Friday, January 21, 2011

When is a flood is not a flood

How many of us actually ask for the definition of "fire", or "burglary" when we buy our home insurance policy? In the Queensland flood, the home insurance companies (except for Suncorp) are refusing to pay for the flood damages, claiming that the policies cover storms or flash flood, but not rising waters from rivers. Many homeowners have maintained their home insurance coverage for decades, only to find out that they are not protected in the worst flood in decades.

I cannot fathom the stupidity of it all. How many ways can you define "flood"? When is a flood not a flood? If you were to ask 100 people, I can safely say that 100 of them will immediately say that Queensland was indeed FLOODED. Yet it looks like the insurance companies have found a way to fool everyone by misleading - unintentionally, of course - all the policy holders through keeping a covert definition understood only by themselves.

With this in mind, I am wondering what I am I covered for in my home insurance policy. Is there some small print to say what "fire" means? Is break-in a burglary if I left my door open accidentally while I am away? If my kitchen accidentally caught fire when I am cooking, will I be accused of setting off the fire, since I "deliberately" lit the stove? Seriously, do you actually read every single word in your insurance policy, or are you waiting for an unpleasant revelation one of these days?

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