The hidden cost of not maintaining your property 8


Not sure if you’ve noticed this but harsh storm events and wild weather seem to hit us more frequently than it has up to ten years ago. Here in Newcastle, the ‘Pasha Bulker’ storm is a classic example!

What happens when those storms hit?

When we have a big storm, there is a huge downpour of rain in a short time span, our gutters and down pipes just can’t cope with the amount of water that is trying to disperse from our rooftops.

What happens when the water can’t get away properly?

It starts to back up and when it backs-up that’s when you get the water coming into your roof cavity, damaging ceilings and running down the walls.
In some events the storm water drains outside your home also back up and this is when your house could flood – because the water has no-where to go, but into your home ruining floors and furniture.

Now that I’ve stated the bloody obvious, I bet you thought that you were insured for all those things!

You are not insured …. I kid you not!
Insurance companies are now starting to scrutinize, in particular heritage and older homes what the maintenance has been on these properties.
What they have discovered is that the home owners haven’t been looking after them as they should, such as replacing storm beads that are missing / deteriorated, if your glazing putty is old or cracked or a rotten window sill or even simple things like keeping gutters cleared.
Each of these items can allow water to come inside your property, and by doing so the water can ruin your skirting boards, architraves and floorboards.
Do you have trees too close to your home? These can damage your roof and even interfere with the foundations of your home.
Love your gardens? If you have a garden growing too close to your home it can cause water to pool and get under your home, again affecting foundations and causing rising damp.
If you’re not addressing yearly maintenance to the roof, gutters and downpipes on your home, you’re leaving yourself open for the insurance companies to say ‘thank you for your premiums but in this case we can’t offer you any coverage because it’s a maintenance issue not storm damage’.
So, even though your home has technically been damaged in the storm, if you had kept up all the appropriate maintenance the damage would be far less.

Where do you go from here?

These cases are averaging $70k worth of repairs, the home owner can’t borrow the money because all of a sudden the house is rezoned as a flood zone and insurance won’t pay out to get it fixed, which leaves you with the bill.
Why? Because you weren’t doing regular maintenance to your home.
roving regular maintenance can work in your favour, an example is when an insurance company did not want to provide a payout for our client, who suffered extensive slate roof damage during a severe East Coast Low and I could prove to the insurance company that it was not because of lack of maintenance or how the work was carried out, it really was totally storm damage, the storm was that severe. Because we had proof that the client had her roofed serviced regularly after many months in dispute we managed to get the full amount required to restore her roof.

So, what do you need to think of?

You either maintain your property and pay insurance premiums or you don’t maintain your property regularly.
In that case we would strongly suggest that you put your money into a sinking fund to cover the insurance money that you won’t receive, and hope to god that you have enough, when the time comes.
A lot of people get put off by the cost of maintenance, however by doing it regularly and keeping things to a minimum it’s much cheaper than letting things go and then having to do major repairs after a number of years.
Think of your teeth, regular brushing and flossing is the maintenance and you see the dentist once a year for a check-up – by looking after your teeth in between visits, your reducing the risk of anything major coming along. Sure, sometimes things crop up but usually it won’t be a major thing.
If you’re not sure what may need doing to protect yourself in the instance of a storm, and you have a heritage home – please contact me and I’ll be happy to provide you a quote. Just Click HERE

Christopher Bart

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