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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69379
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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hi we found a dried damp patch on our living room carpet

Customer Question

hi

we found a dried 'damp' patch on our living room carpet (14 feb)due to a bereavement
. We called the insurance company(insured new for old). who sent their own carpet firm.The man said he saw no problem and was going on holiday for 3 days and would return with the sample books a week later. 2 weeks passed and we got in touch with the insurance co.They then said they wanted to find out why it had occurred and sent their 'experts' in damp who visited for a number of hours doing chlorine tests ( tap water leakage) and alkaline test.(ground water) and could NOT find anything. they then said they were going to send another expert ( structural engineer) who inspected the property but could not find anything.They then said they would send roofing experts ( incase water coming down old chimney - chimney breast removed 40+ years ago- although we maintained the property and had a new roof within the last year) i took a day off work - they did not arrive despite a number of phone calls. They rearranged and said NOT the chimney, but might be rising water with recent heavy rains through a possible split in the dampcourse but they would have to dig up the concrete floor. this was supposed to happen yesterday...no show. despite another day off work..I phoned the ileac/building company who said the insurance company had cancelled. i contacted them who informed me that they would look into it and confirm yesterday or this morning. when no call i just phoned them who said that the claim had been 'repudiated' and we could not claim as it was not due to a one off event and possible poor maintenance. This is in total opposite info from the 'experts' and i am totally unhappy with their 'get out clause' we were NOT claiming for subsidence, new wallpaper etc...just the carpet ...if it could have been repaired that would have suited us, but their expert said it would need a new one- impossible to match up.

please advise

many thanks

Neil
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

Have you now found out what caused the damp?

If they are saying that this was accidental damage caused by you, are you covered for that?

If they are refusing the claim because they are alleging poor maintenance what have they said caused the damp?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

hi Jo


 


thank you


 


we ( and they) do not know what caused the damp.


they are saying that IF it was caused through a one specific incident ( e.g. a leak, burst pipe, something being spilled) we ARE covered but if it was an 'ongoing thing ( e.g. maintenance failure) we are NOT covered.


 


the property HAS been maintained for the 55 years my parents have lived in it ( e.g. new roof last year, cavity wall, double glazing, gutters, so fits etc etc) but they CANNOT state what has caused it, and were going to dig up the concrete floor to see if they could but then cancelled the 'experts' without informing us- it is only my calls to try to resolve the issue that has been dragging - as i did not want me mum tripping over the now shredded carpet as it has been pulled up numerous times..


 


I have heard some other'stories' about this company so i do not want that to cloud my judgement - but is it a 'get out' clause so they do not have to pay for the carpet.....one issue...the carpet is a through room lounge/living room with folding doors. we were originally expecting a 'repair' but THEIR expert said could not match - would need a new carpet.


 


 


neil


 

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Jo


 


 


some other 'associated' information


 


we were paying for Home & also Contents insurance with this company for a number of years ( for which we never claimed) - you carry insurance and hope never to use/need it.looking back there were instances e.g. nephew breaking a window etc where we could have but never even thought about it. We did have one instance about 18 months ago where the brick pillar gatepost was knocked down and they did arrange to repair it - i happened to notice that the next door neighbours daughters car had scrape marks on the parked closest to us door...at the same levels as the coping stone etc...and she admitted to her mother and the insurance company claimed off them ( so i believe it was classed as a 'no-fault' claim as it cost them nothing.


 


Also before any expert could do work we had to pay the excess first- which we did


 


 


thanks


 


 


neil

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.

I am sure you will agree that unless the cause of the damp is known, they cannot possibly say that it was caused through lack of maintenance.
If it was caused through lack of maintenance it does not necessarily mean that the incident is not covered unless it is specifically excluded. That is why we have insurance in the first place!

From what you say there has been a surplus of maintenance.

At this stage however it appears that you are not arguing over whether the carpet should be replaced in part or in whole or whether it is cleanable are not they are simply giving you a blanket “we are not paying out”.

You have two options: you either sue the insurance company for breach of contract and breach of the provisions of the Supply of Goods and Services Act or you make a formal complaint to the company and if the complaint does not work, you refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman.

You should really exhaust the insurance company complaint procedure before referring the matter to the Ombudsman but as the insurance company has already refused the claim it is unlikely to change its mind and you have nothing to lose therefore by making the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman immediately.

The good news is that the Financial Ombudsman service is free of charge although this could take some while to resolve. Here is the link to the Financial Ombudsman service complaints procedure.

http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/consumer/complaints.htm

Even if the complaint is not upheld you need to ask for your policy excess back because they cannot charge you the access if they have not paid out on the claim

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Jo


 


 


many thanks


 


I have been working away for a few days, and just got back yesterday.


 


the funny thing is, I have been contacted by the Insurance company ( I very much doubt that it was anything to do with mentioning the ombudsman when i had originally spoke to them !!) and they said they would be reviewing it and looking into the case and although it is my privilege to contact the ombudsman there isn't really any need and they will give me a verdict in 8 weeks. I said thank you but due to their experts continually lifting the stain on the carpet it has started to split and is a health hazard. I also pointed out that I an Health & Safety trained (true) and considered it a very dangerous situation given the factor that my mother who is a pensioner needs to walk past that area on a regular basis, and if it had been in the workplace I would have closed the area down until out was sorted. I then went onto say that they had already been dealing with this since early Feb and 8 weeks was far too long as I intend to replace the carpet ( due to the danger) and would pursue other matters. Despite saying she would email me a copy of the conversation and snail-mail a copy . the said email did not materialise.although the snail-mail arrived first class, asking for a delay until a decision first week of June. I was going to contact you and update you when i had returned.


 


 


should i allow them another 4 weeks?


 


 


many thanks


 


have a good weekend


 


 


nEIL

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