Tag Archives: loss adjuster uk

Keep Your Home Insurance Safe for Your Summer Holiday

Before long, many of us will be locking up our homes and leaving them for a week or a fortnight to enjoy a well-earned summer holiday. The last thing we want is to come back to is a burgled home.

Burglar in HouseYou don’t want to be burgled at all, but however many precautions you take, there’s no cast-iron assurance that the burglars won’t find a way in. You can make an insurance claim, of course — but the worst outcome of all would be for the insurer’s Loss Adjuster to turn you down for not being careful enough.

You can take the common-sense precautions, like securely locking all doors and windows and having a good alarm installed and set. There are things, though, that can alert burglars that the house is empty — post or newspapers piling up, for instance. Remember to cancel what you don’t need, but ideally it would be best to arrange for a friend, relative or neighbour to visit a few times while you’re away.

The Dangers of Social Media

There’s a new danger these days, however. We all like to let everyone know what a great holiday we’re having by posting our photos on Facebook or other social media. The problem is that burglars look at Facebook too, and often use it to find out which properties are going to be empty. You may as well make a public announcement that your home is available to burgle.

If this happens, you may find when you make your insurance claim that the Loss Adjuster refuses you on the grounds of the Reasonable Care clause in your insurance policy. Your social media posts are a matter of record, and the insurance company may well check to see if you’ve been unreasonably careless.

So don’t help the burglars, and don’t give the insurer a reason to reject your claim. Keep the Facebook posts till you’re safely home. Feel free to get in touch with us for more information.

Don’t Get Caught Not Claiming for the Hidden Damage — Use Thermography

If your home or business property has suffered from fire or flooding, it’s difficult to be sure you’ve found all the damage when you make your insurance claim. Some problems can stay hidden for years, and when they emerge, it won’t be easy to get the Loss Adjuster to accept liability under your policy.

If you use thermography, though, this won’t be a problem. Thermography is a non-invasive thermal imaging system that can show up the hidden damage. It has a wide variety of uses, from night surveillance and leading firefighters round smoke-filled buildings to diagnosing cancers, as well as in insurance.

Thermography is completely safe because it’s an entirely passive imaging system. Whereas a technique like X-rays actually fires radiation at the subject, thermography simply reads the infra-red heat every object gives off and builds up an image.

How Can Thermography Help Your Insurance Claim?

Employing a thermography scan before you make your insurance claim can identify a wide range of issues you might never have suspected otherwise. Either fire or flooding, for instance, can result in electrical hotspots, which will cause trouble somewhere down the line, or damage to the insulation.

Water damage can also cause mould, which not only undermines the building’s structure, but can also be a health hazard. If you identify any of these through thermography, the Loss Adjuster will have little choice but to include them in your insurance claim.

Even if you’re not making a claim, having a thermographic scan of the building could save you money in the long run. Many of these problems, from hotspots to damaged insulation, can occur without a traumatic event, and fixing them could mean a substantial improvement on the energy efficiency of the building.

At Allied Claims, we offer thermography to our clients, and we’d strongly advise you to use it if you’ve had a fire or flooding incident at your home or business premises. Feel free to get in touch with us if you need to know more.

Insurance Claims for Water Damage and Dry Rot

After the kind of cold spell delivered by the “Beast from the East”, the number of burst water pipes skyrockets. This is because pipes can crack when they freeze, and water starts to flood out when they thaw.

If your home or business premises has been flooded, it’s vital to get the drying-out process started as soon as possible, and your insurer’s Loss Adjuster should be arranging that. The trouble is that everyone else is claiming at the same time, and it could take up to four weeks from making your insurance claim till the Loss Adjuster gets round to dealing with it.

Even when the drying-out process does get under way, you need to be sure it’s being done properly. If only the most obvious damp places are dried, it could mean trouble further down the line.

Drying Out Your Building

If water has leaked upstairs and seeped through to the lower storey, the wooden joists under the upper floor and the timber frame in the partition walls are likely to be saturated. Similarly, if the floor at ground level has been flooded, the water will be lurking in the sub-floor void and affecting the timbers there. Failing to dry these out thoroughly can result in dry rot developing, which can create serious problems later.

