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to think our home insurance co are taking us for a ride?

(66 Posts)
crazycatlady Mon 22-Aug-11 21:11:53

We were burgled back in the Spring. No sign of forced entry. We figured they either jimmied both our front door locks somehow without causing any damage, stole a key (cleaner perhaps?), or entered via the cellar window while were in the house and hid there waiting for us to go out.

Tens of thousands of pounds of personal items stolen. We reported it to our insurance company and the police immediately and changed the locks straight away. The burglary took place the day after our home insurance policy came into force.

Our insurance claim is still not settled and the company seems to be very evasive. They sent a loss adjuster in April to take a statement and proof of ownership for items stolen. We had receipts and photographic evidence of ownership for 90% of the items.

The loss adjuster sat on our case for months and did nothing with it despite us chasing. All he did was respond 6 weeks later with a request for information we had already given him. The insurance company has also failed to act when we have chased them, always referring back to the loss adjuster.

We have made a high level complaint to the insurance company and now they are sending a second loss adjuster out. The company representative we are dealing with now seems very pleasant but I am concerned we're going round and round in circles here and it's so distressing still being without my wedding and engagement rings and other personal belongings. We just want it sorted.

Is this a typical course of events for a home insurance claim or are we being taken for a ride? Not sure what to do now really except wait for second loss adjuster to visit and hope for a quick resolution.

I can't see why it is taking so long?

We have no previous experience with such a claim and would really appreciate any advice or stories of similar situations.

Many thanks

scurryfunge Mon 22-Aug-11 21:18:07

These things can take time but you can see why it seems a little suspicious to the insurers.

FabbyChic Mon 22-Aug-11 21:18:26

I would imagine the length of time it has taken is something to do with the fact you claimed within 24 hours of taking out the policy. Whilst you of course are genuine, they have to err on the side of caution.

You could try reporting them to the Insurance Ombudsman re the time it is taking to finalise your claim.

HMTheQueen Mon 22-Aug-11 21:18:46

I have no experience of this, but they probably think it's suspicious due to it happening a day after you got the policy and there was no immediately apparent means of entry.

I have no idea of what you could do to stop this though.

Sorry.

worraliberty Mon 22-Aug-11 21:20:58

It does look extremely suspicious

No sign of forced entry

Day after you took the insurance out

Having receipts and photographic evidence for 90% of the stuff (doubt I could manage 50%)

So perhaps it was looked into with a fine toothed comb and that caused the delay?

QueenStromba Mon 22-Aug-11 21:31:56

I'd be less suspicious of a burglary 1 day after the policy was taken out than a couple of weeks or a month later - surely nobody would be stupid enough to buy insurance and then burgle themselves straight away? Also, if I was going to fake a claim like this then I would break a window or something to fake a point of entry.

I could provide receipts for all of my electronics because I bought them all online and I'm sure most people would have photographs featuring most of their jewelry.

crazycatlady Mon 22-Aug-11 21:32:15

What do you mean by suspicious?

I thought having proof of ownership was a good thing! Items were jewellery (so we had all the valuation certificates and original receipts from when we had the items made) and expensive electrical goods (for which we mostly had receipts or could obtain proof of purchase via card statements from years back).

Ins co hasn't said they have reason to doubt the claim in any way. But would they?

Our neighbours were burgled last week too. No sign of forced entry either. I feel like our little row of terraces is being targeted or watched. Horrid.

Hatesponge Mon 22-Aug-11 21:34:39

I work for a major insurer (motor not household).

There are a number of red flags about your claim.

For the company I work for, a claim made within 48 hours of inception of the policy would trigger an automatic fraud referral.

The fact there was no sign of forced entry, the amount of receipts, and the sums you're claiming would all add to this I'm afraid. Daytime burglaries are mostly done by opportunists - either career criminals or drug users. They generally take small items they can carry easily and sell on without difficulty (jewellry, laptops, cameras, ipods)

Losing your wedding and engagement rings is unusual - was there a reason you weren't wearing them? Looking at it from the insurers point of view, that would look odd as well.

Also do you not have an alarm?

worraliberty Mon 22-Aug-11 21:35:07

I just mean suspicious (looking at it through their eyes) as I think over the years most people lose their proof of purchase.

I don't know, but I hope they sort it out for you soon and sorry for your loss sad

crazycatlady Mon 22-Aug-11 21:38:33

thanks sponge, that's useful.

I'd just had our second baby a few days before and my hands were still so puffy from pregnancy I hadn't been able to wear my jewellery. I am so cross about this as I never normally take them off. Stupidly they were just sitting in my make up box in my top drawer.

I can understand the company wondering about a claim so soon after the policy inception. But we've been open about everything and the police were satisfied that it was a straightforward burglary. I just wish the insurance company would tell us what's going on...

crazycatlady Mon 22-Aug-11 21:40:35

And no we don't have an alarm.. We have house cats so I'm not sure this would be do-able. Wouldn't they set it off all the time?

worraliberty Mon 22-Aug-11 21:40:52

When you say the police were satisfied it was a 'straightforward burglary'

Well that kind of means nothing to the Insurance company because they know the police couldn't prove it was an inside job....and nor would they bother unless your Insurance company accused you of fraud IYSWIM?

trixymalixy Mon 22-Aug-11 21:42:58

We had an alarm fitted by ADT that was fine with our cats.

crazycatlady Mon 22-Aug-11 21:45:55

Really trixy? I'd assumed I'd have to keep them locked in one room at night! Although tbh it's not something I've really looked into until now. Only one or two houses on our street seem to have alarms and it's normally so quiet. Terraced houses all facing each other and lots of nosey neighbours so we've had a false sense of security...

