Rogue plumber report highlights importance of checking your policy

The first cold snap of the year is typically a time when consumers are flooded with mixed messages from the media on what their insurance covers them for.  A recent Campbell Live story (19/06/2013) warned consumers about how the increased cost of becoming registered with the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board was being passed on from plumbers to consumers.  In the report, consumers were warned against using ‘cowboy’ trades people to carry out repairs, stating that any damage from poor workmanship may not be covered by their home insurance.

While this isn’t the case for customers covered by State home insurance, the broader point about using registered trades people is an important one for consumers to understand.  By using trades people who are registered or licenced through their respective professional organisation, consumers can have a higher level of confidence in the standard of work being performed as well as an avenue through which to pursue costs in the event of sub-standard work.  The report also demonstrates the importance of consumers checking and understanding their insurance policies.

Check the plumber carrying out your repairs is licenced.

Always check that the plumber carrying out your repairs is registered with the Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board.

Clarifying the scenario outlined in Campbell Live for its customers, State’s National Underwriting Manager Jacqui McIntosh said: “[In the report] … they talked about not using ‘cowboys’ as if you do, any damage to the property may not be covered by your insurance if the workmanship is faulty.  State’s home and contents policies have an exclusion related to faulty design or defects.  This means that the fault or defect is not covered, but any resulting damage is.”

An example would be as follows:

Steve uses an unregistered plumber to install new water pipes, which unbeknown to him, are installed incorrectly.  The pipe bursts and causes water damage to the cupboards and flooring. In this situation, the replacement of the pipe would not be covered under Steve’s State home insurance policy, but the resultant damage to the cupboards and flooring would.

An insurance policy should be treated like any other contract; i.e. something you would not agree to without reading and understanding it.  We urge everyone to read the individual terms of their insurance policies and while we are only able to provide information about policies underwritten by IAG, by addressing everyday areas of confusion, we hope to at least draw your attention to particular areas of your policy that are commonly misunderstood.

Just as people are vulnerable to the elements, so are our assets such as our homes and vehicles which is why over the coming weeks we’ll be looking to blog about topics that we hope will help you protect them during the winter months.  If you have a question you’d like to ask us, feel free to use the comment box below and we’ll do our best to get back to you as soon as possible.

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