Why fix it if it ain’t broke?

Delaying maintenance repairs around your premises because it is an inconvenient expense can result in considerably high and unprepared for expenditure when faced with an uninsured loss.

Insurance policies provide protection against sudden and unforeseen events. Insurance policies are not maintenance contracts.

Lack of maintenance / wear and tear / deterioration are absolute exclusions on all insurance policies. These events occur over a period of time and are avoidable. One cannot insure against neglect or failure to maintain one’s property.

Supposing the roof of your premises has not been maintained for some time. A claim for roof leaks as well as water damage to the interior walls / flooring / contents (expensive, specialised machinery) has arisen. Insurers will no doubt reject the claim as the assessor’s findings will reveal that the direct cause of the entire damage is due to lack of maintenance. This can result in significant expense that the policyholder will have to bear, thus impacting on your financial resources at an awkward time.

In addition, Insurers may either endorse the policy to state that no claims of this nature will be entertained until the maintenance work has been completed to their satisfaction or, they may come off cover if they find the premises to be an undesirable risk.

Below is a brief list of checks we recommend to assist in minimising any potential (uninsured) losses:

  • Carry out regular inspections on all roofing specifically the waterproofing and flashings well before the rainy season.
  • Clear all guttering to avoid any overflowing.
  • Ensure boundary walls have sufficient water outlets to avoid the collapse of the walls during major rains or flooding.
  • Address rising damp issues as soon as possible through a professional company whose work carry a guarantee.
  • Commercial / manufacturing premises – Service fire-fighting equipment annually. Building upgrades could involve the use of more machinery and more electricity. Be sure to obtain a certificate of compliance upfront.
  • Keep a record of all repair invoices, be it informal labour or professional work. This can be used as ammunition should Insurers reject a claim on the grounds of lack of maintenance.

For those who intend selling their property at some stage, advertising the building as a well – maintained property can be advantageous.

For more detail on what to look out for, please make contact with the Short Term Insurance Team at FPM.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted. (E&OE)