Unfortunately, even when the Loss Adjuster does bring in a restoration company, they may just install heaters and dehumidifiers that only dry out the surfaces and interior finishes of walls and ceilings. You as policyholder need to insist on seeing a complete specification of the work any contractor is going to carry out as part of your insurance claim.

Of course, it’s not always easy for an individual policyholder to stand firm against the Loss Adjuster, especially if you’re not completely sure of their rights. And that’s where an independent Loss Assessor like Allied Claims comes in. Not only will we get things moving in the first place, but we’ll also insist on full specifications and make sure they cover the hidden damage, as well as the obvious.

If you need to make an insurance claim for water damage or dry rot, get in touch to find out how Allied Claims can help you.

The Loss Assessor’s Role in Your Business Interruption Claim

It’s devastating enough for your property to suffer fire, flood or theft, but far worse if the property is also your livelihood. If you suddenly lose either the property itself or any assets it contains, such as stock or machinery, it could mean the end of your business.

Fortunately, you have the option of taking out business interruption insurance. This provides cover till your business has recovered to where it was before the disaster. It enables you to recover losses to your gross profits, while also covering any additional costs — renting temporary premises, for instance.

There can still be problems with your insurance claim, though. You could find that the indemnity period on your policy isn’t long enough for you to cover your costs, or that your business is underinsured. These and other factors may mean that the insurer’s Loss Adjuster won’t award you the full amount you need — and that can be as devastating as not having cover at all.

How Can a Loss Assessor Help You?

Even if you’ve made sure your business interruption insurance is accurate and up to date, there are plenty of pitfalls you can encounter in making your insurance claim. And this is where using an independent Loss Assessor can be the difference between whether or not your business survives.

A Loss Assessor provides you with help that’s at least as expert as the insurer’s Loss Adjuster, whose job includes finding legitimate reasons not to pay you. The Loss Assessor will help you compile a detailed claim that accurately calculates your loss of profits. This will be based on an realistic projection of how your business would have performed over the relevant period, drawn from recent performance and genuine forecasts.

Loss of business through a disaster is always going to be a trying time, but you can recover from it if your business interruption claim is properly handled. Why not get in touch with us to see how we can help you?

Are Your Rodding? Your Downpipes, That Is

It happens every Autumn. The falling leaves and twigs get blown about and end up in your gutters and downpipes, stopping the rainwater flowing away as it’s meant to. If the debris isn’t cleared, you could end up with an over-flowing pipe and flooding, and it could even damage the structure of your house.

You need to get your downpipes rodded.

This isn’t just because it’s a hassle to repair the damage, though. It’s actually a condition of many insurance policies that you have your gutters cleared and your downpipes rodded at least once a year, and your insurance claim may be refused otherwise.

The catch is that you have to be able to prove to the insurance company’s loss adjuster that it’s been done. If you’re doing it yourself, take pictures of yourself rodding — though be sure you stay safe if you’re taking selfies up on a ladder.

If you’re hiring a roofer, a receipt is essential. All too often, clients tell me they’ve had their pipes rodded, but they paid cash in hand with nothing written down. It may be tempting to save money that way, but it could end up costing you far more if you have to make an insurance claim.

Look After Your Roof

The guttering and downpipes need annual attention, at a minimum, but that’s not the limit to the attention your roof requires. A leaking roof can do untold damage to your home and, again, the loss adjuster is likely to refuse your claim if you can’t demonstrate that you’ve looked after your roof.

If you have a flat roof, in particular, there’s likely to be a clause in your insurance policy that you must have it maintained every ten years. Whatever type of roof you have, though, it’s vital to keep it in good condition and hang onto the proof. Otherwise, you may end up having to pay for the total cost of repairing your flooded home.

 

The Causes, Symptoms and Cures for Subsidence

Any suspicion of subsidence strikes fear into the heart of homeowners, and for good reason, as it can mean a substantial repair bill. As long as you don’t neglect the problem, it should be covered by your insurance policy, but it’s important not to give the Loss Adjuster any chance to refuse your claim.

Subsidence is when the building’s foundations slowly sink, and is most often caused by nearby trees and shrubs sucking moisture from the soil, leaking drains softening the ground, or old mine-workings beneath the house.

