Police broke our fence while chasing someone. Insurance won't cover.

Police broke our fence
Hello everyone,
Couple of weeks ago police broke our enclosed backyard fence while chasing someone in the middle of the night. The offender is not related or known to us. Police came back after a couple of hours and gave us a card with the report details, police officer's name and said to pass the details to our insurance.
However RAC refuses to take the claim as they say, that type of damage is not covered. What to do now??

Comments

  • +58 votes

    Get a quote, pass quote to police. Once paid, commence work

  • +10 votes

    Can you get more information as to why they won't cover it? The insurance company should be able to recover all costs from the police who can claim on their insurance.

    Otherwise call the police station, speak to the officer ask if you get a few quotes can they pay that way.

    Making a mental note to read my PDS.

  • +5 votes

    I know the police broke down a friends brothers door when she reported that she couldn't get hold of him. They paid for the damage too.

  • +3 votes

    If RAC WA have declined your claim it should be in writing and they should explain why.

  • +1 vote

    The insurance agent said that the damage was accidental and not malicious. It's an old, potentially asbestos fence and the broken sheet is of a dividing fence between us and our other neighbor. Their insurance also states the same..won't pay..

    • +5 votes

      The Police "accidentally" chased someone? Doesn't really make sense to me.

      And did the Police break the fence, or the person they were chasing?

    • +34 votes

      Accidental damage?
      That's the whole point of getting effing insurance!

      I dare say that someone running from the police is pretty malicious and hardly accidental.

      • +14 votes

        And this is why insurance is a rip-off.

        • +18 votes

          In-sewer-ants is the biggest scam in history. Pay a company money just in case something bad happens. Do everything in your power not to have to claim. When you have to claim the insurer does everything in their power not to pay. WTF!

        • +7 votes

          @dogboy:

          Couldn't agree more!

          Insurance is essentially gambling at poor odds that an adverse event will happen. I'd much rather just invest the premiums.

        • -4 votes

          @dogboy: In-sewer-ants? I think it's spelled ins-

          Oh. Ohhhhhhhh! I see what you did there. Very clever.

          In-sewer-ants. Haha. Because they're all terrible people, right?

        • +2 votes

          @Scrooge McDuck: You're right, except in reverse. The insurance company is the gambler, which is why you're paying them a premium above the expected cost of the event to take that risk on your behalf.

          If you have enough money to self insure against the loss then the insurance isn't necessary and you should just save the premium. But if the loss is substantial (e.g home destruction, early death of a breadwinner, cost of refitting your home after a disabling accident) and the premium affordable then insurance is probably worth having.

          (I'm an actuary working for an insurance company though - so I'm obviously just trying to swindle you with economics and logic).

        •  

          @sparkanum:

          You're right, except in reverse. The insurance company is the gambler,

          How do you figure that?

          The customer (punter) pays a premium (bet) to hedge (win) the value of their asset (pay off) at a rate profitable for the insurer (gamble). So the customer is the punter and the insurer is the house.

          But if the loss is substantial (e.g home destruction, early death of a breadwinner, cost of refitting your home after a disabling accident) and the premium affordable then insurance is probably worth having.

          Only if the customer has a sufficiently rapidly decreasing marginal utility for more money and/or is affected by social factors such as pride.

          With a more linear utility for money, insurance has a very unprofitable expectation for customers. Bankruptcy caps losses and the safety net of the welfare state guarantees a liveable income.

          (I'm an actuary working for an insurance company though - so I'm obviously just trying to swindle you with economics and logic).

          And incomplete information.

        • +7 votes

          @Scrooge McDuck: Re: how I figured that:

          In this scenario, the customer starts with a risk of loss, and insurance transfers that risk to the insurer. The loss to the customer with insurance is guaranteed (the premium paid). The loss without insurance is either 0 (no claimable event) or some substantial loss (claimable event), with the expected result being a loss but somewhat lower than the guaranteed insured scenario loss. I.e they're trading uncertain cash flows with the possibility of unaffordable losses for predictable cash flows which are deemed affordable.

