Revisiting Claim Triggers

Certain events can be ambiguous when it comes to whether or not they are insurable. People often confuse wear and tear with damage. A general rule of thumb in evaluating if something might be insurable is to look for the claim trigger. The trigger is the singular event that caused the loss. It can be pinpointed and defined. An aircraft has a hard landing and cracks a strut, for example. The damage to the strut is a direct result of the hard landing (the trigger, in this case) and is therefore an insurable event. A chipped turbine blade from ingesting a foreign object is an insurable event, because there is direct cause and effect as to how/why the damage occurred.

However, things like general wear and tear, parts failing, faded paint, distressed interior, etc. are not insurable events. These are examples of maintenance and general upkeep items, much like changing the brakes on your car or replacing a hot water heater in your house. Yes, these are unfortunate and sometimes unexpected expenses, but no, they are not insurable events. Wear and tear on parts and life-limited items can sometimes fall under manufacturer warranty and/or third-party extended warranties, which is how you’d best protect yourself from unexpected maintenance expenses.