120,000 property buyers are thought to have missed the stamp duty holiday deadline, leaving commentators to suggest that one-in-five purchases might collapse. Some homeowners may now find themselves continuing to live in homes in which necessary, though not essential, repairs were delayed, for the new owners to ‘deal with’. This could well leave some homeowners with home insurance claims in the making, due to property damage.
With a sudden tumbling of the stamp duty threshold from £500,000 to £250,000 as of June 30, 2021 and then a further fall to £125,000 on October 1, many homeowners may have been unable to push their sale through and now find the housing market less buoyant. With Brits also holidaying during the summer months, rather than looking for new homes, many may find themselves approaching another autumn and winter in their existing property and facing the havoc that seasonal weather can cause.
Preventing property insurance claims from occurring
If some ‘known’ maintenance or updates to electrical systems or pipework was not tackled, because there seemed no point if the house was to be sold, now is the time to put those things right. When it comes to insurance claims, prevention of the losses in the first place is far better than trying to cure the impacts afterwards but there is another good reason to act on any known issues.
The reason is that insurers take a dim view of situations in which a property owner knew of a defect or requirement for a repair, but failed to act. Not keeping on top of such issues and general maintenance could be a big mistake, as such inaction is often a reason why insurance companies refuse to pay policyholders who make a home insurance or commercial insurance property claim.
Disputing claims declined for ‘lack of maintenance’
Although it may be galling to have to carry out work on a property which you should by now have left behind, it is one way to prevent the financial loss you can encounter if an insurance claim is not paid. However, sometimes, lack of maintenance, allegations of wear and tear, or ‘not acting’ on a property repair is a bit of a ‘get out of jail’ card for an insurance loss adjuster, used as a good reason not to pay. Insurers only have a pot of money set aside for some of the claims they anticipate paying each year, so it is inevitable that they will decline others, as the sums they have allocated are not big enough to cover all. By refusing a claim, a loss adjuster can help the insurer, who typically appoints them in the first place, by enabling them to hold back some of their claims reserves.
If this is the case, it can be very distressing for the innocent homeowner, who genuinely thought the buildings issue was minor or who did not even know there was a problem, until it was too late. Opinions about how much maintenance should have taken place can be very subjective and whilst a loss adjuster may assert that you should have known there was a problem, many laypeople do not have a clue about many aspects of building work and maintenance.
How a loss assessor can help with a declined property insurance claim
Should you have a claim declined on this basis, do not despair. It need not be the end of the story. By appointing your own representative in your property claim, which it is your legal right to do, you can gain your own voice and have your argument and viewpoint put forward. Here at Aspray, our claims negotiators are loss assessors – very different from loss adjusters – as they represent you, not the insurer.
With the help of your own loss assessor, you can potentially put a strong case together as to why your claim should be paid, to the level of your policy entitlement, according to the insurance cover that you bought. Your loss assessor will interpret all policy wording on your behalf and add clarity when it comes to what the spirit of the cover is. That is not always the spirit that emerges in negotiations or when a claims decision is given by the insurer, but it can become somewhere towards which you and your own Aspray loss assessor seek to move the insurer.
If you find yourself in a position where you believe a claim has been refused unjustly, on the basis of your alleged lack of attention to detail with regard to the health of your property, do get in touch. By calling us on 0800 077 6705, you could find that a reversal of an insurer’s initial judgement on your claim takes place, leaving you not facing distressing financial loss when trying to reinstate your property, following whatever damage has occurred.