Insurer removes cover for meth-contaminated homes

Ngere and Paul
Ngere and Paul

A family who moved into a rental home in Tauranga, only to discover the house had been used to manufacture methamphetamine, have had it tougher than most.

When Story visited the family last week, they told of suffering from health problems before losing all their possessions to the contaminated house.

Their problems were compounded when they approached their insurance provider, only to be told they weren't covered. That's despite the family paying insurance on $104,000 worth of contents.

AA Insurance made an initial emergency payment of $10,000, then wrote to the family saying methamphetamine contamination was not covered under their contents insurance policy.

After negotiations went back and forth, AA decided to give the family a settlement offer of $20,000.

"The point of you to get insurance is to cover you at times like this," Ngere says. "But look at that -- after all these years of paying, we're not even covered anyway."

In an email to Ngere, AA Insurance said it now had new contents policy wording, stating, "There is no cover for any loss, cost or liability caused by, arising from or involving pollution or contamination."

Insurance advocate Maurice Stilwell says he would be disappointed an AA Insurance's offer.

"Insurance companies are going to continually change the terms and conditions to meet the market."

He says avoiding that disappointment is often a case of going through insurance documents in greater detail.

But it's not just tenants - landlords are also finding themselves without insurance cover, unless they are carrying out an inspection of the property every twelve weeks.

Luckily for Story, we were able to rustle up bit of a surprise for the family.

They move into a new rental in a fortnight, and thanks to Electric Kiwi and Harvey Norman, they should have a few things to help get them started.

Watch the video for the full Story report.