How to insure your aquarium...

Discussion in 'General Discussions and Advice' started by Jaco Schoeman, 8 Mar 2011.

  1. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman MASA Contributor

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    Guys, many of you can recall I "designed" a product for insuring your marine aquarium and hardware against certain losses. I did alot of research, and put alot of effort into the product, but the demand was too low, so the product died a horrible death... :p

    In the meantime I have done some more research, and I found that in essence, your normal household contents insurance policy should cover it - regardless of the insurer...

    Now one thing that you have to understand, is that even though Insurance Companies does know alot about insurance, they know VERY little about insuring aquariums. It is a very unfimmiliar territory for any insurer in South Africa.

    I have heard of horrible stories where insurance companies just do not pay out really as a matter of it being an unknown risk, and they are not knowledageble enough to handle it. On the other hand I have heard more terrible stories of crooked clients that has a R30000 loss and claims for R150 000 tanks, and the insurer pays out also due to ignorance.

    SO, this thread is here to help you to help your insurer - insure your aquarium correctly if you need to do so. I am not gaining anything from this, and I am not selling for any insurane company, this is purely to help reefkeepers make sure that they don't get a nasty surprise when they claim. Do not think or presume that you are covered - you will be surprised. Also, I am a registered FAIS complient broker so I am (legally) allowed to give yout this information. This is not at all advising you, as you really need to just read through this, get a better understanding and let your insurer / broker do the rest.

    Technically, once you have sorted out this insurance cover for your tank, your premium should stay the same or increase slightly, with a few rands only, so it really is worth doing.

    So...

    First some terminlogy you should know:

    INSURER: That is the insurance company i.e Hollard, Santam, Mutual and Federal etc.

    BROKER: That is the "middleman" that is there to assist you with insurance advice and insuring your needs correctly.;)

    HOUSEHOLDERS cover: Insurance on your home contents. If you were to remove your roof, flip the house upside down and shake it; everything that falls out is household contents. TV's, home theaters, crockery and tables etc. are all householders.

    HOME OWNERS cover: This is insurance that covers the actual structure and all fixtures to your building. Fixed carpets and tiles, wooden flooring all form part of this cover.

    ACCIDENTAL DAMAGE cover: This covers you agains accidental breakage against items in you home. For example, your maid cleans and has to move the 150kg wall unit to clean behind it. Then it flips, and your R70 000 3D LED TV falls and breaks. This is a classic case where accidental damage can be claimed for.

    ALL RISK items: These are items that you normally can remove from your house and take with you like laptops, cellphones, i-Pods etc. I would like to mention (as this will be important later in the discussion) that All Risk cover has no limit to address, and has no real peril linked to it. It is also rated at the highest rate for this reason, but offers the most widespread cover...

    PERIL: A physical loss / risk occured due to fire, theft, accidental etc.

    RATING: All insurers calculate premium like this: Value of item x rate / 12 = monthly premium. Just as a matter of interest, your car is normally calculated at around 4.5% - 8% where as your laptop is calculated at about 12% (just as an indicator.) These rates are determined by very clever people who calculate loss statistics and risks etc... Rating will apply a little later, hence my explanation of it.

    CONSEQUENTIAL LOSS: This is damages that occur after a loss has occured. Example is that the loss is a burst geyser, but the consequential loss is the cupboards are all swolen, carpets are vrot etc.

    PROOF OF OWNERSHIP AND SALVAGE: Please remember that in any claim, you need to prove that you had the item you are claiming for. You cannot write off a Tazz and claim a Ferrari. Same here. If you cannot prove that you owned a Profilux unit, then they will and cannot pay out. Keep your slips (even if you hide them form your wife like I do) just keep them so you have proof of ownership. Once a claim is settled, the item belongs to the insurer, so do not sell your broken tunze impellers to other reefers - this is now property of the insurer, and they will arange for collection of such goods.


    So, now that you all can become insurance brokers :lol: let me give you some tips as to making sure you are covered.

