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Meth Standards

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By: Property Investor Team

1 September 2016

Landlords should soon be offered more clarity about what their insurers are willing to cover if a property becomes contaminated with methamphetamine.

A standards committee is working on developing a standard that will set best practice guidelines for insurers dealing with meth-contaminated properties. The standard is primarily focusing on the procedures for sampling, testing and remediation of contaminated properties and the requirement for all parties involved in the process to be trained or qualified to a high standard.

Ministry of Health guidelines do not explicitly confirm what is a safe level of meth contamination but establish an acceptable level post-remediation of 0.5 micrograms per 100cm2.

Insurers’ coverage of losses from methamphetamine contaminated properties ranges from total exclusion, to coverage but with sub-limits, to full cover, but with requirements for checking tenants and undertaking regular property inspections.

Some insurers are reviewing their policy wording to clarify contamination levels that relate to losses. Vero now limits cover to a maximum of $30,000 for residential landlords, excluding its Flexicover option. It pays for testing, repair and decontamination of homes where the contamination exceeds the

Ministry of Health guidelines. Some have tried to limit the contamination they will cover to that caused by a meth lab and manufacturing as opposed to smoking in the property, which may be seen as gradual deterioration.

Insurance Council spokesman Terry Jordan says sampling and testing had the potential to produce false positives or negatives if not undertaken in a controlled and scientific manner.

"The objective of the standard is to identify methods of testing properties that provide reliable results and identifies decontamination and remediation processes that are effective and enables properties to be safely reoccupied in a cost-effective manner.”


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