          In the gambling scenario, there is no transfer of some external risk. The customer and the house both actively take on a newly created risk for a potential financial gain which is not conditioned on either party suffering an external loss event. I.e they both trade certain cash flows for uncertain ones. They both gamble in that scenario. In the insurance context, it is the insurer actively taking on new risk from their perspective, and hence how I figure that is them gambling.

          You're arguing that a claim is a "win" to the insured. You're welcome to take that view, but unless they've overinsured I take the view that they're just returning themselves back to the financial position they were in before the claimable event. I.e nullifying a financial risk. So they're not gambling the difference between the guaranteed insured loss and the expected uninsured loss by that figuring.

          Re: social safety net, I think we're saying the same thing. You're saying that some people have a high enough risk appetite based on their own utility preferences to assume insurance isn't worthwhile, and I'm saying some people are risk averse enough to think the opposite assuming the price is right.

          Re: incomplete information, that was a touch rude, but also amusing. Thank you for that.

          I look forward to continuing this thoughtful discussion.

        •  

          @sparkanum: makes sense. I've always assumed the risk is with the insurer. Ideal circumstances, they make money off your premiums without ever having to pay out for a loss. Ie. Car insurance, they take your premiums hoping you don't get into an accident. If you do get into one, they suffer a loss. If you have a bad accident history, then you're a higher risk gamble, hence higher premiums and more likely to get insurance denied. Inexperience increases risk, etc.

        • -1 vote

          @sparkanum:

          In the gambling scenario, there is no transfer of some external risk. The customer and the house both actively take on a newly created risk for a potential financial gain which is not conditioned on either party suffering an external loss event. I.e they both trade certain cash flows for uncertain ones.

          The fact that the financial apparatus is used to hedge the value of an asset doesn't qualitatively change the internal characteristics of the financial apparatus.

          Gambling is defined by placing value at risk with an expectation value of less than the amount at risk. Long term gambling is unprofitable as risks tend to balance out.

          Investing is defined by placing value at risk with an expectation value of more than the amount at risk. Long term investing is profitable as risks tend to balance out.

          The financial apparatus of insurance itself sees the customer place their premium at risk with an expectation value of less than that premium for the period. That is gambling.

          Even in the domain of sports betting, it is common for sophisticated punters to secure a win or cut a loss by betting against their prior backed outcome once the live odds change. That second bet itself of course still has an under unity expectation value (is a gamble), the fact that it is used to hedge something is irrelevant to the internal characteristics of it.

          They both gamble in that scenario. In the insurance context, it is the insurer actively taking on new risk from their perspective, and hence how I figure that is them gambling.

          Taking on risk is only one aspect of gambling. Wether the value at risk has an under or over unity expectation value determines whether it is gambling or investing respectively.

          Insurers most definitely do not gamble. Gambling guarantees unprofitability long term and any firm who engaged in it would go out of business.

          TL;DR: You're conflating taking on risk with gambling, they're not equivalent.


          Note: My comments are based on nominal cases where premiums are accurately priced, fraud doesn't occur and there are no arbitrage opportunities.

        •  

          @Scrooge McDuck: Gambling isn't defined on the basis of an expected loss, though. Investing similarly isn't defined based on an expected positive return. You can certainly connotate them that way if you like but a quick Google suggested it wasn't a widespread definition.

          Different places I looked at suggested things like the ability to manage the risk of the event or the term of the risk as possible differentiators. Investopedia had an article attacking the misconception that stock market investment was a form of gambling based on your expectation argument, but that was more just trying to dissuade people from assuming a TAB bet was as financially sensible as buying a stock. But they were all pretty clear that investing and gambling are overlapping in terms of putting money at risk for a potentially favourable outcome, which is what we're discussing here.

          In other news:

          • insurance is defined by the transfer of risk from one party to another, so that's definitely important to the characteristics of the instrument, even to the extent of its quantitative or qualitative functioning

          • the customer's loss in an insured context is riskless (assuming no fraud and the other points you've made), so fails to meet even your definition of gambling

          • sports bet hedging is not insurance in the way we're discussing here. Both of those contracts execute independently on each other, so while the intent is to hedge, the characteristics differ to an insurance contract and there isn't a perfect risk transfer. To borrow your wording, you're conflating synthesis of a portfolio with the actual portfolio; they're not equivalent.

