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Contents Insurance for Apartment Owner Occupiers

For apartment owner occupiers I believe there is a gap between contents insurance and strata insurance for accidental damage. Recently, the toilet cistern cracked while being services by a plumber - probably due to poor installation years ago. My contents insurer advised that it wouldn’t be covered and I should ask my strata insurance. In several discussions with my contents insurer and my strata manager I learned:

  • Most Strata Insurers only cover the common areas - not any fixtures within an apartment ( such as toilets, basins, cabinetry, taps,)
  • Most Contents insurers exclude these fixtures within the apartment for owner occupiers ( they may insure some fixtures for renters)
  • Most insurers don’t offer a modified Home and Contents insurance for apartment owner occupiers that would cover these fixtures but not common property (i.e. Common Walls, external windows, Front Door etc)
    It seems difficult or impossible for apartment owner occupiers to get contents insurance for all the fixtures and loose property within their home. Does anyone have any advice?
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Hi @ulverstone, welcome to the community.

How about the plumber’s insurance?

Who said that it cracked probably due to a poor installation years ago? The plumber that cracked it. If it was, one could expect that the plumber didn’t want to take responsibility or cough up the costs to repair the damage caused during the toilet service.

If the crack was pre-existing, then it could be due to poor initial installation or poor quality ceramic bowl.

If it was not cracked but became cracked because of the plumber, then it would be the plumbers actions which cased the crack. In such case, the plumber would/should be responsible for making good any damage caused. You should be able to make a claim under the Australian Consumer Law as…

Services must:

  • be provided with acceptable care and skill or technical knowledge and taking all necessary steps to avoid loss and damage

See…

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I lived in apartments for many years and was on the Executive Committee as well. The rule for what was body corporate was anything inside the skin of the apartment, that is from the brickwork (or equivalent) inward belonged to the apartment. Therefore, toilet cisterns hanging inside the bathroom or toilet belonged to the unit and was the responsibility of the owner.

What you were told is correct, that the body corporate insurance covers from all the apartments’ paint out. That is all the structural elements. It also covers common areas (which covers balconies if you have them), apartment doors and windows,and roofs etc.

I have never had any form of exclusion specific to an apartment on my contents policy. In your position I would be having a look at my insurance policy very closely and confirm that the cistern is excluded. If you can’t find an exclusion I would be putting in a formal claim.

Something else to consider is what is your excess on your policy? You need to consider this as a replacment cistern may be less than the excess in which case it’s just not worth persuing.

If you proceed making a claim after not finding any exclusion, and your insurer rejects your claim, ask for the chapter and verse as to why your claim is being rejected.

If you are unhappy with their reasons and still wish to persue the matter go to the Aust. Financial Complaints Authority and make a complaint against the insurer.

Hope that helps. Let us know how you get on.

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