Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Westpac bank screws young couple on insurance


Tonight's episode of TV One's Fair Go dealt with a young couple who along with a mortgage on their investment property, got their house insurance from Westpac Bank.   The house got burned down by an arsonist -- but Westpac/Lumley won't pay out because it was unoccupied at the time. It's best to watch the clip for the story.

Regular readers of this blog will remember the story about Westpac's lack of concern about fire safety in its own premises when its Paraparaumu Branch burned out last year.  Why would you want to entrust your insurance to an organisation like that?

There are more general lessons, however :-

* Don't buy your insurance from a bank, they are only adding a mark-up and their clerks know/care little if anything about insurance--deal direct with a reputable insurance company.

* Check what the continuous unoccupancy clause in your homeowner's policy says.

* If you are going to be away for more than a few days, ask a neighbour to clear the mailbox and be vigilant (you will of course reciprocate) and shut off the main water valve in case of bursts or leaks.  A monitored burglar alarm and a motion sensor-activated camera is a good idea. Timer devices that turn lamps on and off at night are a handy burglar fooling method, but they have been known to catch fire, so wrap them in a fireproof material.

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