          Looking forward to round 4!

        • -5 votes

          @sparkanum:

          You're just arguing the semantics of various words and phrases I used in my reply and not defending your original point.

        • +2 votes

          @Scrooge McDuck: But this whole thing is about semantics; it's your interpretation of what gambling and insurance are that is the issue now. Otherwise I don't need to defend my original point because it's still valid.

          Don't quit on me now, Scrooge!

        • -1 vote

          @sparkanum:

          I'm an actuary working for an insurance company though

          Please inform us all of which insurance company you work for which engages in gambling. Some risky clients might be able to get a good deal.

        • +1 vote

          @sparkanum:

          In-sewer-ants? I think it's spelled ins-

          Oh. Ohhhhhhhh! I see what you did there. Very clever.

          In-sewer-ants. Haha. Because they're all terrible people, right?

          I think he's just referencing Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic, the first book in the Discworld series about a flat earth on the back of four giant elephants on the back of a giant space turtle. It's a translation error from the Counterweight Continent language (analogous to Japanese).

          My name's Dan Wilson. I run Iowa's largest wildlife preserve.

        •  

          @Scrooge McDuck: Sure, it's bad as an investment, but if something bad happens your insurance payout can EASILY far exceed a lifetime of premiums. I've been hit by an uninsured driver, and had a vehicle stolen. Because I had insurance, neither of those turned into particularly life changing events. It was purely transactional.

        •  

          Basically if you can afford to pay for it or it isn't necessary (as in you won't have to pay for it) then you might not need insurance. I.e. you might not need to comprehensively insure each and every one of your joy rides if you're rolling in dough.

          It's worth noting that the value of third party damage is variable and repayment is pretty much mandatory (health costs are 100% mandatory which is why CTP is … Compulsory), damage to a third parties vehicle could range anywhere between minor to "you totalled someones supercar". Which is why third party (+ theft/fire) insurance is actually pretty necessary if you want to drive around without the risk of going bankrupt left you cause an accident with a car that costs more than your total combined assets.

      • +2 votes

        There are two types of household insurance cover.
        Ie Defined events which covers approximately 10 major events (Eg Storm, fire, burglary, malicious damage etc). It is the most popular because it is cheapest.
        The other is accidental loss or damage which is broader in cover and costs slightly more.

        It is apparent the Op has the cheaper product.

      •  

        Accidental Damage is the type of policy (as opposed to Defined Events).

        Either way, they should pay.

        If you get rubbish insurance, expect to have claims denied.

        Read your PDS, people.

        And to this who think it's a rip-off, you're the fools who end up on the news because your house burned to the ground and you're uninsured or you hit a Ferrari in your XD Falcon and for some reason think you shouldn't be liable and have you stuff repossessed and a judgement against you.

        It's only a matter of time!!

    •  

      That sounds like BS. I'd be speaking with the manager.

      How do you know the crook don't break it ?

      • -1 vote

        The police claimed responsibility and gave the name of the officer who broke it, the cops are pretty good at shirking responsibility for things so I think that should be enough evidence that the crook didn't do it

      •  

        not really, plenty of cheap policies that don't cover everything. Police will pay regardless, just you are responsible for talking to them and giving them quotes etc if it isn't covered by insurance. Insurance will only do that on your behalf if they cover that particular damage.

    • -3 votes

      So let me get this right, the fence may have asbetsos but you and your neighbour dont seem to care, but now that its gone you are concerned ?

      Even if the police didnt touch your fence , why didnt you replace it anyway ?

      • +9 votes

        As far as I'm aware asbestos is perfectly fine when its whole but when it's disturbed the fibres are released into the air and can be inhaled leading to health problems.

        If the fence was in good condition then it would be better to not touch it, and there would be no problems. Now that it's been damaged there is a need to replace it because it is damaged. As mentioned above removal is extremely expensive because of all the precautions needed to be taken when handling broken asbestos.

