Insurance Declined Fire Claim Due to Number of Bedrooms
In my last column, I told you about a couple who had their insurance refused as criminal activity not being included in their insurance, due to their tenant turning the property into a cannabis factory and then discovering that even if they had included this in the insurance, they still would not have been covered because they had not had any property inspections during the 2 years.
This week, I read an article on Mail Online, of a family whose home burnt down whilst they were away on holiday. They had only purchased it 2 months earlier for £460,000 and had barely unpacked. The insurer Ageas, declined to pay out due to the number of bedrooms stated on their application form.
Mr and Mrs Weldins had bought the insurance through a comparison website for £416. One of the first questions on the online form was how many bedrooms in the property, including any that now have another use, such as studies.
The Weldins had put 5 bedrooms as 2 of the rooms were in the attic and did not comply with building regulations. Ageas disputed this and said there were clearly 7 bedrooms and if they had put 7 bedrooms they would not have insured the property at the beginning as they did not insure larger properties.
After Ageas refused their claim the couple took their case to the Financial Ombudsman, but it found against them. The Ombudsman report reads:
'Taking a common sense approach, I think most people would consider upstairs rooms within a house as bedrooms.
'Provided there was enough space for a bed, the room was heated and had a window. I don't think that whether a room has been signed off as a building regulation compliant bedroom is relevant.'
The Weldins' now have to find £460,000 to rebuild their house and replace their belongings. This case is a stark warning to other homeowners to check their documents are accurate, up-to-date and don't have any hidden caveats restricting when the policy will and won't pay out.
Have a good week!
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