Insurance Claims

Make an insurance claim pursuant to your Domestic Building Insurance Policy, Plumbing Works Insurance Policy, Contract Works Insurance Policy or Title Insurance for defective works, damage and losses

Domestic Building Insurance, Plumbing Insurance, Contract Works Insurance

You may have no idea that you are insured against defective works or an event or occurrence, whether you are the owner of the property, developer, builder or contractor. For instance, in Victoria, any domestic/residential property that you own that is less than 3 stories high, during the first 6 years after its been built, or where works were undertaken, is insured for defective or incomplete works if the builder has gone into liquidation or if you have a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Order for the Builder to pay you compensation. If you’re a builder you may be able to claim pursuant to your contract works insurance policy for works being undertaken by a contractor that voids the warranty on a product or where retaining walls have collapsed or works have been damaged for instance. If a plumber you have contracted whether you are a builder or an owner or whether its commercial of domestic works,, you can simply claim pursuant to the plumbers insurance policy whether or not the plumber wants to provide you with the details of their insurer or whether you not you have a compliance certificate for the works.

The key issues explained

In most cases you will have insurance aviable to you. Sometime whether or not a claim should be accepted by the insurer will require a review and advice by a specialist lawyer. In Victoria, almost everyone that works in the building and construction industry is required to provide insurance, be insured and cannot trade without insurance. This means that you will almost always have options available to you to recover your losses from the insurer whether or not the insurance runs with your land.
Insurance policies have an expiration date but most don’t have a limitation on when you are able to make a claim. The question of whether or not you can make a claim after the expiry of the policy (even years after its expiry) will depend on the type of policy you have available.
The interpretation of insurance policies and coverage of an event, defects, negligence etc etc and your entitlement to have your claim accepted and paid may be a simple or complicated consideration. Insurers almost always try to avoid having to honour a claim, a insurance and building and construction lawyer can provide you with this advice, not only of whether your right to claim has been triggered but your right to indemnity (compensation) based on the evidence available.

Where do you presently stand?

Whatever your current situation is, whether you have made a claim, had it denied, or whether or not you know that the option of making a claim is available to you, engaging a lawyer at the beginning most definitely will provide you with the most cost effective plan forward.
If you have insurance available to you, you most definitely have legal rights to which the insurer must honour. The question is whether you have made a claim to ensure that your rights are protected or whether you have claimed what you are entitled to? Your position may be much stronger than you think. On the other hand, your position may be extremely weak. Chances are you’ll need professional guidance to determine where you stand.
You can improve your position drastically by engaging a lawyer to provide you with advice from the outset. Time and money will be expended towards the strategic management of your claim in order to optimise your entitlement. Most people have no plan and will do as told by the insurer who is not acting in their best interests.

What are your options?

If you are covered by insurance and do nothing, your period of coverage may expire or you may have not obtained the evidence you required in order to prove your claim at a later date. The insure may have provided you with a decision but you failed to act within the statutory period to appeal their decision, the risks are endless. It is important that you take swift action to avoid this.
Taking action yourself is always an option however most insurance policies cover you for legal costs and expert fees for making the claim and even if this isn’t the case there is usually more to loose if you avoid getting advice. Legal advice almost always increases your chances of being compensated or having a rejected claim accepted. Insurers will seek to pay you less than what you would be entitled to, or even worse, reject your claim based on unreasonable grounds. Insurance policies are not always easy to interpret and in order to avoid further costs and losses down the track, it is best to plan ahead and get the advice you need from the outset.
Since we are building and construction lawyers that also deal specifically with insurance claims relating to building and construction, we can assist you with reviewing your potential claim or issue, the insurer’s decision or advise you on the strength of your claim and lack of evidence or otherwise considering all aspects of your case.

What are your likely outcomes?

The timeframe in which you can make an insurance claim will pass or to appeal the decision of the insurer expire. You’ll be left with the cost of rectifying or completing your works.
You may be signing away on rights that you didn’t know you had, not have claimed more items that you would have been entitled to, claimed pursuant to the wrong policy or accepted a figure that doesn’t compensate you for much leaving you with more out of pocket costs to pay.
You’ll be able to strategically manage your claim and obtain the evidence you need from the outset. Apart from saving time and money you would be focusing on the outcome rather than hoping for the best. You’ll start from a position of strength.

What you should do now

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