Real Life

Insurance repairs and your property

Who owns the paint left on your property after an insurance repair?
Insurance repairs and your property - tins of paint

I live in Christchurch and put in an insurance claim for earthquake damage to my small front fence. This was accepted, repairs were done, and eventually a painter turned up to repaint the fence. I noticed when he finished he still had a couple of cans of unused paint left which he took away with him. Are those his cans of paint, my insurance company’s, or mine?

Sheryl, Christchurch

A tricky question, but a great one. I’ll tell you what – I very much doubt that those cans of paint belong to the painter. I bet the painter will claim his money back for all the paint he bought for the job – including the excess. I reckon that, technically, the paint belongs to the insurance company who will be paying for it. Maybe even the EQC owns a bit of it. But I bet the painter won’t be sending it back to either of those places. It will be in his workshop or maybe on Trade Me. The pity of this is that you would have more use for it than anyone else. Who knows when you’ll need to do a touch-up job on that fence? I would give your insurance company a ring and tell them the story. If they consider the paint belongs to them, it’s unlikely they’ll want it back. But they may say you can have it. In which case, you or they could call the painter and demand the paint be brought back. Who knows, the painter might have thought he was doing you a favour by getting rid of it (I feel naive even writing that last line!).

Do you have a consumer question for Kevin? Email [email protected], or post to Weekly Consumer, PO Box 90119, Victoria St West, Auckland 1142.

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