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January 2015

Foro seguro de hogar: daños por agua que afectan al vecino

Simon P.

Hi, I have townhouse with a pool in the garden and the corresponding home insurance.

A few days ago the house´ adjoining neighbor told me he has some moisture in the walls of his basement, and that he called a plumber who has told him that he has no broken pipe, so it is possible that the leak is in my home. As both Home as are on slope and his is next to mine, we checked if I also had some type of moisture.

All I see is that the pool has significantly lowered the water level, but this usually happens and we fill it at the end of each summer season.

I contacted a reparation company whom after making several checks in the pool confirms that effectively the pool is losing water, which goes to the next house.

But after lifting of the land and the coronation stone of the pool, they determine that the failure is not a failure of the sewage pipe or skimmers, but is the cockpit area of the skimmers that is not sealed properly together with the base of the pool and therefore the water leaks.

That is, it is a Building defect, and when I indicate this to the insurance Co. they told me that the Insurance has no coverage for this.

What can I do? Are they right?


Moderator, Sergio Sanguino

Dear Simon,

Let´s see, there are two damages:

1. Damage caused in your pool which relate to the location of the fault (digging of stone and ground to locate the fault) and self-breakdown reparation (proper sealing and waterproofing the interior of skimmers). These damages actually would not be covered through the home Insurance Policy because it is a Building defect so you must claim against the pool´s Builder as responsible for the damage.

2. Damages caused to the house of your neighbour. In this case we are dealing with a case of Civil Liability that your Insurance Co. should attend, without prejudice to later claim against the Builder.

Get your quotes for the reparations and insist to your Insurance Co. to take note of the incident and to send an assessor to value such damages, surely they will attend at least the damages produced to your neighbor.

Kind regards.

Foro seguro de hogar: inhabitabilidad de la vivienda

Martina S.

Hi, I have a house insured with Mapfre and due to a loss of water damage that has been repaired by their workers my parquet has risen from the entrance till the end of the hall.

The insurance Co. has valued the replacement of the parquet, but the workers I hired told me that due to the work to be performed and the varnishing I cannot step on the damaged area, so I understand that I must go to a house of a relative and request compensation for uninhabitability of the house against Mapfre. The insurance company told me that I have no right for this compensation because the house is not uninhabitable and it only has raised the hallway´s parquet.

Are they right? What can I do?

Thank you.

Moderator, Sergio Sanguino

Dear Martina,

We must distinguish between two different aspects on your claim, firstly the right to claim for uninhabitability, that they have certainly not understood from your explanations. It is not about the damaged produced, but whether to inhabit the house or not. Certainly if the hall of the house is affected, you cannot get in and out of it, so they must assume uninhabitability of the house during the reparation and drying of the varnish.

But the second aspect to consider is the compensation to which you are entitled, as mentioned in the policy: temporary accommodation in hotels or rental of a dwelling similar to yours, within the limits of days and money specified within the policy.

That is, they should pay the expenses that you incur in these conditions but if you stay at the home of a relative it incurs no costs, so you have no right to be compensated under this guarantee, even if you pay for their accommodation and subsistence. I understand that you should discuss it with the Insurance Co. before to check if they accept it providing a receipt for example, but legally they are not obliged.

I hope this helps.

Foro seguro de hogar: hurto en mi casa

Catherine R.

Hi, I have a detached house insured through Mapfre and I have suffered a petty theft in my house.

A few days ago my neighbour called me from outside and I went to meet her leaving the door opened. When I came back I saw someone running from my home with my bag and one of my jackets in his hand.

I called the Insurance Co. and I am waiting for an assessor to come, but they told me that I will not be covered for petty theft because the thief did not break anything since he came into the house when the door was opened.

Is this true?

Thank you very much in advance.

Moderator, Sergio Sanguino

Dear Catherine, let´s see:

The difference between robbery and petty theft is that in robbery you need to use force on things to commit the extraction, while in Petty theft there is no such force.

But to use force on things means that thieves, are introduced in the insured home against the will of the insured by burglary, climbing, breaking a wall, ceiling, floor, door or window, using false keys, legitimate keys stolen from the owner, with picks or other instruments specifically for executing the robbery, penetrating secretly or surreptitiously, ignoring the Insured, their relatives, employees or servants, hiding and committing the offense when the home is located closed.

Petty Theft is the illegal removal of insured objects without the use of such a force.

In your case, it is indeed a Petty Theft, but this does not mean that the Insurance Co. does not take charge of the incident so check the General Conditions of the policy contracted as almost all policies establish an economic limit on these coverage, i.e. the stolen items are covered up to 300, 500, 1,000 euros etc. depending on the policy contracted.

Kind regards.