Although subsidence could happen to any building, the biggest risk is for Victorian and Edwardian homes, which tend to have very shallow foundations.  There’s also a particular risk if the house is built on clay-rich soil — which accounts for a good deal of the South-East.

Unless there’s a specific cause, such as a leaking drain or mine-workings, it usually starts with trees or shrubs sucking up the moisture from the soil. As the clay dries, a “shrink-swell” effect hardens and cracks it, and the foundations start to sink.

Subsidence is usually combined in your insurance policy with heave, a separate but related problem. This is caused by the ground becoming saturated, lifting up and sometimes sideways, and can result in symptoms similar to subsidence.

Identifying, Preventing and Fixing Subsidence

The most obvious signs of subsidence are:

  • Cracks appearing in brickwork and plaster, especially if they’re wider at the top.
  • Doors and windows sticking with no obvious reason.
  • Ripples in the wallpaper when there’s no sign of damp.

Cracks can also be caused by the house settling, especially if it’s new, but if they keep widening the chances are it’s subsidence. If you notice any of these issues, it’s important to inform your insurer at once.

It’s also advisable to have it looked at by a qualified surveyor. If there is subsidence, it may be possible to solve it by removing tree roots or repairing a leaking drain, but it’s likely your home will have to be underpinned, which involves adding extra support for your foundations. This should normally be covered by your insurance policy, but it may involve an excess up to £1,000.

In addition, insurers often regard an underpinned house to be at greater risk, so you’ll face higher premiums. It makes sense, therefore, to prevent subsidence from happening and avoid having to make an insurance claim. Precautions to take include:

  • Before you buy a house, check the surveyor’s report for any signs of subsidence.
  • Don’t have trees or shrubs closer than 5-10 metres to the house.
  • Prune the branches of any trees regularly.
  • Make sure your pipes and drainage systems are well maintained, so they don’t leak into the ground.

Legal Expenses Cover and Your Home Insurance

Most insurance claims are straightforward. If you’ve had a fire, your home’s been flooded or your roof has been blown off, there shouldn’t be a problem claiming — although the company’s Loss Adjuster may still find a flaw in your claim.

Sometimes, though, an insurance claim can be a lot more complex. You could find yourself having to seek legal advice, or even pursuing or defending a civil action.

This is a problem, since solicitors don’t come cheap. If you have legal expenses cover as part of your insurance policy, though, both legal advice and costs in a civil case would be covered.

How Does Legal Expenses Cover Protect You?

Having legal expenses cover can protect you against legal expenses in a wide range of situations, including:

  • Personal injury or death — If someone is claiming compensation for an injury sustained on your property, your legal expenses will usually be covered up to a specified amount.
  • Purchase or sale of property — You’re protected against expenses from contractual disputes during the sale of a property — with an estate agent or removal company, for instance.
  • Property disputes — The costs of a dispute over boundaries, noisy neighbours, damage to property and similar causes will be covered.
  • Consumer disputes — If you buy, sell or hire goods in your home, your expenses for disputes are covered.
  • Employment disputes — Legal expenses cover can pay the costs for an employment dispute, such as unfair dismissal, involving a tribunal.
  • Tax investigation — You can claim legal costs involved with HMRC investigating your tax affairs.

Legal expenses cover may already be included in your home insurance policy, but if you don’t know it’s there you could lose out. On the other hand, if you find your policy doesn’t include it, perhaps it’s time to rethink your home insurance cover.

