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'I ticked the wrong box': insured must pay $10,000 excess

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A landlord who says he mistakenly selected a $10,000 excess on one of his insurance policies will have to pay the full amount after losing a claim dispute.

The complainant, who had two other policies with $1000 excesses, said he made an obvious mistake when filling in the landlord policy agreement and asked Allianz to change his excess to match the other two.

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) ruled that Allianz was entitled to charge the man $10,000 as the amount was clearly indicated to him when he signed the policy. The man applied for the policy online and received a welcome package that showed the excess at $10,000.

He said he applied for the policy with the help of a bank and that they did not alert him of the amount he had listed. He also said the insurer should have alerted him to the discrepancies in excesses across his policies.

AFCA acknowledged the complaint’s unfortunate circumstances but said any mistake made was not the insurer's responsibility.

“I hold three policies with this insurer for three properties that I own. Two of the properties have an excess of $1000 and the third and latest one for some reason I ticked $10,000 as an excess. This was clearly an error,” the complainant said.

“My eyesight isn’t great, and I didn’t pick up the $1,000 vs $10,000. I think it would be best practice for the company to call the customer and alert them to the large excess they agreed to."

AFCA said that the difference in numbers was not significant enough for the insurer to reasonably determine that the claimant made a mistake.

“A reasonable person might choose different levels of excess for a range of reasons, the most obvious being to try to reduce premiums,” AFCA said.

“The complainant had an opportunity to fix the mistake when the insurer sent the policy schedule showing the $10,000 excess, but he did not notice it. Again, that is not the insurer’s fault.”

AFCA determined that Allianz had not been responsible for the mistake of the complainant and that he would be required to pay the $10,000.

Click here to read the full ruling.