When it comes to ceiling damage and insurance claims, many owners who think they may have coverage, find their claims are declined and this blog looks at why.
Firstly, an insurer will consider how has the ceiling been damaged? Is it because there has been an event, such as a storm, burst pipe, tree falling onto the roof, etc? If an assessor can see clear evidence that an unforeseen event has led to the ceiling damage - then it's likely that the insurer will accept and pay any claim.
If there is a question as to what caused the ceiling damage, the insurer may send an assessor. They will visually inspect the roof, look for signs of water ingress stains, take moisture readings and investigate how the ceiling sheets have been secured to the joists.
If not an insurable event, then what is the cause?
We see many cases in Perth where the cause of ceiling damage is down to the failure of the fixings over time. It was once commonplace that ceilings were fixed with screws at the edges of the board and then secured with a daub adhesive across the width of the sheet. Over time the daub adhesive can fail which leads to the ceiling sagging, cracking or even sheet sections falling.
What to do?
If the ceiling is displaying cracking or sagging - it will need to be repaired. If left, it could fall and could cause injury, so please don't ignore these warning signs. It is easier and cheaper (and safer!) to repair a ceiling that is still attached to the joists!
Who pays the repair costs?
This will depend on the boundaries of your lot. If you own to the external surface, then it will probably be lot owner cost. If the boundaries are internal surfaces, then it will likely be a strata cost. We can help determine this so please contact us.
The important part to note here is that if the ceiling is damaged due to failure of fixings (age, wear and tear, gradual deterioration) this is not a claimable event. It will be considered to have been caused as a result of lack of maintenance. Where a claim is made and an assessor is appointed, who identifies that the cause is maintenance-related, it may lead to a premium increase, upon renewal. The insurer incurs a cost in appointing an assessor and it may highlight that there may be a general lack of maintenance at the scheme, which can be a red flag to an insurer.
For further reading about sagging ceilings, refer to this article from Houspect https://www.houspect.com.au/sa/sagging-ceiling/