From the roof over your head to precious jewellery with sentimental value, possessions are part of everyday life that can be taken for granted — until disaster strikes. That's when the value of personal insurance cover proves its worth. These four examples illustrate the scope of insurance cover available and why you may want to protect against personal losses.

No one insurance claim is like another and although we know how they will work in theory the real life scenarios can add complications. The four cases below all involve unusual factors to be dealt with but all were resolved to the policy holders' satisfaction.

Example one: invisible flaw caused home to burn down

A micro fissure in the mortar of a fireplace in a prestige wine-growing region was responsible for the house burning down in the middle of the night — a devastating loss for its owners.

The insurers sought the appointment of a quantity surveyor to assist in forming a view as to the overall costs associated with the rebuilding of the home and closing the claim as quickly as possible.

In conjunction with the owner's architect an agreement was reached on the replacement cost and the insurer also paid for alternative accommodation during reconstruction.

Example two: mystery engine failure beached pleasure craft

When the engine failed on a recreational motorboat the cause couldn't be found and the vessel was left inoperable while the claim payout looked as if it would be delayed due to inability to ascertain the exact nature of the problem.

When the marine assessor made their inspection they came to the conclusion that the fault they identified as being likely to have been responsible — although unusual — was the only logical explanation.

Under these circumstances the claim was able to be progressed and the engine replaced for the vessel's owner.

Example three: value of stolen jewellery a challenge to establish

Since jewellery is often a sentimental gift or inherited, without a recent valuation it can be difficult to prove the value if you do need to claim.

In this case when the owner's jewellery was stolen in a break and enter burglary the claim almost stalled when they couldn't produce receipts for some of the items.

Eventually the insurer agreed to act in good faith and paid out on the claimed value — but bear in mind that documentation always makes an insurance claim proceed more smoothly.

Example four: remote location delayed vehicle accident resolution

A crash resulting from a vehicle veering onto the wrong side of the road would appear to be an open and shut case in terms of liability, but the remote location of the accident meant the police had to hold the damaged car until the owner's insurance forensic investigator had examined the wreck.

Owing to the remote location this was expected to take weeks if not months so it fell to the police officer who attended the crash and the photographs they took to enable the claim to proceed.

Using pre-crash photos also helped establish a replacement value for the vehicle to be paid out without further delays.

Check your personal insurance cover is adequate

Protect your important personal assets by making sure your insurance covers your valuable possessions including your home, contents, vehicle/s and valuable items like jewellery or technology.

A Gallagher broker can help you identify suitable policies, coverage values and also check that the terms of existing personal insurance policies don't contain exclusions that might affect the outcome of a claim.

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Gallagher provides insurance, risk management and benefits consulting services for clients in response to both known and unknown risk exposures. When providing analysis and recommendations regarding potential insurance coverage, potential claims and/or operational strategy in response to national emergencies (including health crises), we do so from an insurance and/or risk management perspective, and offer broad information about risk mitigation, loss control strategy and potential claim exposures. We have prepared this commentary and other news alerts for general information purposes only and the material is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, legal or client-specific risk management advice. General insurance descriptions contained herein do not include complete insurance policy definitions, terms and/or conditions, and should not be relied on for coverage interpretation. The information may not include current governmental or insurance developments, is provided without knowledge of the individual recipient's industry or specific business or coverage circumstances, and in no way reflects or promises to provide insurance coverage outcomes that only insurance carriers' control.

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