Is an act of God like lightning or flood damage covered?
Yes! In fact insurance policies fundamental cover is for natural disasters that were unexpected and unforeseen – fire, lightning, subsidence, flooding, burst pipes, storm, theft and malicious damage are just a few of the types of damage usually covered and all consequential loss resulting from these ‘insured perils’, as they are known, are covered.
The insurance company is sending out a loss adjuster so why would I need my own a loss assessor?
The insurance company’s loss adjuster represents the interests of the Insurance company. Loss assessors on the other hand are independent of the insurance companies and represent your interests. Having a loss assessor is similar to having your own solicitor to represent your interests in a legal matter; they are acting solely on your behalf to protect your rights. The insurance company adjuster is under no obligation to assist you to obtain your full entitlement, they are there to check if the claim is covered, to limit the scope of repairs and ultimately their mandate is to reduce the cost of repair and replacement.
If I make a claim how will a loss assessor benefit me?
There are several benefits as follows:
- Being an expert in claims they will be able to assess the best course of action quickly to ensure the best outcome for a client
- Help obtain emergency interim payments where necessary
- Prevent insurers from trying to avoid liability where a claim is covered under the policy
- You will not be burdened with the various tasks and collating of paperwork necessary to progress a successful claim
- You will not have to deal with the often bureaucratic and confusing claims system most insurance companies have in place
- You are engaging a highly experienced expert to negotiate your claim, they will achieve your proper entitlement and do it more quickly than would be the case if you made the claim yourself
- Invaluable advice on repair and restoration of property from years of experience
- Recommend other experts or specialist contractors for restoration as necessary
- Assistance in having the retention monies released
I’m not sure if my policy covers the damage that has happened – what do I do?
Check your policy schedule and booklet (if you can find it). If you still cannot establish if you have a bona fide claim then contact an independent assessor or your insurance broker.
Sometimes it requires a site visit to determine if your insurance claim is covered.
Our first consultation is free with no obligations and we will give you the best advice possible whether the claim is covered or not and if any third party have a liability.
If I make a claim will my premiums automatically increase?
That depends on your policy but in general there many insurers will apply an increase to premiums following a claim. If several claims are made in a short period of time will almost certainly be an increase. Other situations where premiums may increase is if your property is in a flood risk zone or high crime area. Some property/household policies have a no claims bonus and where that occurs there will be loss of the no claims discount. However, if there is damage in excess of €1000 then it may be prudent to claim under your property insurance.
The buildings should be insured for their up-to-date rebuilding cost and contents should be valued by the new for old replacement cost including valuables. In commercial insurance the value of machinery, equipment, fixtures and fittings as well as stock all need to have an accurate annual valuation to make sure these physical assets are properly insured. In commercial claims Business Interruption costs must be considered and at least 1 years’ gross profit be accurately calculated to insure. Buildings insurance can be approximately calculated using the Society of Chartered Surveyors (SCS) rebuild cost table/calculator. For accurate valuation we suggest you discuss with an assessor or surveyor. Contents value should be reviewed annually to ensure these are correct.
I have a 20-year-old flat roof that’s in poor condition and has been leaking for 2 years – can I claim?
No is the answer. Insurance policies are not maintenance contracts and insurance does not pay for wear and tear. If a claim is to be pursued, the property must have been well maintained and a sudden and unexpected event occurred leading to the damage.
Our bathroom waste pipe has leaked for a long time and caused a lot of damage – are we covered?
If you were unaware of the damage and leak even if it has caused damage over a period, the consequential loss, which may not have been evident until recently, is covered as an escape of water. If however, substantial damage was evident and nothing was done to stop the leak, and damage worsened, then the claim is not covered.
It is a universal policy condition that a policy holder is obliged to prevent his property from damage and if no action is taken this is negligence by the property owner and insurers have no liability.
Why should I choose White & Associates instead of other assessors?
- We have a proven track record in successful settlements where clients received their full entitlement. This is not the case with several of our competitors
- We have an excellent reputation in the claims sector and good working relationship with all main insurers and loss adjusting companies
- We have expertise in remediating all types of property damage having surveying, building restoration, architecture, engineering and fire damage restoration disciplines in house
- We operate to the highest standards and are authorised by the financial regulator as is now necessary by law to practice loss assessing
- We have unrivalled Customer service and Client focused ethos
- We do not deal in high volume claims. Our service philosophy is quality over quantity. We examine and deal with each claim we take on thoroughly and promptly. As a business, we are in this sector for the long haul and value reputation over quick profit.
- Finally, don’t take our word for it, we have literally dozens of thank you letters from clients who refer our service over and over again – see the endorsements tab!
Property Claims – Do’s & Don’ts
- Notify the emergency services of fire, gas leaks, flooding etc. immediately and remove all persons at risk to safety. Do not return to property until instructed to by emergency services or the local authority
- Leave the property should you have any concerns about safety or health due to damaged condition of the property. Most policies have cover for suitable alternative accommodation
- Take photos/camcorder images of damage if possible, in particular if emergency repairs have to be undertaken or damaged items removed before insurers of the loss adjusters sees it
- Attempt to minimise damage – engage an emergency contractor to carry out temporary repairs if necessary
- Make an accurate note of time, date and circumstances of loss and damage – many people forget!
- Mark with a pencil any stains or tide marks caused by flooding or water damage
- Protect your property securely should it be uninhabitable with hoarding and other necessary security barriers, thieves do not discriminate damaged property!
- Keep all receipts, reports and proof of purchase relating to expenditure due to property damage, including food and accommodation
- Do contact a qualified and experienced Loss Assessor if damage appears to be over €3,000 or affects a number of rooms/items
- Once damage is discovered, notify insurers by yourself or via your broker or Loss Assessor as soon as possible. You may invalidate a claim by late notification
- Attempt to extinguish fire, stop a gas leak etc. without the right equipment or training – leave it to the professionals
- Carry out repairs if at all possible before the insurance company or their Loss Adjuster has seen the damage
- Dispose of any contents/stock, particularly expensive items before the insurance company or their Loss Adjuster has seen/examined them and agreed to their disposal
- Throw away any invoices or receipts relating to expenditure which has arisen from the damage to your home, property or business – these may be included in your claim
- Allow damage to worsen through neglect. Under most insurance policies there is a strict condition to prevent further damage to property occurring
NB: This is general advice if you require more specific expert advice call:
01 882 83 85 or 071 983 3780.
DISCLAIMER: The above items of advice are only general guidelines and White & Associates take no responsibility for loss/damage to property in the event that the above are misinterpreted or are insufficient advice since they are general items of advice in a property damage situation