An insured took out contents insurance over the telephone and when they received their policy they received a copy of the telephone questions and answers.  Sometime later the insured made a claim for the loss of four rings.  The insurer would only pay out $4,000 being $1,000 per ring, as the policy limited cover to $1,000 for any unspecified item of jewellery.  No rings were specified on the policy. 

The case involved an argument as to whether the insured had provided details of valuations of the rings and specified the rings and the Insurance Ombudsman’s Office concluded that there was no evidence to support that assertion. 

The case is also a reminder that when you take out contents insurance, if you do have items that are more than the individual item limit, that you must specify those items and usually provide a recent valuation to back up the value of the specified items.  A failure to do so will mean the insurer only has to pay out up to the limit per item.

Alan Knowsley

Insurance Lawyer
Wellington