How neglecting property maintenance impacts claims

Published: 06/06/2022

How neglecting property maintenance impacts claims

When an assessor's report cites a client's lack of ongoing maintenance as a contributing factor to property damage, this has a significant impact on the outcome of that claim.

The most likely result for the client will be lengthy delays and unforeseen costs, however, we are also seeing a growing number of claims being declined on this basis.

Where inadequate maintenance is raised as a contributing factor in property damage, an insurer will generally take one of the following actions:

  1. repair the damage, ignoring the maintenance issue. *unlikely*
  2. request repairs arising from the lack of maintenance are fully rectified before they will proceed with the covered repair works.*most common*
  3. decline the claim.

Which action an insurer will take depends on the circumstances of a client's claim and also the particular policy wording that claimant is covered under.

Key considerations for property owners

The best way to help avoid this situation is to be aware of how inadequate property maintenance can impact your ability to claim on property insurance. Policyholders should always maintain their property as if they were uninsured.

There are a number of key maintenance tasks and considerations for property owners which can help such as:

Fireproof your property

  • Remove all flammable materials and clear any leaves, twigs, bark, and other debris regularly from the roof and gutters. It is also recommended to cut back any trees, shrubs or overhanging branches that may be close to your property especially if you are in a fire-prone area.
  • Installing metal gutter guards and fine metal mesh screens on doors and windows can also help to protect your property.
  • Be sure to test all smoke detectors, alarms, and fire extinguishers regularly (every 6-12 months) by professionals. This is best practice whether your property is in a fire-prone area or not.

Flood and storm preparation

  • Regularly check the condition of external walls, cladding and the roof and repair any loose tiles, eaves, screws and cracked or broken guttering. Regularly cleaning out the gutters and downpipes of your property will also help to ensure that water can drain away as quickly as possible.
  • It is also important to check freestanding carports, outdoor equipment and, loose items that may move during a storm, flood or cyclone and cause damage.
  • It is also a good idea to have your power points and switches installed at least one meter above floor level to reduce the risk of electrical issues during flooding.

How Coverforce can help

Don't wait for a natural disaster to happen to realise you don't have the cover you need in place. Our team of brokers can help assess your risks and provide personalised advice on the right insurance program to protect your business and assets.

In the event of a claim, we are on hand to provide advice and minimise disruption to your business. Our highly experienced claims team will work with the insurer on your behalf to ensure you receive your full entitlement without undue delay.

For more information or to arrange cover, please contact your local Coverforce Office today.

The information provided in this article is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. If you require advice that is tailored to your specific business or individual circumstances, please contact Coverforce directly

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