Seven Things That Could Invalidate Your Building Insurance Claim

  1. Leaving Your Home Empty — If you leave your home unoccupied for more than thirty consecutive days, the insurer could refuse to pay on any insurance claim you might make, whether that’s fire, flood or burglary. Make sure you arrange cover for your home to be empty, whether as a one-off or ongoing.
  1. DIY Disasters — DIY can save you money, but it can be very expensive too. If your insurance policy doesn’t include accidental damage, you could end up having to foot the bill for drilling through the water pipes. Make sure you’re covered before starting.
  1. Wilful Damage — Whether it’s you or a visitor to your home that’s responsible, most insurance policies don’t cover wilful damage. That includes unruly guests at a party, for example. So make sure you trust the people you invite into your home.
  1. Neglect — There are always maintenance jobs to keep your home in good shape, whether that’s clearing your guttering or having your wiring checked regularly. If you don’t bother and it leads to a disaster, your insurer’s Loss Adjuster might refuse your claim, so make sure you keep your home in good repair.
  1. Home Improvement — It might seem odd that home improvement can be a problem, but you could end up being underinsured. If you haven’t informed your insurer about a new extension or loft conversion, they won’t be covered in any valuation for repairs, so get everything sorted out before you start the improvements.
  1. Vermin — Creatures like rats or mice can cause substantial damage, such as chewing through wires, and this may not be covered by your insurance policy. Check your policy for what’s covered, and deal with any sign of vermin promptly — most local councils have a pest control department.
  1. Not Informing About Regular Guests — If you regularly take in guests, for instance as an Airbnb host or short-term rentals, you must inform your insurer, or your insurance policy may be invalid under non-disclosure rules. Check with your insurer what implications any arrangements will have on your policy.

Top 5 Building Insurance Claims

Most people who own a property, whether it’s their home or a business premises, have building insurance for it. In fact, it’s normally compulsory if you have a mortgage on the building — otherwise, it’s just overwhelmingly sensible.

A normal building insurance policy covers a wide range of mishaps. Accidental damage is the most common insurance claim, but others are frequently found. Here are the top five:

  • Accidental Damage — this could be anything from the kids kicking a football through the window to cracking the wash-basin by dropping something into it.
  • Weather Damage — extreme weather can damage your property either directly, such as a storm blowing off tiles, or indirectly, such as a tree being blown onto your roof.
  • Water Escaping — the most common reason for this is pipes being allowed to freeze and burst.
  • Burglary — a break-in doesn’t only affect the stolen possessions, you may also need to claim to repair a smashed window or replace a door.
  • Malicious Damage — this may occur during a burglary, but you could also find yourself the victim of vandalism.

Prevention Is Better than Cure

Most building insurance policies allow you to claim for all these and more, from fire damage to the effects of freezing weather. However, the insurance company’s Loss Adjuster will be on the look-out for any negligence on your part that may invalidate your claim. The best solution is to give no reason for this, and here are few of the most common examples:

  • Improving the standard of your locks and installing a burglar alarm can significantly reduce the risk of being burgled, but if it does happen the Loss Adjuster would find it difficult to turn down your claim.
  • If you have a chimney, it’s vital to keep it swept. This will reduce the risk of fire, as well as satisfying your insurer.
  • Leaving your gutters blocked with dirt or leaves can cause water damage and could leave you at risk of your claim being rejected.
  • Freezing weather can cause a range of problems, from structural damage to burst water pipes. These may be covered by your building insurance, but it’s far better to prepare before the weather turns cold.

You can claim for many things on your building insurance, but it’s even better to reduce your chances of needing to claim. And, in any case, your precautions mean the Loss Adjuster will have no ammunition for rejecting your claim.

What Is Non-Standard Risk?

In some circumstances, a normal home insurance policy may not be enough to cover your property. Reasons for this might include a history of flooding or subsidence, or that you’ve been declared bankrupt at some point.

These are defined as a non-standard risk, and the company’s Loss Adjuster may refuse your insurance claim if you only have a standard policy.

Examples of Non-Standard Risk

  • Properties with a history of flooding or in areas affected by extreme weather. You can get help from the government’s Flood Re scheme.
  • Properties that have been monitored for subsidence, landslip or heave, or had their foundations underpinned or reinforced.
  • If your home is used as a business property, as opposed to informal working from home.
  • If your home is going to be left unoccupied for a long period — usually over 30 days, but it’s important to check this.
  • If any occupant has ever been declared bankrupt, has unspent or pending criminal convictions, or has ever been refused insurance or had terms imposed.
  • A property whose roof is made of materials including asbestos, corrugated iron, felt on timber, fibreglass, glass, metal, plastic, shingle or thatch.
  • A property whose exterior walls are made from materials including timber, asbestos, metal, fibreglass, glass, plastic or prefabricated materials. If any part of your property is built from less usual materials, check with your insurance company.

Note that this isn’t an exhaustive list. Always make sure you check your policy carefully and declare any circumstance which could be relevant, or the Loss Adjuster might turn you down if you need to make an insurance claim.