The Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman has declined a complaint for replacement of carpet in a separate room after the carpet in a lounge was damaged.  The insured spilt coffee on their carpet and made a claim for the dining room, the living room and the lounge.  The insurer accepted the claim for the dining room and living room as they were open plan and there was no separating door.  The insurer declined the claim for the lounge because that was separated by a door and there was an exclusion in the policy for “loss of match”.  This means that where items cannot be matched any undamaged items are not replaced.

The Ombudsman held that the insurer was entitled to decline the claim because the lounge area was an undamaged area and the exclusion applied.  The insureds were not happy with the outcome because they had now different carpet in the dining room, living room and lounge.

It pays to read very carefully the wording of your insurance policy to make sure that you are buying what you want.  The insured could have purchased a policy which covered replacement of the whole carpet, but unfortunately they did not do so.

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Alan Knowsley
Insurance Lawyer
Wellington


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