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Shippy's avatar

Who is liable for the excess on this insurance claim?

Asked by Shippy (9857 points ) August 9th, 2012

I live in an apartment block; the apartment above me is rented out to a tenant by the owner.

A month or so ago, the tenant up stairs left a tap on for some 6 hours which caused severe flooding into my own home causing much damage.

I lodged a claim to the insurance company and now there is an excess, who pays the excess? I would imagine it is the owner of the flat whose tenant left the tap on? I ask because when I queried with the insurance assessor he said the excess is up to the “politics in the building” how odd?

Also they came to repair the air conditioner which was also faulted and it is half repaired as the display is not working properly so I cannot set it to a temperature for example. Do I tell the assessor this?

One more question why did the assessor choose a more expensive quote of his own, and not use my quote which was cheaper for the carpet for example?

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7 Answers

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flutherother's avatar

Your neighbour’s policy should cover this assuming they have insurance cover. They would then pay any excess. You might have to show negligence but leaving a tap on definitely falls into that category. I would keep records that you can show to your insurer and take photographs of the damage. I would certainly tell the assessor of all damage that was caused including the air conditioner.

I would guess the insurance assessor has lists of approved companies for this sort of work, companies they know and can rely on with an acceptable price. Good luck with the claim, I hope it gets sorted out soon.

marinelife's avatar

I would first go after the apartment building. If they refuse to pay, then I would go after the tenant who left the faucet on (probably in small claims court if they refuse to pay).

wundayatta's avatar

The person who owns the apartment that caused the damage is responsible for the entire cost of making you whole—or at least, that would be the case in the US. Not sure what law would say in South Africa. In the US, the condominium association would require all tenants to have sufficient insurance. That would be part of the fee you pay to the association.

Again, it seems like things are different in South Africa. Your covenant may allow members to be underinsured. If that is the case, then you have to ask them to pay what insurance doesn’t cover. If they refuse to pay, presumably you can sue them, but I’m not sure what your laws say about that.

But that’s who should be responsible. Holding them responsible may not be so easy, depending on the law. And given your other problems with the association, they other tenants may feel they are justified in not making you whole until you make them whole for what you owe. It gets complicated, then. The two issues are not related, yet people relate them anyway.

You probably need the advice of a lawyer. You probably can’t afford a lawyer. Maybe there are legal services agencies that can help you for free. But in your country, I doubt if they would think someone who owns property would be eligible for free legal help.

In pursuing justice, you have to make sure you don’t spend more on getting justice than justice will pay you back. In a situation like this, where the damages are relatively small, you may just have to accept you will not be made whole. You have to always ask yourself whether it is worth spending your valuable time on this matter. Often times, a sense of righteousness makes us spend far more time on something than it turns out to be worth. Later, you look back, and wonder why you wasted your time. It’s only money. You have other priorities, perhaps.

Shippy's avatar

@wundayatta I did manage to talk to a lawyer friend of mine, so that is sorted. I could never leave it as such, there is no electricity in one side of the apartment and severe mold throughout due to dampness. The flood was severe.

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wundayatta's avatar

Sounds very bad. Definitely something to pursue in court if your neighbor doesn’t do the right thing.

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