Time to review your insurance? A Christchurch owner whose smoke-free rental was damaged by smoking wanted the tenants to pay for the new carpets, but the damage has been ruled accidental by the District Court. This is another confirmation that tenants will only be held accountable for insured damage if it can be proved to be accidental.
That’s a pretty high bar – unless the tenants video themselves gleefully kicking in the doors or putting out cigarettes on the carpet, the landlord will be responsible for replacing the carpet. The issue there is that if the damage is in various patches around the house, the insurance company may insist that you make separate claims: one for the living room, one for each bedroom, for instance. That means you’re paying an excess on each claim. If your excess is $1,100 like the landlord in this case, you could be paying that sum four or five times over. The excess would be more than the carpet.
We’ve never seen a situation like this in an Impression apartment, and we would hate it to happen. Forewarned is forearmed: it could be a great time to review your insurance, perhaps lower your excess, and get some expert advice on what could happen if you’re in this situation.