Insurers offer no cover for damage by 'invited guests'
If you are heading away and leaving your teenage children in charge of the house this weekend, be warned.
Your insurance company will probably not cover any damage or theft if they hold a party.
Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman Karen Stevens said many New Zealanders were still being caught out by a common exclusion in contents policies.
Most allow insurance companies to turn down any claim for deliberate damage or theft, if it was caused by someone who was invited into the property.
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"Most of the time you don't expect people you invite in to steal things," Karen Stevens said.
"But there are different situations where it might be possible. You might have a party and have people there you don't know particularly well. If they stole something or did deliberate damage, it wouldn't be covered."
It would also be easy to be caught out if you lived in a flat with a few other people, were holding open homes, or rented your property out to people via Airbnb or other accommodation platforms, she said.
In one case her office dealt with, a man had left his teenage son in charge of the home while he went away. The son's friend "helped himself" to stereo equipment, which the insurer would then not cover.
In another, a man invited a woman to stay temporarily. She then invited her friend over, without his permission. Both the women stayed the night but he asked them to leave the next day.
When he returned from work, he found the house unlocked, the alarm not set and items stolen. He made a claim to his insurer for the theft but was declined because the company believed the women who had lawfully been in the property were responsible.
Stevens said it did not matter whether the person who owned the home, or had the tenancy, was on the property at the time.
"In most circumstances, if people are allowed on your property, if you have invited them on or someone on your behalf has invited them on, it's still a no go."