Tag Archives: Loss Assessor

Have You Rodded Your Pipes Yet?

Autumn is a dangerous time for your guttering. Falling leaves get blown around in the wind, and other debris gets blown with them. And some of this debris can end up in your gutters and downpipes. If it’s left, the rainwater can’t run away and could end up flooding your home, perhaps causing structural damage.

It’s time to get rodding.

Preventing damage to your home should be enough reason, but failing to clear your gutters and downpipes could prevent you from making an insurance claim. This is because there’s usually a clause in your policy specifying that you have to get your guttering cleared and rodded at least once a year.

It’s not enough to do it, though. If you’re making a claim, the loss adjuster will require proof before allowing it to go through. If you feel confident enough to do the rodding yourself, you could get someone to take pictures of you. Or even take selfies — but remember that safety comes first.

If you’re hiring a contractor to rod your pipes, it’s vital you have a receipt. This isn’t always as straightforward as it might seem, as some contractors prefer to work cash in hand, with no documentation. That might be cheaper in the short term, but it could end up costing you a lot more, if you have nothing to show the loss adjuster.

Care for Your Roof

Your roof does a vital job protecting you and your home, and it’s essential to take care of it. It’s not just the guttering and downpipes that need regular attention. If you end up making an insurance claim for a leaking roof, you might be in trouble if you haven’t had it checked lately.

This requirement is often written into insurance policies, especially if you have a flat roof. Even if it’s not explicitly stated, though, failure to look after your roof could still mean you end up paying for the entire cost of repairing flood damage to your home. All for the lack of a bit of rodding.

Safeguard Your Business with Key Person Insurance

Any business, but especially a small one, can be vulnerable to losing a key person in its operations, whether permanently or for an extended period. This could be the owner or founder, but equally it could be someone in a crucial position who has knowledge and experience that would be difficult to replace.

Losing a person like this to serious illness or death can be terminal for the business. If this is the owner, for instance, it could prove impossible to afford the costs of bringing someone in to run the company. This would be devastating both for the lives of the owner’s family and for employees and customers.

This is why insurance companies offer Key Person Insurance (traditionally referred to as Key Man Insurance). This means that, if the crucial person dies or is incapacitated, the business can make an insurance claim to help it survive the crisis.

How Does Key Person Insurance Work?

Anyone involved in the business can be designated a Key Person, and you can have as many as you like — though, of course, a separate premium will have to be paid for each. If this person should unexpectedly die or develop an illness recognised by the insurer’s Loss Adjuster as a critical illness, the business can make an insurance claim.

The normal result will be a lump-sum pay out. This would, for instance, allow you to recruit a new person with the required expertise, or perhaps pay for training an existing employee to fill the role.

It’s important to be clear exactly what the policy does and doesn’t cover. For example, a policy may be just for critical illness, or it may offer life and critical illness cover. In the latter case, it’s also important to bear in mind that this isn’t the same thing as personal life cover. The Key Person may need a separate life policy, especially if they have a family. Your insurance broker should explain exactly what you’re insured for.

Do You Have Insurance Cover for Non-Forced Entry to your Home or Office?

There are many circumstances in which you may give your keys to someone providing a service. This could be a cleaner, a babysitter or a builder, plumber or electrician doing work in your home or office.

Most of the time, these people are completely reliable, but it only takes one exception to cause you trouble. Can you imagine coming back to find someone you trusted has made off with your property? Could it get worse?

It could. If you try to make an insurance claim for the loss, you’re likely to find it rejected. This is because the insurance company’s Loss Adjuster will point to it being a “non-forced entry”, which isn’t covered by most domestic or commercial property insurance.

Is There a Way of Getting Covered?

Any company that sends employees into customers’ homes should cover this risk in their insurance policy — but that doesn’t guarantee they’ll have done so. One of the checks you can do when choosing a service provider is to ask to see their policy.

