It’s not always that we deal with snow – related claims, so when they occur, they are always interesting.
The following are all claims that we are currently dealing with:
As a result of a build-up of snow, my pergola and part of my roof collapsed. Am I covered?
Answer: Yes, fully covered- if you have structure insurance. However, if the snow merely seeps through the roof and causes water damage, that is not usually covered. Reason – faulty sealing of the roof or mirpeset is not covered.
A tree from the neighbor’s yard fell on my car and “totaled” it. Can I sue his insurance?
Answer: Good question! If the branches were overhanging before the storm struck, there may be a way to claim. If however, the tree was strong and safe but the unusual amount of snow caused it to fall, then your only recourse is to claim against your own insurance.
I live in Efrat – due to the extreme cold, the glass koltim of our dud shemesh (solar heater) burst. Is this covered?
Answer: Yes, this is considered like a “burst pipe” which is covered in the standard policy. Take into account that many people have this covered through their mortgage insurance.
Now that the log fire / heater is warming you up, a few words about fire insurance.
What is it?:
The definition of fire in most policies is the appearance of sparks or flames. (In other words damage caused by a hot iron would not be covered under standard fire cover). Also included is smoke damage and explosion. Spontaneous combustion is not covered, nor is theft as a result of the fire.
Obviously, if you own your home you should make sure that you are covered for fire damage for your contents as well as for the actual house/apartment. (This is done either through a private insurance policy or through your mortgage). However for those renting homes, it is extremely important to check your contract and see whether you or the landlord is responsible for this cover.
Other aspects of fire cover are:
-payment for alternative accommodation
-payment of rental (depending on amount of insurance)
In our experience, most fires have been caused by unattended Shabbat or Chanukah candles and by clothing left near electric heaters – so, be warned!
Have you ever received an insurance claims check where an amount seems to be deducted from the payment, with the mysterious words “Kinun” printed next to the deduction. Translated, this means “reinstatement value”.
An example: Let’s say you pay NIS 3,000 annual premium to insure your car that is worth NIS 80,000. You have an accident, which costs NIS 10,000. The cost of the repair is covered by the insurance but now you have “used up” NIS 10,000 of the cover and therefore need to “top up” the policy. The amount that you actually pay is dependent on a) the cost of the damage and b) how much longer the policy has to run. In other words, the two extremes are: having an accident on the first or last day of the policy. On the first day you would pay maximum “kinun” because you have to ‘top up’ the policy for a full year, and on the last day there is no “kinun” at all. When the new insurance year begins, everything starts afresh.
When do you not have to pay the Kinun?
1. When there is a total loss – in this case you use all your premium to pay the total cover or, when the accident happens on the last day of the policy.
2. Bituach Hova – In claims of personal injury there is no reinstatement value.
3. Any case where the client decides not to replace or repair the damage. For example, if you decide not to repair your old Subaru, you will be paid out minus the VAT but without the reinstatement clause kicking in.
Have a safe and warm winter.
Egert and Cohen
We’re here when you need us!