Tag Archives: loss assessors

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.

Building Insurance and Subsidence

Subsidence doesn’t only involve spectacular holes that make the news. Any building in an area where the soil has a high clay content could be at risk of subsidence.

Of course, insurance companies know all about this, and if your home is at higher than normal risk of subsidence, your insurance policy will include a higher excess than normal. In fact, most policies specify a higher excess for subsidence than other risks.

Avoiding Subsidence

If you live in an area like this, the best way to avoid having to negotiate with the Loss Adjuster for a subsidence insurance claim is not to plant large trees or shrubs near the building. However, if there are already trees when you move in, you may need the Council’s permission to cut them down, so you’ll need to talk to them first.

It’s not always just a matter of cutting down the obvious trees, though. Allied Claims have encountered cases when repairs have been made only for other trees to cause more subsidence. In any case, trees aren’t the only reason for subsidence. Leaking drains beneath or near the house can also be a cause.

After subsidence has occurred and been confirmed, the first thing is for the cause to be determined. This is likely to involve a period of monitoring, which can be for as long as eighteen months, before any repairs are made. Only when you know all the facts can Allied Claims present your case to the Loss Adjuster.

How Much Insurance Cover Should You Have?

How much should you insure your possessions for? It’s a tricky question, since too low means you wouldn’t be able to replace everything if you made a claim, while too much means you’re wasting money on the premiums, and the Loss Adjuster will require the correct valuation when you claim. What you need is just enough cover.

In addition to the basic cover, contents insurance providers offer various add-ons. Perhaps the most important of these is Accidental Cover, which we’d advise taking up, while other extras like Legal Cover and Home Emergency Cover depend on the circumstances. If you’ve done the sensible thing and gone through an insurance broker, they’ll advise you on these.

Valuing Your Possessions

So how do you get an accurate valuation of your possessions? It’s a laborious job, but you only have to do it once. Just go from room to room putting each item and its value on a spreadsheet, not forgetting those obscure items (bike, barbecue, exercise equipment) that you used once or twice and stuck in the shed or attic.

You’ll be surprised how much it all adds up to — and the good news is that, once you’ve done it, you’ll only need to add new items as you get them.

For anything regarded as high-value by Insurers, you’ll need to make up a second spreadsheet. Anything worth more than the Insurer’s high-risk single item value must be itemised in the insurance policy, or the Loss Adjuster will refuse to pay out on a claim for those items.

Insurance Claim and Occupancy Clause on Household Policies

Water damage insurance claim

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.