    MOST IMPORTANTLY is having everyting in writing from the insurer / broker. If you insured through a direct insurer like Outsurance or Auto and General etc. please make sure that you write down the date, time and consultant you spoke to. All of these insurers are voice logged, and you can then, if a problem occures, go back and request them to revert back to the conversation on tape. File this proof of the discussion - trust me, it will make or break the claim later.

    Steps to follow:
     
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  3. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    STEP 1:

    Phone your broker / insurer and ask them in the instance that your tank of i.e R5000 glass will break, would they cover the tank itself. Also ask them that if the Tunze's or Vortech pumps should burn out due to running dry, if this would be paid. If they say yes, then get them to put it in writing to you, or write down the details for voice logging purposes. If YES was the answer, you can stop reading this, as your job is done and you are covered. Remember to keep your proof of ownership like slips, original packaging etc.

    Step 2:

    Ask whether or not you have Accidental Damage cover on your policy. If you do, make sure that the insured amount is adequite to cover your tank (glass) or at least the most expensive breakable item in your home (like a R70 000 TV etc) Then ask them whether or not your tank glass will be insured under this section should it break accidentally. Remember to get it in writing.

    Step 3:

    One cannot specify electronic items such as pumps on a householders policy like you can with a commercial / business policy. The insurer / broker will tell you that it is covered agains lightning and surge (if surge devices are in place) and against theft etc (again on condition that you have proof) but what about running dry? No standard insurance company will cover maintenance failure, so if you did not clean it and it broke, then there is no claim. But if the tank bursts, and the pumps runs dry then that is consequential loss and you would want it covered.

    Here is where you specify your pumps under the ALL Risk section of your policy. Do not specify any item under R2000, as most insurers will not even cover it. But your higher value pumps like Tunze, Profilux, Vortex etc can be specified. Even though you do not take it out of the house, there is not "linked" peril to it if you recall from above. This means that they have to basically pay out regardless of what happened to it.

    Please make sure to explain to your broker / insurer why you want this to be covered, and explain the risks involved, so they understand why you want to sepcify it and will then give you the neccesary support that it will be paid in such instance.


    Step 4:

    You should have other consequential loss like carpets ruined, cupboards soaked etc. Make sure to let the assessor know that it is salt waterm damage and that metal in the vicinity will rust. The insurer has to fix all items that was damaged by this water flowing through your house, in the same way that a geyser would have burst. Tell this to them, and let them make a policy note that they are aware of the possible water damage risk. This wil cover you against consequential loss.

    Remember that you have to have Home Owners cover to claim agains structural damage, and Householders to cover your Yamaha Home Theatre Amp that was standing on the floor and got salted...

    SIDE HINTS:

    * Do not even try and claim for live stock. It is basically impossible to determine the value of it, so do not even try...

    * Claim for what you have proof of, do not try and be a crook. The insurer can, if you are caught, persue you with the full arm of the law, and you can in fact be jailed for fraud if you claim for stuff you did not have.

    * Throughout all of your discussion with the insurer / broker, make notes of what they say is covered and what not or keep it in your insurance file in writing from them.

    * Never lie about how the tank burst etc. If you were drunk, and fell agains it, tell them. Assessors have ways of finding out what has happened, and if you lie, they are very reluctant to pay out. Do not lie about lighting strikes, as they phone the wheather guys to find out if there was lightning in those areas etc. Be truthfull always...

    I do hope this will help you guys out in future against possible losses. You are welcome to ask some questions...
     
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  4. archiecrain

    archiecrain

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    Interesting read!
     
  5. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    I know a guy who had a 1.2m fresh water tank. with canister filter in the cabinet.
    Well the canister leaked and the cabinet one back side became swollen. Tank rocked back and forth. Anyway, tank and cabinet got paid out, and he upgraded to a 1.8m tank. Insurance did eventually came around and picked up the old 1.2m


    @Jaco Schoeman
    what does the insurance company do with these tanks they take back?

