Navigating Insurance Policy Disputes: Policy holder Rights in Luxury Home Insurance Claims

There are many insurance policies offered on the market for luxury home and contents. The Chubb Masterpiece Signature Policy is one such policy with a premium level of coverage for high-value properties and contents including fine art collections, valuable jewellery and costly tech products. The policy covers for, inter alia, natural disasters, fire, water damage and burglary.

We understand that as a luxury home and contents insurance policy holder, facing the aftermath of a disaster including a fire or theft can be devastating. Amidst the turmoil of loss, policy holders may often expect a straightforward insurance claims process towards recovery and restoration.

However, in reality, policy holders can sometimes encounter declinatures of indemnity and disputes concerning the quantum of contents or restoration works which can lead to unexpected delays and cost.

Understanding Replacement and Restoration Costs

In the wake of a fire or natural disaster, insurers typically assess restoration costs for home and contents. For example, the Chubb Masterpiece policy, like many other home and contents polices, typically provides coverage for replacement and restoration of the policy holder’s home and contents subject to the terms and conditions of the policy.

These policies also typically allow for the policy holder to elect whether they want the insurer to restore and reinstate their home/contents or alternatively accept a cash settlement representing the value of such reinstatement works or contents. Subject to the terms of the insurance policy, policy holders should understand that even if an insurer offers a cash settlement, it may not be mandatory to accept such an offer as the insurer may have an obligation to carry out the restoration work itself.

The true value or cost of restoration work can sometimes be a key issue in these types of claims because for example the insurer may assert that the cost of restoration is less than what a policy holder may expect. Insurers will in most cases engage their own expert to provide a scope for rectification and costings for that work which may well be different or lower than what is anticipated by the policy holder. In these instances, policy holders may wish to engage their own independent expert to provide an assessment as to scope and costing which can be tested against the insurers assessment.

Policy holders may also be required by insurers to produce detailed proof of purchase documents in relation to destroyed or damaged contents items insured under the policy which can often be a time-consuming process. Failure to produce such records may result in insurers declining indemnity for part or all the claim or refusing to pay out the full value of the claim subject to the terms of the policy.

Another issue confronting policy holders in relation to these types of claims is additional living expenses when the policy holder has been required to relocate premises to alternative accommodation. Insurers may not be willing to pay policy holders for their full additional living expenses subject to the terms of the policy and in some circumstances, policy holders may need to challenge the insurer’s decision.

Seeking Independent Legal Advice

Policy holders facing challenges and disputes with insurers are encouraged to seek advice from an insurance claims lawyer to ascertain their options. Thismay involve issuing a complaint to insurers or challenging an insurer’s indemnity decision.

Having an insurance lawyer by your side can often be critical in cases involving a declinature of indemnity by insurers or in cases where quantum of rectification is in dispute.

How Elit Lawyers can assist you

At Elit Lawyers, we believe that policy holders should be treated fairly and we fight to ensure that insurance companies pay policy holders what they are contractually entitled to.

Unlike many law firms who are conflicted from acting for policy holders due to their ongoing representation of major insurers, we do not have this limitation. We are highly regarded for providing top-tier strategies and outcomes in the interests of policy holders.

Our insurance law team, led by Robert McGirr and Danielle Snell, understand the full spectrum of issues faced by policy holders and know how to enforce your rights to achieve maximum insurance recovery.

Decisions made by insurance companies are not always correct and Elit Lawyers has significant experience challenging insurers in all Australian jurisdictions, including the Supreme Court of Victoria, Federal Court of Australia and High Court of Australia.

Should you require insurance claim dispute advice, please contact Danielle Snell, Robert McGirr or Shanaya Jayaweera of Elit Lawyers on 03 9098 8646.

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