According to the Ombudsman for Short Term Insurance (OSTI), complaints about rejected claims increased by 17% in 2020 and this continues to be the main basis for consumer dissatisfaction in homeowners’ insurance coverage.
The percentage of claims that get rejected (according to Q1 2021 statistics) is due to lack of maintenance, wear, and tear as well as gradual deterioration accumulating to (50%) and faulty construction design accumulating to (17%).
It is important to remember that homeowner’s insurance is meant to protect you against the sudden impact of unforeseen, and accidental events, not wear and tear which means the gradual deterioration caused by aging, normal use, or the environment, for example hail, moths, insects, rust, or mildew.
Angela Vernes, Head of Operations for Nedbank Insurance says that there are two main reasons why home insurance claims get rejected.
“The first is the lack of maintenance because of wear and tear or gradual deterioration. If a homeowner does not maintain their property, it is likely any claims will not be covered. For example, if your roof requires waterproofing but there is damage caused by a storm because of the roof leak, your claim will be rejected. Another reason is faulty construction design – any improper, faulty or defective construction work”.
The good news is that maintaining your home does not have to be hard. By doing regular standard maintenance checks homeowners can manage the risks.
“To help prevent loss or damage caused by wear and tear, it is important to regularly maintain your home and to make sure that everything is in good working condition” says Angela. “This will help reduce the likelihood of your claim being rejected. For example, you can prevent water damage caused by a blocked or leaking gutter if you clear your gutters of leaves and plants that may have started growing in or around the gutter. So, if you claim for damage because of your leaking gutter, your claim may be rejected because of poor home maintenance”.
“Regular roof inspection is also key to ensure there are no cracked roof tiles and other damages. The good news is that maintaining your home does not have to be hard. By doing regular standard maintenance checks you can manage the risks. While your Insurance will likely pay for damage caused by unforeseen events that could not have been prevented, it’s important to remember that you will be responsible for fixing defects caused by wear and tear. The time and money you put into regular (and often minor) maintenance jobs along the way can save you significant expenses in the long run”.