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Insurance exclusions outline the things that are not covered by your insurer. So if anything you have insured is lost or damaged by a cause that is excluded by your policy wording, you will not be able to make a claim to your insurer.

What are common insurance exclusions?

Exclusions differ from insurer to insurer and from product to product but as a general rule, insurers only cover you for things that are sudden and unforeseen.

The most common exclusion categories are:

  • Losses or damages that occur from breaking the law. For example, if you are in a car accident and are found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol or if your vehicle is unroadworthy, your insurer won’t cover any damages or losses.
  • Losses that are in your control. For example, if you deliberately drive your car over a cliff, your car insurance policy will not cover that.
  • Losses that are very likely to happen or that will happen, like wear and tear or your stuff just getting old. For example, if your TV fizzes out and no longer shows a picture because it’s 10 years old, your insurer will not cover you.
  • Losses that can be prevented, like doing regular roof maintenance to prevent your roof from leaking.
  • Losses covered elsewhere. For example, insurers exclude losses resulting from things like riots and terrorism as this would be covered by SASRIA. This also includes manufacturing faults that should be covered by a warranty.

Why do insurance exclusions exist?

Exclusions are different between different insurers, and even different between different products sold by the same insurer. There are a few common ones that we can highlight, but nothing beats reading the exclusions section of your policy wording. Something common to all insurers is excluding all losses or damages linked to you breaking the law.

For example, your car insurer will not repair your car if you get into an accident while drunk. Most home and car insurers exclude any loss or damage linked to war or terrorism. Most life insurance excludes deaths linked to particularly dangerous activities, like aerobatics. Sadly, suicide is also excluded by most life insurance for a period after the insurance policy starts (usually two years) but is not excluded thereafter.

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