    Somebody else sump cracked, anyway cabinet swollen. One of those curved glass tanks with curved cabinet and special canopy. Canopy also shaped like the glass with lights fitted inside it. Insurance paid out tank and cabinet. Not the canopy and lights. But you can do nothing else with the canopy unit.
    Here your advice that the insurance company should know what you want to be insured, is very valuable.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  6. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    @RiaanP

    Insurance companies take the salvage, even a broken tank, and then they have other companies who they sell it to as scrap material. So they get like R50 back on a R10000 claim they just paid out. With TV's, they supply repairers who buy it from them, fix it and then it is resold as second hand items etc.

    I know alot of people get paid out on aquariums without any specifying or telling the insurance company anything, but then the next oke, has a repudiation - and this from one insurance company.

    All boils down to specifics really, so better safe than sorry IMO, and it does not cost a million bucks to do...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  7. Prash06

    Prash06

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    This is useful!!! Thanks Jaco. I got no questions, I just wanna keep track of this thread
     
  8. Jeann1

    Jeann1

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    Thats what I did - I reacently moved Insurance and asked them on the phone to include my tank for a replacement cost I got from my LFS.

    They sent me the document for the new policy and its stated in there that there is a marine tank with all the relevant equipment.
     
  9. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    That's it Jeann... That is the right way to do it... Just remember to keep slips or proof of ownership, otherwise they can still repudiate and have good reason to do so...
     
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  10. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    a what?
     
  11. maj

    maj

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    great info,will have to check with my insurance now
     
  12. Slagter

    Slagter MASA Contributor

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    Great thread Jaco! Thanks for the info. I'm going to give my insurance company a call right now!
     
  13. animalia

    animalia

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    another word: Deny, decline, Reject,
     
  14. AfricaOffroad

    AfricaOffroad

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    Thanks for info, just added to your reputation
    :peroni:
     
  15. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    A fancy term that you will soon understand once an insurance compnay tells you they are not paying out a claim...:p

    This term (from a clients point of view) often goes in conjuction with words that I cannot utter on MASA, but you get the picture...
     
  16. Rory

    Rory Admin MASA Contributor

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    Lol....


    Repudiation is when the insurance co goes
    :lookhere:
    :finger:

    and you go
    :014:

    :killkanga
     
  17. AndreM

    AndreM

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    What are your options for showing proof of ownership if you bought something second hand and have no slips?
     
    Last edited: 9 Mar 2011
  18. Jaco Schoeman

    Jaco Schoeman Thread Starter MASA Contributor

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    With normal electronics like laptops luckily you have a serial number...

    What I would suggest with things that you have had for a while and no slips anymore or like you say you bought second hand with no packaging or slips, take photos of it and send to your insurer / broker to note on the policy. When the damage is done, they will compare the photograph with the actual item to use as proof of ownership...

    Try and take photos of the entire unit, as well as the sticker on it that shows the pump model number etc.


    As a side note, always take updated photos of your CD / DVD collection clearly showing the titles. With a collectors edidtion DVD that is worh more than the basic DVD take a few photos all round, showing "Special Edition", and update them every few months as you build your collection.

    Alot of schlep but at the end of the day it just assures you a payout...;) and saves you alot of frustration to prove the 1000+ DVD collection you have... Do not claim for pirated DVD's though, in fact, do not buy them at all...
     
  19. Kender

    Kender Charl

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    In my experience The insurer is above the Law. therefore no insurance for me, as I wasted to much money and every time you claim they find some technical point not to pay.
     
  20. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    And those special DVD's with the friendly ladies???
     
  21. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    that is a dangerous view on insurance.

    Look around, there are a couple of cars every day with you on the road, worth more than half a mil. With ABS, and can stop faster than you can think. Even if you do have ABS, what is your reaction time, and what were you watching a few seconds ago? Can get involved in an accident like in a half a second. And then you are paying of some other dudes car like forever. His insurance will cover his car, and then sue your insurance or you.
     
    Last edited: 9 Mar 2011
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