If your home is affected by storm damage, your insurer will only pay out if storm conditions can be proved. One member suffered storm damage and was refused a pay out because the insurance company could not determine whether a storm had actually taken place.
Most insurance companies use a company called Weathernet to determine what conditions were present at the date and time of a claim. Unfortunately, some of these weather stations can be up to 20 miles away from your home and cannot therefore specifically confirm exact weather conditions. If your insurance company rejects your claim, ensure you ask your insurance company in writing where the weather station is located in relation to your home, you may find that they overturn the decision.
When assessing your claim, most insurers will take into account the condition of your property and how well maintained it is. They will send a surveyor to your home to check the damage. The surveyor will ask you to sign a report. You do not legally have to sign anything so don’t sign it!
If you have a buy to let property, loss of rent should also be covered under your insurance policy. If your insurer says that you are not covered, check your policy carefully – you may find that you are!Contact your insurance companies claim line, tell them the following:
- Date and time of the incident and what type of incident.
- If it is an emergency, confirm that you can call out an engineer and that the insurer will cover the cost.
- Advise whether you are happy to use one of their recommended contractors or whether you want to use your own.
- If the property is not in a liveable condition, you need to confirm that to the insurer so that they can help you secure alternative accommodation immediately.
You will need to have the following handy:
- All receipts in relation to the claim (including receipts for emergency works you may have carried out).
- Receipts of property damaged or missing.
If your insurer accepts the claim:
- Once the emergency has been dealt with, they may send a surveyor to your property to assess the claim. The surveyor may ask you to sign a report. Do not sign it, you are not legally obliged to sign anything!
- The insurer may again recommend one of their contractors to start remedial work. You have the right to choose your own.
- Do not tackle any works until you have been given the go ahead by the insurer or they may not payout.
If your insurer rejects the claim:
Write a letter of complaint setting out the following (write it in a story form):
On [day] [month] 201[ ] I contacted your company to advise of an incident in relation to storm damage to my property.
You rejected my claim. I feel that this was unfairly rejected because [fill out why you believe your claim should be upheld.]
I look forward to hearing from you.
[Your name/Address etc.]
Regardless of whether you have been rejected verbally, you should never take no for an answer.
Your insurer may then send a surveyor/loss adjuster to your property to assess the claim.
Your insurer will then write to you formally outlining their final response.
If you are not happy with it, you can write to the Ombudsman outlining your complaint in detail. Include all correspondence between you and the insurer. You will also need to give the Ombudsman a copy of your insurance policy document.