It is no secret unforeseen damages to your home can leave you with an unsettling feeling. This sinking feeling can quickly escalate if you are to learn these damages are not covered by your household insurance due to blocked gutters.
It may not be at the forefront of your mind but it is a pertinent issue that needs to be discussed. Did you know you may be left out of pocket if it is assessed that damages to your home are due to ill-maintained gutters?
So, what does Home and Contents Insurance cover? We have sifted through three Australian insurance company’s Product Disclosure Statements. Let’s have a look at what their policies are regarding gutter blockage below.
Suncorp’s advice to their customers is to make sure everything is well maintained in order to be fully claimable.
“Your home is not covered from damages caused by blocked gutters when:
An escape of liquid happens as a result of a gradual process of leaking, splashing, dripping or overflowing over a period of time when you haven’t taken appropriate measures to fix the issue, or
any wear and tear happens to your gutters that causes damages your home. Most gutters have a limited lifespan. Therefore, they might need repairing or replacing. Doing this can help to prevent problems and give you a strong basis if you had to make a claim for damages to your home.”
However, if it is assessed the damage is caused for instance by a heavy storm and strong winds then it may be claimable, provided gutters are in good condition prior to the event.
Similarly, RACQ’s Product Disclosure Statement does not cover damages or losses caused by preventable wear and tear, as seen in the ‘General Exclusions’ section. They clearly state the homeowner is not covered if “you don’t maintain your home and contents in good condition.” (RACQ, 2013)
Another reason to book in a gutter clean is that RACQ may not cover any damages or losses caused by pests or parasites, “including rats, mice, cockroaches, termites, fleas, lice and bed bugs.”
Pests will take any opportunity, with damp, debris-ridden gutters being a very enticing access point to your home.
RACQ may also not cover damages caused by birds unless they cause damage to glass, in which case the break must extend through the entire thickness of the item.
To learn more about Gutter-Vac’s bird proofing solutions please get in touch.
Likewise, Allianz state “depreciation, gradual deterioration, wear and tear or lack of maintenance” is always excluded from coverage. (Allianz, 2020).
It is very important to have a solid background of your policy, as well as the inclusions and exclusions. It can be seen that if you do not uphold regular upkeep on your home, it can have a significant effect on your claim if problems are to arise. It is not worth the risk. If your insurance provider assesses that maintenance work has not been carried out, they may reject your claim.
Professional gutter cleaning services will ensure the job is done efficiently, and will provide you with a receipt of the service.
For the DIYer, exercise caution if you try to clean gutters yourself. Ensure you use the right gear or recruit the professionals to prevent a fall and subsequent hospital landing.
For further information, it is important to refer to your insurance provider’s current Product Disclosure Statement.