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Rip off insurance companies


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#1 Sylvester

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 10:34 AM

Just been watching Rip off Britain which focussed on the outrageous rises in car insurance premiums, in particular for newly-qualified drivers, some of whom were facing demands of .>£20K! Obviously this is a higher-risk group but there were reports of even low-risk motorists being penalised due to their postcode.

This brings me to the issue currently occupying my time, which is finding alternative home insurance due to our previous insurers (despite16 years of claim-free loyalty) saying their underwriters will no longer insure homes in SE19. They couldn't/wouldn't say what the reason was, eg. crime rates, being built on London clay - or maybe even the increased risk of vandalism following the Croydon "riots"!

I'm wondering if anyone else has had a similar problem?
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#2 Borgus

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 11:24 AM

Probably subsidence. SE19, SE25 and SE27 are supposed to be the worst areas in London for subsidence claims.

Am also looking to change insurer, but it is a nightmare. The buildings side is relatively straightforward, as there are clear criteria to establish value, rebuild cost, etc. However, contents insurance is the real headache.

You need to establish the ‘value’ of your contents, but what exactly do them mean. The insurers seem reluctant to provide any guidance to help, but will penalise you if you under insure. The line between what is covered by the buildings or contents is very blurred and can have a significant impact on the total insured and the resulting premium.

An example of the problem is flooring. Carpets, vinyl, etc. are clearly contents, but wood flooring is another matter. If you lay it on top of an existing floor using glue, but without using nails, then it is contents. Whack in a couple of nails and it is buildings.

Then after you come up with a total value, the unpublished limits start to appear. Different insurers seem to apply different rules when these limits are reached. Go over them by a penny and they may insist that you have a professionally installed and maintained burglar alarm fitted to add to the cost of everything else.

And then there is the unwritten caution - “Anything you may say will be recorded and stored until the end of time and may be used to screw you for every penny and/or to wriggle out of paying any future claims.” When you enter a what-if scenario with different values on these comparison websites, then you are disclosing information about your property that may differ from any policy you do take out.

I would make every effort to establish the insured values, the excess you can live with to reduce the premium and the levels of cover you require before making any approach to insurers.
"It does not require many words to speak the truth." - Chief Joseph

#3 RetiredMember1

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 11:51 AM

Interesting you should say that about subsidence in SE27, Borgus - the house my flat was in subsided and had to have its foundations dug out and underpinned - a heck of a job. Thankfully, I bought it just as the works were completed. Why is the land in this part of London more unstable? Rumour was that Elmcourt Road, where the house in question was, had been the site of a Victorian landfill site, but that may simply have been conjecture.

#4 pupkin

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 12:59 PM

We've just renewed our buildings insurance and we now have a £1,000 subsidence excess which wasn't there before.
They have also inserted a new clause stating that riot damage won't be covered.

#5 Borgus

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 01:02 PM

Brown London clay is the problem. Dig down, sometimes only a few inches, and you will find it.

The clay is greatly affected by the water present. More water and it swells. Less water and it shrinks. Sit a house on that and it will be affected if adequate steps aren't taken. Combine this with the fact that many houses are built on the sides of hills and you have an expensive problem.

Older houses were built with small or no foundations. This means shrinkage or swelling of the ground they sit on will cause cracks to appear. Modern houses either dig the foundation deep enough to a level where the water content is constant (1.5-1.8M) or ‘float’ on a very strong concrete slab.

Older houses can also be affected by changes over time. As trees grow and draw water from the ground, then they may cause problems. Adding driveways and patios can also affect drainage of surface water and add to problems.
"It does not require many words to speak the truth." - Chief Joseph

#6 Dazza

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 01:03 PM

Crystal palace is on a slope with a clay base, basically we are sliding down the hill !

Clay is not the best base to use a s a platform as it affected severley by prolonged wet & dry conditions

Dazza
Your obviously mistaken me with someone who gives a fig

#7 Sylvester

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Posted 12 December 2011 - 09:36 AM

All sounds highly likely and in agreement with Borgus, in my experience they do try and wriggle out of any liability so you wonder what the point of it is. Our house was indeed affected by subsidence before I bought it so had the garage wall underpinned at my own expense and have had no problems since then. We're still looking for alternative providers and I expect our premium/excess to rocket :angry:.
aka Pie

#8 Borgus

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 12:37 PM

Got the renewal through for buildings/contents insurance with a nice increase of 23%. Phoned up and said I didn't appreciate their sense of humour and - without a quibble or explanation - got it reduced to a few pounds less than the old premium. Clearly just trying it on and plenty won't bother to query it.
"It does not require many words to speak the truth." - Chief Joseph

#9 Sylvester

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Posted 14 December 2011 - 05:31 PM

Well done you - especially as a broker I contacted told me that all the insurance companies are trying to reduce their exposure to risk - no doubt following the banking scandal crisis. Expect more of the same ... :angry:
aka Pie