Mr and Mrs Forest claimed their damage should be covered under the gradual damage extension.

Gradual damage?

Mr and Mrs Forest* discovered their dryer had been leaking, causing damage to the surrounding walls and their bedroom. They made a claim for the damage, and complained to the IFSO Scheme when their insurer declined the claim.

The insurer had declined the claim on the basis that the damage was gradual and not covered by the policy’s gradual damage extension. Additionally, it did not come within the sudden damage claim criteria.

The couple said they should be covered by the gradual damage extension. The cover was limited to “gradual physical damage … resulting from water leaking or overflowing from any internal water system”. The policy defined “internal water system” as “any water pipe, waste disposal pipe or water storage tank ...”.

A report established that the cause of the leak arose from a blocked sump hole, and water could not enter the sump, leaking out the back panel of the dryer.

This was gradually causing damage to the surrounding walls. Accordingly, the insurer argued the dryer had been leaking through the back panel, rather than from a pipe or tank.

The IFSO Scheme found that Mr and Mrs Forest were unable to prove that the gradual damage extension applied or that the damage caused was sudden.

Complaint not upheld

Consumers need to remember to check dryers for a build-up of lint and clean them regularly to prevent fires and flooding.

*Names changed

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