Even so, it can still go wrong, since the policy is only any good if the company is paying the premiums at the time of the incident. The alternative is to discuss the matter with your insurance broker, who should be able to find you a policy that does cover this kind of insurance claim.

Even then, though, you aren’t home and dry. In order to ensure the Loss Adjuster won’t refuse your claim, it’s important to notify the insurer whenever you’re going to give a service provider access to your home. This is a requirement of all policies that cover non-forced entry.

This is a very real issue. In a recent case Allied Claims is aware of, a homeowner ended up out of pocket by £48,000 after being burgled during renovations, because the insurer hadn’t been informed. Be sure you don’t make such an expensive lapse.

Should I Claim on My Building or Contents Insurance?

If your home or business property has suffered from fire, flood, criminal or accidental damage, shouldn’t it be covered by the insurance policy you’ve taken out? Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple.

There are two types of property insurance — building insurance and contents insurance. If you’re fully insured, you should have both, but you have to make an insurance claim under the correct policy. If you get it wrong, the insurer’s Loss Adjuster will turn down your claim.

It should be easy. Building insurance is for the building itself, while contents insurance is for anything you might put into it. There are grey areas, though, and the Loss Adjuster may have their own interpretation.

What Problems Might I Encounter?

The building insurance is normally interpreted as including fixtures, such as doors or water pipes, while contents insurance would include furniture, along with other movable possession. Some items, though, could come under either category, depending on how the Loss Adjuster interprets them.

Carpets, for instance, are fixed to the floor and should therefore be fixtures. However, this could depend on whether they were in place when you bought the house, or whether you’ve had them laid yourself. Even laminate flooring can in some circumstances be interpreted as a movable item, despite being glued and fixed under the skirting board.

This applies all over the house. If you have fitted units in your rooms, they would normally be regarded as fixtures, but you can’t count on it. Again, this may depend on whether you’ve installed them yourself.

So what can you do about it? Well, you could check with your Insurer, who should be up front about their interpretation of your policy. Allied Claims would recommend, though, that you arrange your policy through an insurance broker, who’ll clarify everything, rather than try to do it yourself.

And, of course, use a Loss Assessor when you need to make an insurance claim.

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.

Insurance Policies and the Average Clause

We hate it when anyone loses out on their insurance claim. During a single fortnight recently, two Policyholders we’re acquainted with lost large amounts — and the cause in both cases was the Average Clause in the Insurance Policy.

These people had £50,000 and £135,000 docked from their pay-outs — and not because the Loss Adjuster was being at all devious. It was because they hadn’t realised they needed to keep their policies up to date over the years, in particular updating the value of their properties. They’d simply renewed the policy as if the value hadn’t changed.

This is where the Average Clause comes in.

When you insure your assets, such as your home, one of the pieces of information you supply to the Insurer is the “insurance value”. This becomes the sum insured under your policy and the basis for calculating your Insurance Premium.

If the insurance value on your policy is lower than the actual value when you come to make an insurance claim, you won’t have paid enough on your premiums to cover the full value. Not unreasonably, Insurers are unwilling to cover the extra costs.

The Condition of Average

The Condition of Average is inserted into insurance policies to protect Insurers from this situation. Put most simply, it says that, for instance, if you’ve only declared 50% of the insurance value, you’ve only paid 50% of the premiums and the Loss Adjuster will thus only allow 50% of your claim.

To take an example, if the insurance policy covering a building is for £50,000 and the actual insurance value at the time of loss is £100,000, the proportion of Average will be just 50%. That means that, whether the loss is minor or total, you’ll only receive 50% of any claim you make.

In this situation, if you were claiming £50,000, with an excess of £250, the calculation would be:

  • 50% Average of a £50,000 claim = £25,000
  • Less policy excess of £250 = £24,750 pay-out
  • Total loss on £50,000 claim = £25,250

A loss of this size could be devastating, so if you’re unsure whether you’re up to date under the Average Clause, consult your insurance broker as soon as possible. Or you’re very welcome to get in touch with us for a chat about it.

