Aggregate Limit of Indemnity
Assurance vs Insurance
- Instead of a vague obligation to reveal all circumstances affecting the insurer’s decision, the Act introduces a “duty of fair presentation”. This defines matters deemed to be known as those held in their records, those available to senior management and those available to a responsible person, such as a broker.
- Previously, insurers could declare the policy invalid for any non-disclosure (e.g. if windows weren’t locked as declared, even if the insurance claim were for flood damage). The Act gives a sliding scale of remedies for insurers, depending on how serious the breach is, ranging from invaliding the whole policy to reducing the cover.
- The Act specifies that, while a specific insurance policy may be agreed by both parties outside the terms specified in the Act, the insurance company must clearly explain the differences and their implications.
- “To avoid a collision I ran into the other car.”
- “The telephone pole was approaching and I was attempting to swerve out of its way when it struck the front end of my car.”
- “First car stopped suddenly, second car hit first car and a haggis ran into the rear of second car.”
In the same way that the method is safe in medical diagnosis, it can be used to see the unknown in your property with no risk at all of causing damage. It can pick up places where heat is being lost, or where insulation is wet or missing, and detects water damage or mould. It can also pinpoint electrical hotspots and refrigerant leaks.
Before you make an insurance claim on any insurance policy you have, it’s essential to read through all those fine-print clauses. Yes, it might be boring, but not nearly as bad as being hit by a restriction you weren’t expecting when you try to make a claim.
A case in point is the Occupancy Clause.
Most home insurance policies, and the majority of policies for commercial properties, include a clause that addresses the “occupancy issue”. The exact wording will vary from policy to policy, but what they all say boils down to stipulating a maximum length of time the property can be left unoccupied, if you need to make an insurance claim is usually 30 days.
If you’re intending to leave the property unoccupied for longer than this, the Insurer must be notified, preferably in writing or by email, and specified actions must be taken by the Policy holder. The most common are that the heating must be kept on, bi-weekly visits must be made, and that an alarm must be installed.
However, it’s vital to check exactly what your policy says and make sure you know what needs to be done, in addition to informing the Insurer if the property is going to be empty for more than 30 days.
This can apply to any circumstances when the property will be unoccupied, but it’s particularly relevant to anyone letting out a property. The landlord must notify the Insurer as soon as the tenant has moved out. In many cases, the landlord will be making repairs or decorating before the new tenant moves in, and this can easily stretch out beyond 30 days so watch out if you are about to make an insurance claim.
Whether your insurance is for a domestic or a commercial property, make sure you know your obligations under the Occupancy Clause. If you don’t, there’s a good chance that you’ll be left without a penny if you have to make a claim.
If you’re sensible, you’ll have both building and content insurance for your home, and that should cover any loss caused by fire, flood, criminal or accidental damage. But do you know what’s covered on which policy?
All too often, homeowners and tenants are unclear about this, and there are cases when the Insurer’s Loss Adjusters refuse to pay out on a claim, on the grounds that the item isn’t insured.
So why is that?
It usually comes down to defining whether or not an item is a fixture or contents, and this can be open to interpretation. If your fitted carpets, for instance, are damaged by fire or water, it may depend on whether they were in place when you bought the house, or whether you’ve had them laid since then, in which case they’d be classified as contents.
On the other hand, there’s no guarantee of this, and Loss Adjusters may also define carpets as contents even if they were in place at the time of purchase. There’s no rule written in stone on the subject.
Laminate flooring ought to be more straightforward. It’s glued together and fitted under the skirting boards, so it should be regarded as a fixture. Most Loss Adjusters do use this interpretation, but occasionally even laminate flooring may be ruled as contents, and therefore ineligible under the buildings insurance policy.
This kind of uncertainty can apply to a range ofthings in your house, not just flooring. Items varying from antennas on the roof or fitted units in your rooms could be fixtures or contents, depending on the Loss Adjuster’s interpretation.
If you want to be sure whether your possessions are correctly insured, you need to study the policy or ask the Insurer to clarify. Even better, use an insurance broker in the first place, who’ll make sure everything’s in place.
Can My Insurance Broker Help With My Claim?
If you take out an insurance policy, the only person you have much contact with is the insurance broker who arranges it. So it seems to make sense, if you have to make a claim, to turn to the broker for assistance, but can the insurance broker really help?
The Insurance Broker
The short answer is yes, they can. But that doesn’t mean it’s the best option.
An insurance broker’s role is to find you the best possible policy in a market place fraught with choices and dangers. This is a complex and highly skilled job that takes up a good deal of time, and may not leave them with the capacity to take on a different complex and highly skilled task.
Think about it. If you needed repairs or renovations for your home, would your first thought be to go back to the estate agent who arranged the sale? If they’re a good company, they might try to help, but this would probably just involve referring you to someone who’s expert at the job in hand.
And that’s exactly what your insurance broker will probably do.
The expert your insurance broker will most likely recommend is a Loss Assessor, an independent professional whose role is to negotiate with the insurance company’s Loss Adjuster on an equal (if not greater) level of expertise. Having got you the best possible settlement for your claim, many Loss Assessors, including Allied Claims, will then project manage the entire process and bill the insurance company directly. You’ll have little to do except watch your property being restored to its appropriate state.
Insurance brokers and Loss Assessors make perfect allies. Both are there to make sure you get the best deal possible, but at different stages of the insurance process. The insurance broker does it by knowing the market place, while the Loss Assessor does it by knowing how to deal with claims and insurers.
At Allied Claims, we often work closely with the client’s insurance broker, pooling our knowledge to ensure the best possible outcome for the claim.
So the answer is yes, your insurance broker can help you with your claim — by putting you in touch with us. But you don’t have to wait for that. Call Allied Claims now and let us help you with your claim from the beginning.
Call 0800 999 5679 now and discover how Allied Claims can help you in your emergency.
Can I Call a Loss Assessor After I Have Submitted a Claim?
You already know, hopefully, that the best way to manage your insurance claim for property damage is to appoint an independent Loss Assessor, who can steer your claim through the often confusing process. But when is the best time for it? Can you be too late, or too early?
The Earlier the Better
The ideal time to contact a Loss Assessor, such as Allied Claims, is as soon as you’ve reported your claim to the insurance company and received your claim number from them. Although you could theoretically get in touch before this, there wouldn’t be a lot of point. You couldn’t appoint us as your Loss Assessor at that stage, and we’d be unable to act for you.
As soon as we have your claim number, we can swing into action straight away. We’ll contact the Loss Adjuster appointed by the insurance company to find out how they’re viewing the claim. If that’s less than ideal, we’ll argue your corner with at least as much professional insight as they have.
At the same time, we’ll be organising quotes and dealing with the companies involved, and then project manage the repairs and renovations and submit invoices to the insurer when it’s done. Best of all, as you probably know, it won’t cost you a penny.*
Can I Call Later?
You’re completely entitled to appoint a Loss Assessor at any stage during your claim, and if for any reason you haven’t done so at the beginning, by all means put that right as quickly as possible.
There are definite disadvantages to leaving it late, though. By that time, you’ll have probably dealt with the Loss Adjuster yourself, whereas you’re better off if the Loss Assessor negotiates with the Loss Adjusters. It’s far better having a professional interpreting the fine print and the various clauses in a policy as early as possible.
If you do come to us late, after your claim has been thrown out on a technicality, we’ll do our best to renegotiate it. But that will be considerably harder than if you’d contacted us right at the beginning.
Why take the risk? For peace of mind, call 0800 999 5679 the moment you have your claim number.
* Your Policy Excess always applies.