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From the desk of Ruth Dyson – An Insurance Issue…

Labour’s Spokesperson on Senior Citizens

For the last four years, Cantabrians have been a little overly focussed on earthquake related matters, including insurance issues.  How well we know our insurance policies now, I thought.  Until recently.   Now I have learnt yet another lesson about insurance and thought I would share it with you, because it is very worrying.

The matter came to my attention when a constituent contacted me.  She lives on her own, and has support from three caregivers.  Two come together to her home in the morning a couple of times a week and one comes on her own in the afternoon, again a couple of times a week. 

About a month ago, she noticed that her pearl necklace was missing from her bedroom.  She suspects that her afternoon caregiver has taken it.  She reported it to both the police and to the organisation that employs the caregiver.  Lack of information and evidence has meant that neither the police nor the organisation was able to take it further.  No necklace was found in the caregiver’s car or at her property.  So for them – case closed.

So, my constituent went to her insurance company and claimed for the stolen item.  And here comes the catch.  Her claim for the necklace (in the order of $1800) was declined.  The reason she has been given for it being declined is because she willingly invited the person into her house.  If the necklace had been stolen in a burglary, she would have received the money from her insurance company.  But because she alleges that it was stolen by a caregiver who she has willingly allowed into her home, the insurance company doesn’t pay up.

I have checked her insurance policy and the insurance company is correct in that the wording does exclude payment for stolen items which are stolen by someone who is "allowed" into the house.  So a paid caregiver is someone who has permission to be in your house and therefore, if they do steal something, you are not likely to get any money from your insurance company.  They will just decline the claim. 

I imagine that a number of people will be surprised at this.  The effect of the policy is that it depends WHO stole your goods rather than the fact that your goods have been stolen as to whether or not your insurance claim will be successful.  But to my constituent – she has still had her necklace stolen!

Has anyone got a better insurance policy?  Or had the same experience?  I hope that this will be useful information for people and help protect you from a similar experience.

About Hon.Ruth Dyson

Hon.Ruth Dyson
Hon Ruth Dyson MP for Port Hills Spokesperson for Senior Citizens Ruth Dyson is the Labour Member of Parliament for the Port Hills Electorate.