Hatesponge Mon 22-Aug-11 21:56:45

That seems fair enough re the rings.

Not having an alarm isn't a problem, I'd be more concerned if you had one that wasn't on for some reason (again thinking of potential fraud concerns).

The thing with the police is they're not really interested in burglaries tbh. The chance of catching the culprits is tiny; and if there's a suspicion of fraud my experience is they tend to leave that to the insurers to pick up on.

In terms of positive advice, I would keep the pressure on your insurers. They should advise you of their complaints procedure, and may well assign a specific complaint handler to you. They won't want you to go to the Ombudsman because that costs money (I believe even a complaint is not upheld insurers have to pay for the Ombudsman referral) so should be trying to keep you happy - and even if they have to do more thorough investigations because of the potential fraud triggers, they should be keeping you informed (even if they prob won't tell you they suspect fraud if that is the case, for obvious reasons!)

Can I ask what insurers it is? Am hoping it's not the company I work for....

thefirstmrsrochester Mon 22-Aug-11 21:58:08

I used to work for a well known insurer.
Any claim made within 6 months of policy being taken out is a red flag.
Burglary with no sign of forced entry, another flag.
Proof of ownership - fraudsters are renowned for having the paperwork to back up their claim.
The value of your claim is high.
For every complaint the FOS uphold, the insurer is fined - not in the insurers interest.
They must have concerns to be taking this time to settle.
It's in the interest of every policy holder that suspected fraud is investigated as it's not a victimless crime as high premiums attest.
I think you have been extremely unfortunate btw - who wld stage a burglary one day after inception of policy?
If you complain and after 6 weeks still are not satisfied with the progress then you may approach the FOS.
Good luck OP.

NonnoMum Mon 22-Aug-11 22:06:05

Just a question - did you have insurance with another company up until the day before the claim? Or did you not have any insurance, then took a policy out, then were burgled one day later?

You seem to have had very bad luck. Poor you.

crazycatlady Mon 22-Aug-11 22:10:36

Gosh, I thought our claim was fairly typical, with the exception of the claim happening so close to the policy start date perhaps.

I'm not sure I see how the other things can be 'red flags' though? Surely that would mean most home insurance claims are deemed to be suspect in some way? Most burglaries involve high value items don't they? (otherwise what would be the point from the burglar's perspective?) and equally lots of people switch insurance every year so there must be lots of claims made within 6 months of inception?

We were quite surprised that someone had gotten into our house without there being any damage, but the locksmith said no lock is fool proof apparently. Gah. I might double the number of locks from two to four...

We worked quite hard to gather together all the proof of ownership since the loss adjuster led us to believe this was very important. Where we didn't have receipts, we contacted the jeweller who made the items and asked them to provide a copy from their files. We contacted banks and old credit card companies to get statements showing when and where purchases were made. And we trawled through old photos to find pictures of us wearing the items that were stolen.

I wish we hadn't bothered now!

I work in financial services PR, so if our case isn't handled appropriately from here on in then we'll not only go the ombudsman route but I may call a few of my contacts who run the consumer champion columns and ask for their help too.

sponge the company is a well known retailer. 'It's not just insurance, it's xxx insurance...' should give you a clue! Underwritten by AXA though.

NonnoMum Mon 22-Aug-11 22:13:36

When we recently changed our home insurance, we were told that we couldn't claim for ANYTHING for at least four weeks.

crazycatlady Mon 22-Aug-11 22:15:07

nonno that's a very good point, we had buildings insurance but not contents. In the month before the arrival of DS I went through all our finances and bought this policy (a joint buildings and contents policy), among other sensible admin things that had been on my to do list for ages years

I actually applied for the policy a month before we got burgled, but chose a policy start date 30 days from application to give myself a few weeks for our old buildings insurance policy to be cancelled so we weren't paying twice.

We hadn't had contents insurance for a while. In my darker moments it feels like someone knew we had just taken out a policy and must therefore now be worth burgling. Nonsense I know.

NonnoMum Mon 22-Aug-11 22:16:06

Also the amounts - tens of thousands of personal items stolen yet you live in a terraced street? Sorry to be suspicious but if you can only afford to live in a small house it would seem unlikely (from an insurance point of view) that you would have tens of thousands of pounds worth of jewellery etc.

crazycatlady Mon 22-Aug-11 22:18:00

We live in SW London nonno. There are terraced houses here worth millions!

crazycatlady Mon 22-Aug-11 22:24:45

It was about ten thousand pounds worth total items stolen inc jewellery (wedding and engagement rings, earrings, watch) and electrical items (laptops, ipods, digital camera, video camera), not tens of thousands multiple. Typo in my OP. So no, we don't have tens of thousands of pounds worth of jewellery. In fact we haven't even got ten pounds worth now!

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Mon 22-Aug-11 22:27:34

what did you have thats worth 10s of thousands of pounds?

Hatesponge Mon 22-Aug-11 22:29:25

Thankfully you're not insured with my employers!

I'm sorry to say the lack of previous contents cover would be a flag as well - most people with a fair amount of 'valuables' (and a reasonable income) will have contents cover. tbh the only people I know who don't have contents cover are on v v low incomes.

The amount of the claim is high esp when you consider (from the insurer's perspective) you didn't have any cover for those items 24 hours before the burglary.

I was unfortunate enough to be burgled last year - I lost all my jewellery and a laptop, it came to just over £3000 in total. I think that's fairly average for a burglary, hence why I say that £10k would seem high.

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