'Rogue weka' poo-spree leads to insurance claim
The medical profession's insurer MAS handled 50 claims for damage caused by pet dogs, 16 caused by pet cats, and one by a "rogue weka".
Weka damage rates as one of the less common forms of household havoc insurers pay to repair, but MAS' general manager Mike Davy said: "You'd be surprised the damage a weka can do to carpet if left wandering in a house for a while!"
"All I can say is Weka faecal stains are hard to remove."
Davy, who wouldn't reveal how much it cost to replace the carpets, said the weka had got into a home that was temporarily unoccupied, so it had plenty of time in which to cause the staining.
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It's not the first time a homeowner has learned of the staining power of weka poo.
South Island author Keith Tonkin wrote about his encounter with a weka in his Westland home which resulted in a broken table, broken dishes, a stained carpet, and a bit of a mess.
Not all insurance policies are created equally when it comes to damage caused by animals.
While the MAS policy does cover damage caused by pets, others provide more limited cover.
The AA Insurance policy, for example, provides no cover for "scratching, chewing, tearing, soiling, or vomiting by your domestic pets".
All policies exclude damage cause by "vermin", but there may be differences in cover even there.
The AA Insurance policy provides no cover for "any loss, cost or liability, directly or indirectly caused by, arising from or involving insects, pests, vermin, rodents or possums."
The MAS policy excludes cover for damage from "insects, rodents or vermin", but specifically says possum-damage is covered.
Cases have come before the Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman where insurers and policyholders have not seen eye to eye over animal damage.
In one case, rodents chewed through a pipe supplying water to a family's dishwasher causing a flood. The rodents were vermin, so there was no cover.
In another case, a pet rat escaped its cage and damaged a two-seater sofa. The insurer wouldn't pay the claim, saying there was no cover for damage cause "by insects, rodents or vermin."
The householder said the clause in the policy was clearly meant to cover wild vermin, not "pets held in cages".
The ombudsman sided with the policyholder, finding the pet rat was not a pest.
Contents policies may also cover damage caused by your pets to other people's property. Contents policies often have "personal liability" cover, which is there to cover extreme events such as a fire caused by a homeowner damaging a neighbour's property. It could also cover damage to some else's car, if a dog escaped and caused an accident.
Insurers all around the world face claims for damage caused by animal. Claims reported by Britain's Daily Mail, for example, included:
* A snail did £78 ($NZ134) worth of damage to the carpet in a Lancashire home.
* A badger chewed an escape hole in a Somerset shed after being locked in.
* A pigeon caused £8000 of damage in a home after flying in through the chimney.
* A puppy in Cardiff caused £953 of damage by dragging a bottle of oil from the kitchen, and chewing it open on the living room sofa.
* A squirrel smashed a window in an Exeter garage.