Damage Mitigation — Why It’s Vital for Your Insurance Claim

Suppose you’ve been burgled. You find your door broken in and your most valuable possessions gone. You’d call the police, naturally, but would you then go off to work without bothering to get your door repaired enough to lock it?

Of course you wouldn’t, but it does happen, and anyone behaving like that is creating serious problems for themselves.

Damage mitigation is an important principle in both law and insurance claims. It means that, if you’ve suffered loss, you must take “reasonable action” to prevent further loss, otherwise either the courts or the insurance company’s Loss Adjuster can refuse to compensate you.

This isn’t bloody-mindedness. If, for example, you were to go straight out after a break-in and leave your home unsecured, it would be impossible to prove what had been taken in the original burglary and what had gone as a result of your negligence. In those circumstances, the Loss Adjuster might be justified in refusing to pay any of your claim.

The same applies if you leave your home or business premises at risk after a fire or flood, rather than undertaking essential structural work at the earliest possible opportunity. Damage mitigation is vital if your insurance claim is going to succeed — as well as being common sense.

How Can a Loss Assessor Help with Damage Mitigation?

There are many reasons why it’s vital to appoint a Loss Assessor as soon as you know you’ll be making an insurance claim, and damage mitigation is one of the most important.

A Loss Assessor will always work for you to get the compensation due to you — after all, they don’t get paid if you don’t. But it’s no good having a Loss Assessor if you’ve already failed to meet your damage mitigation obligations.

If you appoint a Loss Assessor at once, they’ll be able to see what needs to be done straight away, such as emergency work to prevent further damage to your property, and arrange for it to be done. They’ll also undertake a thorough survey of the damage, which can be used to support your claim for the losses you’ve suffered.

Appointing a Loss Assessor at the earliest opportunity could make the difference between success and failure in your insurance claim.

Remember to Have Your Chimneys Swept Before Winter Sets In

How long is it since you last cleaned your chimneys?

As winter draws in, there’s nothing like a roaring fire in the grate to make you warm and cosy in your home. It comes with a price, though, and that includes have the chimney swept on a regular basis. A blocked or dirty chimney can cause serious damage — perhaps even a fire that destroys your home.

This is because any soot left in the flue can ignite when it heats up, not to mention other debris, such as birds’ nests or spider webs, that might have found its way into the chimney. At best, that could damage your flue, and at worst it could burn your house down — and, if you try to make an insurance claim when you’ve neglected your chimney, the loss adjuster could turn you down.

A blocked flue can also release deadly carbon monoxide into your home, from the gases coming back down the chimney.

How Often Should a Chimney Be Swept?

The fuel used in the fireplace dictates how often your chimney needs to be swept. A coal-fire chimney should be swept at least twice a year and a wood-fire chimney quarterly when the fireplace is in use. If you’re using smokeless, gas or oil fuels, you’re usually safe keeping it to once a year — but remember that all gas-related work should be done by a Gas Safe engineer. Always be safe with your gas appliances.

A few basic safeguards will help you enjoy your fire securely and make certain that, if you do suffer a fire, the loss adjuster will have no reason to refuse your claim:

  • Have your chimney swept before you start using the fireplace.
  • Keep the grate clean, making sure it’s free from ash and soot.
  • Avoid using damp wood, as cooler smoke creates more ash.
  • Using a fireguard in front of an open fire can prevent sparks flying out from the embers.
  • Don’t leave a fire burning unattended — extinguish it before you leave the house or go to bed.
  • If you’re using wood, don’t leave your supply too close to the fire, as it could ignite.
  • And — invest in a carbon monoxide alarm. Your life and your family’s lives might depend on it.

Chimney sweeps used to be considered very lucky. Maybe that’s because people back then realised that their job could save lives.

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.

 

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.