        • +2 votes

          You are correct. Sometimes it is even preferable to treat large areas of asbestos sheeting with a sealer rather than removing it (due to cost restrictions). Sealing is perfectly acceptable (provided its in good condition to begin with).

    •  

      So if you said the damage was on purpose, they would cover it? I'm trying to grasp their logic here. The purpose of insurance is to cover accidents. Dafuq is they smoking?

  • +7 votes

    (1) wait for hard rubbish collection.
    (2) find discarded corrugated iron.
    (3) replace fence.
    (4) ????????
    (5) profit

  • +5 votes

    If what you're saying is true, Police will have to pay for a new fence. Kind of unlucky that they gave you that card, otherwise you could have claimed the fence was broken down with malicious intent and insurance would've paid out.

    • +7 votes

      and pay a higher premium next yr because of the police. I hope you get the police to pay up.

    • +2 votes

      Excess ain't free.

      •  

        Shouldn't pay any excess. Liability has been admitted and there is recourse.

        •  

          What realfancyman was saying is if the police didn't admit liability, the OP could claim it based on malicious intent/vandalism.

          I'm sure you'll agree there will be an excess to pay due to damage by vandalism.

        •  

          @JB1: not necessarily. It'll depend on the conditions required in the policy. If the condition is that they'd need to provide contact details of the third party, then no excess applies.

        •  

          @imurgod:

          But if the police didn't had a card over, there wouldn't be any details of the 3rd party.

        •  

          @JB1: doesn't make any difference. They're still an identifiable at fault party (i.e. The police). There would be a report of the incident. It would be as easy as handing the details (date, description, etc.) to the insurer. In fact, I would expect that you could easily obtain a report number from the police.

          Even if the OP paid an excess, it should be easy to recover and refund it.

          This is why it pays to insure with an insurer that has good recoveries…

  • +5 votes

    Had the same thing happen, police paid for mine. Though was in SA and it took months to get it done.

  • +9 votes

    police will pay for it, just get in touch with the right department

  •  

    I thought that fences were frequently not covered under insurace. We once had a storm destroy fences on 3 sides of our yard and it was not covered by insurance.

  • +13 votes

    Get a quote for replacement and provide to the police station the officer works at, explaining the situation and asking for payment. You shouldn't need through insurance.

    If that doesn't work, get in contact with the Civil Claims area of WA Police Legal Services (or equivalent if you aren't in WA, as I assume you are). They should be able to assist / clarify the WA Police manual policy for damage caused to property by an officer undertaking duties. Police are covered for this type of thing by the Government insurer.

    • +1 vote

      Completely agree.
      If I run into your car. I don't just give you a note with an event number and you have to pay your excess and have your claims history impacted which could affect your premium.
      Home insurance isn't compulsory and no one can force you to lodge a claim.
      I'd be making sure I am not finically impacted by the actions of the police. You could call them and ask where to send the bill, that would open the conversation.

    • +2 votes

      In SA, you have to write a letter to the police commissioner, who will then pass this on to their legal team. They'll ask for a quote, they'll probably send a cop over to confirm damages and get you to sign a libility waiver (via mail), then send the cheque to you. I highly doubt the cop at the counter has the authority to just hand out cash.

      •  

        Spot on. The Officer in charge of the police station does, however, have ability to pay out small claims like this.

    •  

      Insurance will take less time and it won't affect your premium nor will you pay an excess.

  • +4 votes

    This one definitely Bikies!

  •  

    Did the police break it, or the crook?

  •  

    They should have said they'll cover it in the return conversation, but they are a pain in the ass to deal with for cost recovery. You'll most likely have to foot the bill and then they'll reimburse you the amount. They'll also be very slow and unresponsive and not care.

  1. mbck on 09/08/2017 - 22:01
  2. mbck on 09/08/2017 - 21:48
  3. Scrooge McDuck on 10/08/2017 - 10:14
  4. Scrooge McDuck on 11/08/2017 - 19:21
  5. Drew22 on 10/08/2017 - 00:17