Content Insurance in Strata Building--Floating Floor

note: I should probably discuss this with the insurer directly, but I would like to listen to your thoughts before I proceed, i.e. arming myself with as much knowledge as possible before ringing up the insurers.

I live and own a unit in an apartment building, in NSW. I have a content insurance to cover my contents. Recently, my neighbour's shower water leaked into my apartment (due to failed water proof membrane) and causing my floating floor to buckled. I rang up my insurer and they told me floating floor is usually building insurance responsibility, and they will only cover the repair out of goodwill if the building insurance deny our claim. We got a terrible building insurer and the excess for escape of liquid is $5000 now (which if triggered, will be placing burden on our strata fund, as well as increasing the premium next year), and the building insurer happen to extend their cover to floating floor.

Long story short, considering that this damage was not due to my fault, the repair was covered by strata this time. however, I want to make sure that my floating floorboard will be covered by my content insurance (in case that the damage was due to my own fault), and really avoid triggering the building insurance if possible, and I will appreciate if you can give me some advice base on your experience.
Any recommended content insurer? Thanks.


  • Either read the PDS for your insurance and see if it is included (or post a link to it here)

    Or claim against your neighbour

  • Floating floorboards are a grey area. Some insurers consider them under building and some under contents. If you need them covered by insurance then find a contents insurer who will cover them.

    In this situation it is the strata who are liable (in NSW waterproofing of bathrooms is common property) so they are required to pay for the repairs, either themselves or via their strata insurance. It shouldn't matter to you as long as it gets fixed although it will have an impact on your strata fees (shared amongst all the owners).

    • yeah this time the strata is paying. But this event also makes me think that I am not covered if say a flexihose burst while I am away etc., hence prompting me to look for a better insurer.

      • We had a dishwasher hose burst.
        the kitchen and carpet was building insurance.
        Freestanding items (furniture cabinet bookshelf) was contents insurance.

        Contents is basically the movable items not the fixed items.

        But $5000 excess! That’s crazy, your premiums must be almost zero with an excess that high as they would hardly get any claims.

        • from i understand, they had a few water incidences in the past, hence the insurer jacked up the excess. for damage due to other reasons, excess was much lower… yeah, it is quite high, and that $5000 will go into our next year strata fees…so we are fked either ways

          i am surprised that your carpet was covered by building insurance though as usually that was covered by content insurance. i guess that's really depend on how the building insurer negotiate with the owners corp.

          • @holdfestron: Maybe I was wrong about the carpet, it was about 4 years ago.

            Content insurance is with Coles, they were fantastic for claims, really easy and quick.

            Our is a townhouse, no upstairs above our 2 stories. Maybe high rise is different.

  • The topic of strata insurance vs. your own contents insurance is simply a game of whoever you can get to pony up.

    While I've not had the precise circumstance you have, I have certainly had a couple of situations that are broadly similar. In my experience, the strata insurer will typically decline a claim for floor coverings. I've had to do what you're talking about where you need to get the strata insurer to formally decline, provide the declinature to your contents insurer and off you go. I suspect that the strata has paid in your situation because the fault has arisen from the failure of an original installation, i.e. the waterproofing.

    Trying to get a definitive list of what is covered by strata vs. contents is an exercise in total frustration. The contents insurer will give you this baloney … "imagine if you tipped your place upside down, anything that falls out is us, anything that stays there is the strata". I always ask the contents insurer who insures the paint on the walls to which they reply they will. When I ask them how the paint will fall off the walls, the whole thing falls apart. I've had similarly frustrating conversations with strata managers and strata insurers.

    Any recommended content insurer?

    I use NRMA. I would suggest this is a good area to consider paying extra for a "premium insurer" that might be more flexible/"who will cover the repair out of goodwill".

    really avoid triggering the building insurance if possible

    The insurance is there to be used. Let me assure you, strata insurers will not pay out one more cent than they can get away with.

    • Thanks. that is exactly how I felt when dealing with the content insurer, they were not very forthcoming with regards to floating floorboard when I sign up. Carpet, yes, definitely contents insurer responsibility.

      I was trying avoid using the building insurance because they charge a much higher excess and premium, and I have seen the building insurance bill (as part of the strata fees) gone up and up like crazy… in the end, we owners are footing the bills. I had to claim a building insurance in the past, and they contractors and assessor assigned by them were really dodgy. Having to deal with the insurance through a dodgy strata manager was no help too. that's another story anyway…

      Thanks for recommending NRMA. I agree, when dealing with insurance, especially during time of distress, the last thing I want to deal with is an insurer that couldn't come through to help.

  • Isn't a float floor a manufactured board that is laid over a foam underlay and the board "click" together? (I'm making sure we are talking the same product).

    My understanding is that the strata's responsibility ends at the concrete boundary of the floor and floor coverings are the owners responsibility. Wouldn't carpet and a floating floor be regarded as a floor covering?

    Our excess is either $500 or zero. The premium for our block of 8 is $6466.51

    I'd suggest you find a new broker. We use Tucker McNeil

    Edit: I can't get it to format

    Cover Sum insured Excess

    Building $3,808,586.00 $0.00
    Contents $38,086.00 $0.00
    Loss of Rent $571,288.00 $0.00
    Public Liability $20,000,000.00 $500.00
    Voluntary Workers $2000,000/2000 $0.00
    Fidelity Guarantee $100,000.00 $500.00
    Machinery Breakdown $100,000.00 $500.00
    Office Bearers Liability $1,000,000.00 $500.00
    Govt. Audit Costs $25,000.00 $0.00
    Appeal Expenses $100,000.00 $0.00
    Legal Expenses $50,000.00 $0.00
    Catastrophe $571,288.00 $0.00
    Lot Owners' Fixtures &
    Improvement $300,000.00 $0.00

    • Thanks for recommending Tucker McNeil. I will ask the committee to consider them. I too, thought that floating floorboard shouldn't be part of the building insurance. However, considering that the excess is $5000, there might be certain incentive for the building insurance to do the job (for example, I suspect they could quote the cost to repair to be more than $5000 when in reality they could get it done for less than $3000). In any case, IMHO the whole industry is crooked (the ties between contractors and insurer) and unless I am a builder myself, it is difficult not to get scammed into their scheme, or maybe my personal experience is biased and other people are actually happy with their insurer.

  • It should be covered by strata insurance, for example if the water leak damaged your tv instead of your floating floor boards, the strata insurance should be liable as the cause of the damage was the water proofing.

    • yes, strata has agreed to foot the bill this time. just want to cover myself in future in case it was a damage cause due to fault within my own unit.

  • Not trying to troll.

    If your neighbour's shower water can leak into your apartment, what else could be wrong that can't be seen :(

    But you may want think about the longer term implications of staying in your apartment as you are the owner, as strata $$ is ultimately paid by the owners. I hope nothing more goes wrong for you, but with the apartment stories (e.g Opal, Mascot) that goes the media, you've got to wonder.

    • yeah…i am kinda stuck, and honestly, i hope this is the one off incidence…can't sell it now as it will be at a loss. With the benefit of hindsight, there were some telltale signs, but we were ignorant back then…that's another topic for discussion anyway.