesn't make sense to us.
It is not uncommon in a house flood for an insurance provider to pay for the water damage, but refuse to pay for the repair of what caused the damage. It's hard to get your head around, I know. It's linked to the general principle that insurance covers accidental damage, but doesn't cover normal wear and tear. Obviously, if a pipe or cylinder bursts because it's old or corroded, or even if it simply malfunctions, that would be considered normal wear and tear. So, fixing that would be at your cost. But at least the resultant flood damage would be paid for by insurance. Of course, if you can prove that your hot-water cylinder was faulty, then you have the right to demand they pay your plumber's bill. If the water cylinder was installed incorrectly, causing the flood, then the installer should pay your plumber's bill. There's a fair chance the installer and the plumber who fixed the problem are one and the same person. If this is the case, he/she shouldn't be charging you for fixing it.

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