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      08-05-2010, 07:27 AM   #1
jinjur
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Unhappy Non-Car related advice REALLY needed team :(

Hey,

Hope you all dont mind if i ask a generic non-car related quandry.

I always get a good feel of llevel headedness and general common sense on this board so I thought i would put the following situation out there to see if the experienced among you might be able to offer advice.

Ok, here goes.

My mother is widowed and 76 years of age, she lives in the family chalet bungalow and has done for over 30 years.

She has ALWAYS been insured with Santander and their previous incarnations (abbey etc)

Recently, we noted a huge crack on the gable wall of her house and upon investigation, it appears that an overflow pipe had been trickling water down the wall for what could have been years, eventually getting into the wall and causing pretty serious structural problems. The (rather old) blockwork appears to be breaking down.

So anyway, I got a structural engineer known through some friends to do a report and send it off to santander to try and process some form of claim.

Now recently, my mum received a letter back from Santander to the effect of "because of clause this, section that and the other, we will not cover the damage to the house, sorry"

Basically, they state that the pipe that had been draining water over the wall was poor workmanship and the lead flashing at the chimney, was also poor workmanship and that this is not covered.

So now, there is my mum, not a bean to her name apart from a pension, left with a house that is crumbling. She can hear bits of blockwork falling down the cavity on windy nights while she is in her bed.

Can this be right?

What on earth is house insurance for in that case? How do they know that poor workmanship caused this....even if the engineer included it in his report, how can they prove that this was done during her insured period of the house?

The insurer certainly did not come out and inspect said house when she took out the policy so how do they know.....what if it was done before she insured it?

If you were insuring a house right now, could you declare modifications or ALL work since its original inception? I couldnt do it on mine and i have been there only 3 years.

Im so gutted guys and i feel utterly helpless....I just cant help my mum here.

Any and all advice most graciously appreciated guys

Regards
Andy
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      08-05-2010, 07:35 AM   #2
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Andy,

Sorry to hear about this.

Our 60 gallon water tank (in the roof) tipped over and flooded our sitting room a month or so ago - insurance won't pay out because they said the tank hadn't be placed on a sufficiently well made stand (which it hadn't!).

So I ask the same question - WHAT IS INSURANCE FOR?!

Best of luck with your situation - sounds tricky.
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      08-05-2010, 07:36 AM   #3
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Insurance policys vary so much, you need to check your Mums out carefully.

See if it covers "Standard Perils", this SHOULD cover water leaks from a fixed point.
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      08-05-2010, 07:42 AM   #4
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don't insurance companies have the "home must be kept in a good state of repair" kind of clause.

I think something like the drainage of water on a property is the owners responsability to not come into contact with the brick work.

Insurance company will argue inspections of the property should be carried out by an expert every several years to find issues like this. Your Mum living there for 30 years will mean no-one will have picked this issue up as part of doing a structural survey on a home before its purchased, like most homes get.

It doesn't sound good for you

BTW, I don't currently own a home so lets hope I'm talking Bull!
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      08-05-2010, 07:45 AM   #5
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We had a similar problem on our last house.

A leaking gutter had been dripping on a window cill for years and the water had got into the cavity and rotted a wooden bessamer beam holding up the back of the house. (100yr old house).

This had been going on for years before we moved in, but the insurers still didn't pay because in their eyes we should have found it by survey when we bought the house and declared it then as it was due to poor maintenance previously.

It cost us 10grand to get the back of the house re built with a new RSJ in.

They're kind of right really, insurance is for accidents, not to cover negligence or excuse the need for maintenance etc.

Note to all - get that dripping overflow fixed before its too late
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      08-05-2010, 08:02 AM   #6
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DB raises a good point, it does not cover lack of maintenance. In JJ's case it does seem very harsh and it may be worth an independent inspection and if the sum is significant, legal advice.

In 335d's case, was it a new / replacement tank support that failed or the original? If it was original then you'd have a good case against the insurer as you could not be reasonably expected to inspect it for suitability yourself. If it was a replacement then sue the cowboy that fitted it.
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      08-05-2010, 08:32 AM   #7
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Is it worth pursuing via the insurance ombudsman, or go to the press via one of those help columns.....anything is worth a go.
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      08-05-2010, 08:46 AM   #8
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xenon - it was a replacement support and the installer is being "pursued"

Really bricked ourselves when it happened - over a quarter of a tonne of water tipping over right above your head (I was playing with my toddler son just below it) makes a HELL of a crash.
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      08-05-2010, 09:02 AM   #9
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I can imagine. It does so much damage too. We had a leak from the upstairs cistern - nothing like as devestating as yours but still makes a hell of a mess.
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      08-05-2010, 09:07 AM   #10
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Very close family member of mine does Insurance Inspection work and is the M&E Director of a West London council, as well as being a Chartered Surveyor.

Basically what I'm saying is if anyone will know he will.

PM me what you can of your insurance cover contract and I'll get him to have a look in the next couple of days.
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      08-05-2010, 09:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marlonmarc View Post
Very close family member of mine does Insurance Inspection work and is the M&E Director of a West London council, as well as being a Chartered Surveyor.

Basically what I'm saying is if anyone will know he will.

PM me what you can of your insurance cover contract and I'll get him to have a look in the next couple of days.
Will do buddy, would appreciate that.

Oh, and sorry for sticking this in the wrong section mods.



Andy

Last edited by jinjur; 08-05-2010 at 09:26 AM.
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      08-05-2010, 12:52 PM   #12
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That's bad news.

I'm looking for Buildings and Contents insurance now as my policy is up for renewal in Sept.
Every company I've spoken to has asked the same question - "is the property in a good state of repair and well maintained",unfortunately it sounds like that will be their get out clause.

Best of luck with it though




Quote:
Originally Posted by 335diesel View Post
Andy,

Sorry to hear about this.

Our 60 gallon water tank (in the roof) tipped over and flooded our sitting room a month or so ago - insurance won't pay out because they said the tank hadn't be placed on a sufficiently well made stand (which it hadn't!).

So I ask the same question - WHAT IS INSURANCE FOR?!

Best of luck with your situation - sounds tricky.
I would have thought that would be covered under the Buildings insurance which is your landlord's responsibility.
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      08-05-2010, 01:59 PM   #13
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Speak to the Citizens Advice Bureau
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      08-05-2010, 02:01 PM   #14
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Is this the overflow pipe from the F&E tank in the loft or cold water storage tank?
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      08-05-2010, 02:06 PM   #15
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Sorry to hear about this...

Never been in such a situation luckily...I would get in touch with the Insurance Ombudsman and Citizens Advice Bureau as others have said...
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      08-06-2010, 03:50 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hotcoupe View Post


I would have thought that would be covered under the Buildings insurance which is your landlord's responsibility.
Yep but building's insurance won't pay up. We are pretty close to the landlord (look after there dog, they look after our little boy, etc) so it's rather annoying that the insurers are wriggling out of it. New carpets, redecoration of ceilings, etc plus a new water tank and stand.
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