Insurance & Waterproofing

The weather is always a “hot” topic in Melbourne.  This winter the weather was unpredictable and extreme to say the least. Raining most days, high winds, flash floods in both rural and city areas, thunder, lightning, the odd hail storm followed up by some of the coldest temperatures recorded in Victoria and Melbourne.  I must say it was one of the wildest 3-4 months we have had weather wise.  I looked forward to spring and heading into summer, but we have experienced extremes once again. It has already been a very windy and wet one so far with the occasional 3-5 day heat wave just to keep us on our toes.  With these conditions it’s no wonder our business is busy dealing with lots of damage to property. That is what has inspired this blog update.

The combination of strong winds and heavy rain can cause extensive damage to property!

The good: Many home owner insurance policies will cover damage to the building caused suddenly, unforeseeably and directly by wind, hail, storm, snow, lightning and sudden water damage from a flood.

The bad: Damage caused over a period of time may not “ordinarily” be covered. Therefore, damage as a result of water penetration by failing waterproofing; water damage occurring “whenever it rains” due to leaking balconies from the apartment above; rain damage when a windowsill is not waterproofed properly; and resultant damp may not be covered by insurance.

The good: Most insurance companies will however pay for any miscellaneous issues “plastering and painting” once you have proven to them you have fixed the initial water ingress issue.

For example: if you have a leaking balcony and the water is causing damage to the room below (let’s say plaster board wall/ceiling), once you have the balcony fixed you should receive a Certificate of Compliance & Warranty. When you pass the certificate on to your insurance company assessor they will often either replace the effected walls and ceiling or repaint them.  But remember, sometimes repairing that damage may be less than the excess on your insurance policy, it could be cheaper to hire and co-ordinate these trades yourself. For example to repaint and plaster small amounts of wall and ceiling damage may only cost $350.00 but you excess maybe $500.00 – not really worth the hassle with the insurance company and you save yourself $150.00 – food for thought.

A body corporate has a duty to maintain the common property. Keeping it in a state of good and serviceable repair. If rising damp is caused by a failure or defect in the common property, then the body corporate may be responsible for the cost related to repairing that consequential damage. It is therefore important that the body corporate be mindful that certain areas of the building will need to be checked regularly for wear and tear that could result in water damage after heavy rains.

I have listed the below areas for maintenance checks,  a quick look at these areas every 3-6 months could save you thousands of dollars in repairs:

  • Rooftop;
  • Exposed Common area walkways;
  • Planter Boxes;
  • Box Gutters;
  • Windows and Windowsills;
  • Exposed doors;
  • Balconies;
  • Down pipes.

Please remember: drains and gutters should be cleared of any leaves or other debris that could cause blockages and result in water damage.