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Any property lawyers out there? Please please help me re. underpinning insurance

(15 Posts)
expo Mon 13-Jul-09 20:05:23

Am desperate for advice - cannot stop worrying about this at the moment...

We bought our 100 yr old house in Mar 2006. It was underpinned by previous owners in 2003/4 because of tree roots. Trees now removed. I got a letter from their insurance company saying:

"- no problem for us to insure this when you buy it. And we will honour this insurance for future vendor."

So far, so good. We bought the house. No problems since.

Have been with insurer for 3 years.

Was due to renew on 25th June. Was on holiday so got round to renewing on 10th July - 2 weeks late. Because I was late and because there is a new underwriter they are refusing to re-insure me. I am DEVASTATED. I would have set up a direct debit had I known that this was the consequence.

I have taken a copy of the original letter and sent it to them. I was told to speak to the PREVIOUS underwriters today to see if they would take us back on. They were shocked and said that as the new underwriters bought the business, they should take on all risks. I explained to them that I was 2 weeks late renewing and they said it didn't matter. They should still keep us on.

I went back to the original insurance company 3 times today. A 'no' everytime. I have now written them a formal letter of complaint - hopeful because of what the previous underwriters had said and their shock.

Please advise what rights I have on this, if any?

Thank you so much

expo Mon 13-Jul-09 20:11:41


expo Mon 13-Jul-09 20:48:49

bump again before I have to log off

CMOTdibbler Mon 13-Jul-09 21:00:11

DH is a property insurance specialist, and says he'd need a bit more info about your case to know properly the situation - type of insurance, whether it is through a scheme etc.

But he advises going to the underwriters who originally wrote the business, and taking out a new policy with them having explained that you did not intend to allow the policy to lapse.

Unfortunatly, as you didn't pay on time, you failed to renew your policy, and so can be treated as a new customer

expo Mon 13-Jul-09 21:13:16

Oh hello CMOTdibbler. Thank you for answering. I am really worried about this as have no idea how I would get new insurance.

It is building insurance. Through a firm called Letsure (although we are not renting the property - it is our first and only home). It is not through a scheme. We kept it going from previous occupants.

The underwriters of Letsure have changed. The original underwriters (who were there in Mar 06 when we took out the policy) sold on the business to a different underwriters. It is the new underwriters who are now refusing the business even though it is still through Letsure. I phoned the original underwriters today who were surprised and said they wouldn't re-take the business on. I keep getting batted back and forwards between the new and the old underwriters.

The thing that gave me hope was that the old underwriters said that the new ones bought the business and all the risks associated and even if we let it lapse by 2 weeks (stupid I know - and I have chastised myself about that) they still should honour it.

Do I have any legal rights here or should I give in? Thank you so much.

daisyj Mon 13-Jul-09 21:28:56

In case this doesn't work out for you and you need to find a new insurer, our ramshackle underpinned old building is insured through the freeholders by a company called Ocaso, who were the only company we could get contents insurance with. I hadn't realised it would be so complicated when we bought the flat, so I had a rather frantic day before I worked out that we could get internal buildings insurance and contents through them!

CMOTdibbler Mon 13-Jul-09 21:30:10

I'm channeling DH here smile

The ABI domestic subsidence guidance says that previous insurers should take the cover back on. So you want to mention the ABI guidance

Letsure are brokers, so you want to speak to your actual insurer direct.

Who are the underwriters ?

expo Mon 13-Jul-09 21:36:39

When we first bought the property the underwriters used to be Cornhill - I know that much cos I spoke to them today. They sold the business on - must be 2 yrs ago now - and the current underwriters (don't know who the current underwriters are but can certainly find out) are the ones saying no.

Who do I have more chance with - the old underwriters who sold the business on, or the new underwriters?

Thank you for the ABI domestic subsidence guidance.

daisyj - thank you for that advice. I will certainly bear them in mind if we get nowhere. I am desperate to try and get this one sorted out with old/new underwriters before trying - but reassures me that at least someone will insure us!!!

CMOTdibbler Mon 13-Jul-09 21:41:34

DH says Cornhill are the only ones with an obligation

expo Mon 13-Jul-09 21:46:16

OK - I will try again with them tomorrow. Thank you (and your DH!) for your help. I really appreciate it. smile

Pinner35 Mon 13-Jul-09 21:54:36

Our house is underpinned and we have our insurance with Norwich Union ( well Aviva as they are now) so there are other options.

expo Mon 13-Jul-09 22:05:22

Ooooh Pinner35 - did they take you on as new customers? How did you manage that?

scaryteacher Tue 14-Jul-09 13:19:22

Letsure are crap and have hiked their prices. I binned them last year when they wanted to increase my premium foir my house which I let out by £300 when I had never claimed, because of the change in underwriters. Am now with Norwich Union (Aviva) who are much better.

My house is 100+ and when I am living in it, I used Marks and Spencer for my buildings and contents. They had no problems with the house at all. May I suggest you try them?

expo Tue 14-Jul-09 21:00:11

Thank you scary teacher. Is your house underpinned? Were M&S OK with that? Are Aviva OK with that?

Thank you everyone for your advice. People on here are wonderful.

scaryteacher Wed 15-Jul-09 15:01:17

Nope, mine isn't underpinned, but is an area famous for mine shafts!

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