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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 11447
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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My insurance company are demanding that I pay my £350 excess

Customer Question

My insurance company are demanding that I pay my £350 excess on my building and contents insurance before they will proceed and even send in a company called SOS Leak Detection to find out where the leak is coming from.
Assistant: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: We are in East Sussex
Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have registered the claim, have had a plumber come in and look at the damage. He says the floor is now unsafe in the bathroom and the bath will have to be removed to replace same and of course then the tiling will be damaged, in fact probably need a complete new bathroom. This is a tradesman we have used before and trust.
Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I cannot understand why I have pay the excess prior to the claim even being assessed or upheld. I asked the question will I get the £350 back if claim not withheld, the answer was no. I have stated that I am unhappy with the way they are proceeding.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 4 months ago.

Good afternoon. I will try to assist with your question but need more info first - also I apologise if delayed in replying

who is the insurer?

so you have told them you are starting a claim and they want the excess upfront?

are you meant to use one of their 'tradesmen'?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Dial Direct underwritten by Lloyds (email lloydsbankclaims). Yes I have. They have not made that clear.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Any other claims I have made where excess has been involved have never required an upfront payment and I find this incredible.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 4 months ago.

Whether they are entitled to do this or not really comes down to the terms and conditions of the policy and claims which you would have signed to agree to at the time you took the policy out.

I must say, I agree with you that it’s unusual for them to want it before the event.

However I cannot see how they can charge an excess and then not refund it in the event that they do not uphold the claim.

The problem that you have is that there are limited numbers of ways of dealing with this because you can’t beat them with a stick until such time as they capitulate and deal with the claim

{C}1 argue and you will probably hit a brick wall which is where you are at now

{C}2 pay the excess which you would have to pay in the end anyway provided of course the claim is paid

{C}3 pay the excess and if they don’t uphold the claim, and they won’t refund the excess, take them to the Small Claims Court to get that money back and

{C}4 make a formal complaint about all of the above to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

The problem with the latter course of action although it’s free and risk-free, it’s not particularly quick.

There is no legal mechanism to make them deal with the claim quickly and even then it would involve going to court and/or complaining to the ombudsman.

I’m sorry, I wish I could give you a more favourable answer. Can I clarify anything else for you?

I am happy to answer any specific points arising from this.

Please take a moment to look at the top right hand corner of the page and rate my service by clicking one of the stars at the top of the screen. It’s important you use the rating service because that gives me credit. It doesn’t just give me a pat on the head! Opinion, (Although there is an incentive scheme where the more five-star ratings I get, I do actually get a pat on the head! :-)) All you need to do is press Submit. Thank you.

If you still need any point clarifying, I will still reply because the thread does not close.

Best wishes.

FES.