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Suing builder but he wants me to deal with his insurer
20

Therearetoomanyofus · 01/07/2022 09:54

Long story short. I had some work done on my property in May/June 2020 from a builder that had come highly recommended from a number of people I know.
Once he had 'finished', it became apparent that he was totally out of his depth and the work hadn't been completed properly.

I've had numerous issues with the work and constant promises that he'd come back to fix them. Finally I got someone else in and the problems have all been sorted. It has been confirmed that all of the issues were through incompetence so I'm confident that even if he had come back, the issues wouldn't have been resolved.

I've been back in touch with the original builder claiming the cost of the reparation works. He has passed it onto his insurers and they contacted me at the beginning of June this year to confirm details but I've heard nothing since.

Do I have to deal with the insurers (who I'm sure will try everything to get out of paying the claim) or can I carry on with my original plan of dealing with it through the small claims court?

I'm very conscious of the fact that its taken so long from the original issue to get the problems resolved and dont want to miss my chance of claiming through small claims.

Hope that all makes sense? Thanks in advance for any guidance.

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Sniffypete · 01/07/2022 09:55

Do you have legal cover on your home insurance?

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TibetanTerrah · 01/07/2022 09:59

I think a judge would take a dim view that you didn't go through insurers, generally you have to exhaust every option and court is a last resort.

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Therearetoomanyofus · 01/07/2022 10:02

@Sniffypete, it doesn't cover building works unfortunately. I'm more than comfortable going down the small claims route but I dont want to wade in if this is some that that is usually dealt with by a builder's insurance.

And really, is it something he should be settling with me, then claiming it back through his insurance?

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Therearetoomanyofus · 01/07/2022 10:07

@TibetanTerrah , this is what l'm concerned about.
However, how long do I leave it? Do I chase the insurers? Do I get onto the builder to chase them?

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endofagain · 01/07/2022 10:10

Are you saying that your insurance policy doesn't cover building work, or that you don't have legal cover on your policy, or that you do have legal cover but the legal cover doesn't cover building work?
Have you spoken to your insurers?
Make sure you put everything in writing to all parties.
I would write to or email the builder, copying in his insurers, outlining everything that has happened so far.
Consider contacting citizens advice.
Is the builder a member of a trade organisation?
I have some experience of domestic disasters, builders, floods...

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Swimmingpoolsally · 01/07/2022 10:11

Chase the insurers. Who confirmed that it was incompetence ?

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Swimmingpoolsally · 01/07/2022 10:13

Sorry just reread, it was less than four weeks ago the insurers contacted you?

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CMOTDibbler · 01/07/2022 10:19

Chase the insurers. They will do a survey themselves to see what is the problem, and no, they don't try to get out of doing things. My dh works in buildings defect insurance, and in fact often finds many things more wrong with the house than was originally reported and they ensure that these are all corrected. They then pursue the builder to try and recoup costs.

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Therearetoomanyofus · 01/07/2022 10:19

@endofagain my insurers have confirmed that my policy doesn't cover building work.
I responded to the insurer with all details requested and copied the builder in on the 9th June.
No, he's not part of a trade organisation unfortunately.

@Swimmingpoolsally , the original builder has acknowledged that the work wasn't done sufficiently (and in some cases, not done at all). He asked for the opportunity to rectify the problems but after chasing him for months, I advised him that I was getting someone else in to do the job properly and to complete the work he hadn't even started. I told him then that I would be referring the cost back to him.

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Badbadbunny · 01/07/2022 10:22

Therearetoomanyofus · 01/07/2022 10:02

@Sniffypete, it doesn't cover building works unfortunately. I'm more than comfortable going down the small claims route but I dont want to wade in if this is some that that is usually dealt with by a builder's insurance.

And really, is it something he should be settling with me, then claiming it back through his insurance?

No, you deal direct with his insurers.

Just like if you have a car accident, you don't claim the costs off the other driver for them to recoup via their insurance - you claim directly against their insurance.

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Therearetoomanyofus · 01/07/2022 10:22

@CMOTDibbler , it is the builder's insurance company that I'm dealing with so surely they won't be able to go back to the builder to recoup costs as he has the policy with them? Or is my lack of how liability insurance works really showing here? 😂

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endofagain · 01/07/2022 10:23

I think at this stage, write to all parties again asking for an update. You have to keep chasing IME. Insurance companies move very, very slowly. Always document conversations, get names, dates, times and follow up with an email confirming what was said etc.
Have you got a written report from the builder who fixed the problems?

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Therearetoomanyofus · 01/07/2022 10:25

@Badbadbunny , oh brilliant, thats good to hear! I've never had to deal with insurers before so l'm going in blind.

So basically, hold my horses and just wait until I hear back from the insurer.

Thank you all, it really is appreciated!

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Therearetoomanyofus · 01/07/2022 10:29

@endofagain , I have photos and emails from the builder and roofer that show where the issues were with the original works. I also have text messages from the original builder where he admits he's not done some of the necessary work so I'll pass that over to the insurance company when they get back to me.

Where do I stand if the insurance company deny the claim? Can I still take it to the small claims court?

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Parky04 · 01/07/2022 10:36

Therearetoomanyofus · 01/07/2022 10:29

@endofagain , I have photos and emails from the builder and roofer that show where the issues were with the original works. I also have text messages from the original builder where he admits he's not done some of the necessary work so I'll pass that over to the insurance company when they get back to me.

Where do I stand if the insurance company deny the claim? Can I still take it to the small claims court?

If insurers deny, then you can issue a claim through the small claims court.

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pumpkinpie01 · 01/07/2022 10:38

Hi , I work in insurance , not particularly in professional indemnity which is what this matter will be dealt with but I am aware of the procedures followed . Yes please chase up his insurers by phone and then confirm in e mail so there is a paper trail . It's likely to take a few months to be honest . Have you sent them a 'formal claim '? Ie an e mail /letter why you are holding their client responsible, the damages claimed and how you expect it to be rectified .lots of insurers wait for a formal claim they won't be chasing the claimant

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CMOTDibbler · 01/07/2022 10:42

@Therearetoomanyofus they can try and recoup the costs from him - imagine if they couldn't, a builder could do as rubbish a job as they liked and then let the insurers pay for it

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Therearetoomanyofus · 01/07/2022 10:45

@pumpkinpie01 Great, l'll give them a call today and then a follow up email.

I sent a Letter Before Action to the builder but only answered the questions the insurer asked me in the email to them. I'll attach a copy of the LBA with my follow up email in case the builder hasn't passed it on.

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pumpkinpie01 · 01/07/2022 10:52

@Therearetoomanyofus yes that's a good idea , you shouldn't really need to liaise with the builder at all now it should just be an insurance matter .

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ProfessorSlocombe · 02/07/2022 10:51

Just like if you have a car accident, you don't claim the costs off the other driver for them to recoup via their insurance - you claim directly against their insurance.

Actually you do claim of the other driver - in law they are responsible. It's just in the vast majority of cases insurers take over.

There have been plenty of cases where an at-fault driver has somehow or other managed to avoid informing their insurers of an accident and then find themselves in court.

And of course if a driver has lied to get insurance then the insurers won't do a thing and you need to deal directly with the driver.

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