A MOUNT Eliza homeowner who found out she was not covered for theft by cleaners is urging people to check their policies before letting workers into the home.
The woman – who did not want to be named – recently discovered jewellery worth about $50,000 was missing from her house and, after checking security footage, was shocked to see that two agency cleaners working together were responsible.
But when the woman tried to make a claim through her insurer, she discovered a clause that invalidates claims if the theft is perpetrated by a person “invited into the home”.
After alerting friends and calling other insurance agencies, it was clear many were unaware of the clause.
The woman has made a complaint to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority and as of Friday was waiting for a response.
“I just want people to be aware of this clause, even many big cleaning companies don’t know,” she said.
“If my three-year-old had flushed my jewellery down the toilet I would be covered, but because it was stolen by people supposedly invited into the house, it wasn’t … that’s crazy.”
There have been several high-profile cases in Australia involving insurance disputes over theft, with one in 2020 when a man whose cleaner confessed to stealing cash, jewellery and other items worth as much as $20,000 over many months lost a claim dispute with his insurer.
The policy holder, who held a home and contents policy, reported the theft to police and provided CCTV footage of the cleaner taking a handbag and rummaging through drawers. The cleaner admitted the crime and was charged.
The insurer – a large, well-known company – did not dispute the man’s version of events but denied the claim as the insurance policy terms excluded cover for theft by someone who entered the home with the policyholder’s consent.
The AFCA said the premeditated circumstances of the theft did not affect application of the policy exclusion.
However, not all insurers refuse this type of claim, and it is recommended people shop around and look at the fine print of their policies to check if they are covered when workers enter the house.