These questions about payment of the insurance excess in WA have been answered by Leonie Milonas, PSC Property Lync Insurance Brokers.
Jump directly to the QUESTION you are after:
- QUESTION: Our unit’s back fence borders onto common property and was blown down in a recent WA storm. Strata is demanding we pay 50% of the costs to replace the fence. Isn’t this covered by strata insurance?
- QUESTION: If a unit owner in WA makes a claim against the Strata Company’s insurance for a fusion claim, is the Strata company entitled to insist the unit owner pays the insurance excess?
- QUESTION: A neighboured damaged the strata boundary fence. Insurance will cover the cost of repair, but who pays the excess?
- QUESTION: After Cyclone Veronica, units in our complex now have mould. Is mould covered by insurance or would this be a lot owner problem?
Question: Our unit’s back fence borders onto common property and was blown down in a recent WA storm. Strata is demanding we pay 50% of the costs to replace the fence. Isn’t this covered by strata insurance?
We live in a strata titled unit and had a fence blow down in a recent WA storm. This fence is between the unit and strata common property. The common property area is a park used by all everyone the complex, however, Strata management is demanding that we pay 50% of the cost of the repair and our own insurance should cover this.
We are under the understanding that fences are listed under buildings in domestic Strata title policies and should be fully covered for this damage.
What are the legalities of this as we are also of the understanding that if the Strata Committee has a policy in place, we are unable to take out our own insurance in this complex as it will be insured twice!
Answer: Your strata internal boundary fence damage, such as storm damage, is normally covered under a typical residential strata insurance policy.
I assume your Lot is within a strata scheme.
Your strata internal boundary fence damage, such as storm damage, is normally covered under a typical residential strata insurance policy.
Fences that are internally dividing within the strata scheme, between Lot Owner to Lot Owner or Lot Owner and Common Property are generally covered by strata insurance 100% less any applicable excess.
If the Lot Owner shares a boundary fence with a neighbouring property outside of the strata scheme then it will usually become a claim for 50% of the portion of damage / cost. This portion of the claim may still be made through the strata company’s strata insurance policy, less any applicable excess.
There are some exceptions to the above. For your fence not to be considered a claim can relate to a lack of maintenance as a primary cause for the fence to fall over e.g. heavy vegetation leaning on the fence, subsidence & erosion of the soil holding the fence in place and previous cracking etc. Other exceptions can be your strata policy wording has exclusions, such as age limits placed on the age of the fence that you can claim for or imposed excesses.
A strata may have bylaws in place that state owners need to pay the excess, so you may need to take this into consideration also.
If your property was a survey strata scheme and you individually insuring your Lot then you would be responsible to pay your 50% portion, but I assume you are referring to a strata scheme with combined insurance arranged as Residential Strata Insurance.
It would be best to refer your query to the Insurance Broker or Insurer whom the insurance arrangement is made through.
This post appears in Strata News #365.
General Disclosure; The above response is for informational purposes only, and is not insurance, financial or legal advice and should not be relied on as insurance, financial or legal advice. You should consult with a qualified insurance or legal advisor. PSC Property Lync Insurance Brokers is an Authorised Representative (AR 1235681) of Professional Services Corporation Pty Ltd (AFSL 305491).
Question: If a unit owner in WA makes a claim against the Strata Company’s insurance for a fusion claim, is the Strata company entitled to insist the unit owner pays the insurance excess?
Answer: In general, it is the Strata Company as they have purchased the insurance policy.
It is my understanding the Strata Titles Act does not stipulate who pays an excess and in general, it is the Strata Company as they have purchased the insurance policy, which at the time of negotiation outlines the level of premiums and excess.
This is a strata matter and the Strata Company may have a cost recovery By-law in place or similar passed at a General Meeting which may allow the Strata Company to pass on the excess payment to the lot proprietor.
This post appears in Strata News #325.
Question: A neighboured damaged the strata boundary fence. Insurance will cover the cost of repair, but who pays the excess?
A neighbour who is not part of the strata, drove a quad bike through the strata fence which forms the back boundary of my lot and damaged it quite badly.
The neighbour has offered to fix the fence himself, but by merely re-using the damaged panels. This means that the fence would not be restored to the original state.
The strata insurance will cover the cost of a professional repair. Am I responsible for the insurance excess as the damaged portion of the fence is in effect my back fence.
Answer: You are entitled to have the decision reviewed by the insurer’s Internal Disputes Resolution Team.
There are a couple of important points with boundary fence damage:
- Strata insurance will generally cover damage to the damaged fence panels only, not the whole fence or any other portion of the fence that is not damaged. You do need to refer to your insurer PDS policy wording, for specific coverage.
- If the fence is a boundary fence, generally you are only covered for 50% of the cost to repair it, as the neighbour on the other side is responsible for the other 50%. If it’s an internal strata boundary fence between owners of the strata, it would be 100% of the cost.
- Excess payments are in line with the arrangement of the strata insurance. Generally, the strata company would pay the excess of a boundary fence, but you should refer back to the strata manager or the council of owners, who arranged the policy and to ascertain what has been agreed as this may vary.
This post appears in Strata News #280.
Question: After Cyclone Veronica, units in our complex now have mould. Is mould covered by insurance or would this be a lot owner problem?
We have an investment property in Port Hedland. The unit is in a Strata complex of 23 units.
After the recent cyclone Veronica, 4 of the units have suffered Mould issues on the walls from top to bottom. Is mould covered by insurance or would this be lot owner responsibility? How do we find out the cause of the mould problem to let the insurance company know?
Even though our unit is not directly affected, our property manager has suggested we keep our air conditioner running at our cost to prevent mould from forming in our unit.
Answer: Depending on the strata insurance company involved, mould may not even be covered.
Depending on the strata insurer PDS mould may be covered or not. I would suggest the Lot Owners ask their current insurer.
Mould is a difficult issue and you should refer to a builder and your insurer to assess e.g. poor ventilation; the property sustained rainwater damage from a cyclone.
This post appears in Strata News #247.
Have a question about insurance excess in WA or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below.
The responses to the above question are prepared for informational purposes only, and is not legal advice and should not be relied on as legal or insurance advice. You should consult with a qualified insurance or legal advisor.
Please note this advice was provided prior to the proclamation of the new strata title amendments and will be updated in due course.
- WA: Q&A Access Problems with Neighbour via Shared Gate
- WA: Q&A Plumbing Problems in My Unit. Who pays for Investigating the Cause?
Looking for strata information concerning your state? For state-specific strata information, take a look here.