Residential walls and how (and if) they are covered by your short-term insurance

Residential walls and how (and if) they are covered by your short-term insurance

– Debbie Smart (Director, Cornerstone Insurance Brokers)

Knowing what your short-term insurance policy covers and doesn’t cover is vital to your financial wellness. When it comes to your property walls however, you need to be even more savvy to ensure that your property walls abide by all the necessary rules and regulations so that your claims are paid without hassle.

Cornerstone Insurance Brokers believes in empowering our clients to financially strong, which is why we have compiled a concise and easy-to-use guide on how your property walls are insured and how to avoid claim rejections.

How are my property walls covered by my insurance policy?

  • Sectional title vs full title

First thing’s first. When it comes to walls, internal or external, there is a big difference in how they are covered depending on whether you own a sectional title or a full title property. With a sectional title property, all structural elements of your home including internals walls and external walls will be covered by the body corporate’s building insurance. You therefore won’t need additional insurance for this.

However, with a full title or free-standing house, everything from walls to roofs and windows will have to be covered by your own short-term insurance policy. Many times, building and structural insurance is included in your bond insurance, but if not, make sure you take out a well-structured short-term insurance policy to cover all structural parts of your building.  

  • Your short-term insurance policy wording

Every insurer’s policy wording is different and it’s imperative that you are aware and understand your policy wording completely. The wording in your policy states clearly how your assets are covered, the limitations to the cover, reasons that a claim might be rejected etc.  If one of your claims are ever in dispute, the policy wording will reign supreme when a final decision must be made. Make sure you know and understand your policy wording well.  

How can I avoid wall claim rejections?

There are a few things worse that having your insurance claim rejected. It wreaks havoc on your budget and can make you feel as if you are paying expensive monthly premiums for nothing. It’s important to note that claim rejections are rarely unjustified and are often accompanied by expert inspections and reference to the policy wording. That said, there are multiple ways in which you can limit and avoid wall claim rejections:

  • Make sure your walls adhere to current building regulations. If you are unsure whether your walls are up to code, you’ll be able to glean a lot of information from your house plans, available at city council. Alternatively, you can get an engineer to come and inspect your walls and provide recommendations on how to bring them up to code or give you an engineer’s report confirming that all is in order.  If your wall is damaged, by whatever means and your walls don’t adhere to building regulations, your claim will almost definitely be rejected.  
  • Maintain your walls often by ensuring that any cracks or faults are mended and that they are painted regularly. Any sign of non-maintenance may cause your claim to be rejected.
  • If you have trees that grow next to or close to one of your walls, it’s vitally important to ensure that the roots or growth of the tree does not impact the integrity of the wall. If the integrity of the wall is compromised and you want to claim for resulting damages, you might face a claim rejection.

If you have any questions about your current short-term insurance policy or you are unsure if you are covered well enough, contact Cornerstone Insurance Brokers for expert assistance and advice.

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