/ Home & Energy

Why hiring a Loss Assessor was my biggest gain

I’d never heard of Loss Assessors before running into huge issues with my flat. Now, I’m extremely grateful they exist. Have you ever used one? Here’s what happened.

Less than a year after buying and moving into our lovely flat, we didn’t expect to be deciding which of our possessions needed to go into storage and what would go into our downsized rental apartment.

Our flat was to be gutted, stripped, dried and restored for the next 6-8 months.

It all started when we discovered a small leak in our flat. Several attempts were made to fix it, but it kept getting worse (it transpired that it was behind a tiled wall in the bathroom).

Many weeks later, you couldn’t enter our bathroom without getting wet socks as the water was flooding in through the cracks in the floor tiles. The damp was creeping up our walls in the office, the lounge and our spare bedroom.

We then noticed black mould growing in our pantry. A disaster recovery firm came in and advised that there was no damp-proofing in our basement flat and the materials used behind our walls were not fit for purpose.

The leaks kept coming

Once a builder had come in and removed all the bathroom floor tiles, stripped the wall back to brick and fitted a tiny, inconsequential dehumidifier, we were able to use our tiny wetroom.

But, due to more use over those few weeks, we discovered yet another leak behind the toilet leading to more damp issues on the outside wall.

As if things couldn’t get much worse, our upstairs neighbour’s dishwasher exploded an entire load of water onto their kitchen floor directly above our bedroom – the last remaining room not affected by the previous leaks.

We came home to find a puddle of water on the bedroom floor and substantial water damage to the ceiling.

We were now up to four individual leaks. Eventually, we’d annoyed the managing agent of our leasehold enough for them to give us the details of our insurance policy. Finally somebody started taking it seriously.

Claiming for losses

Our insurer’s Loss Adjuster came to discuss our claims in detail and decide what would and wouldn’t be covered by our extensive insurance policy.

Guide: making a home insurance claim

He sat with us for two hours, walked around the flat and seemed to genuinely be on our side, wanting to get us the most our insurance policy could offer us.

His surveyor noticed that the tiling in the bathroom looked like it contained asbestos and should be sealed immediately.

After waiting for a negative result for four days we decided enough was enough. No real drying effort had commenced, the damp appeared to be spreading even though the leaks had been fixed, and nobody had given us information about what we were supposed to be doing to get our flat back to the way it was.

It was then that I discussed my situation with my Uncle, a solicitor, who gave us the advice of hiring a Loss Assessor, who would manage the claim on our behalf.

I’d never heard of one before, but decided it was worth a try. I explained our situation and they immediately made me feel like they were there to help.

They would mitigate the insurer, ensure that we got everything we were entitled to based on our insurance policy and project-manage all the subsequent engineers and contractors who would be coming in.

‘The stress and anxiety was lifted’

After two meetings, we knew that all the leaks would be covered on our insurance.

The flooring was to be ripped up throughout the flat, the wet room would be redone to make it actually water-tight, and the bathroom and pantry was to be restored.

We were to be moved and housed somewhere suitable for six to eight months so the damp-proofing work could take place.

If we’d left this to the original Loss Adjuster, we may only have received a small percentage of all of this.

We would have had to pay for a project manager, accommodation for our cats, a new wet room, the damp-proofing and a moving company to get us out.

We’re still a long way off getting our flat back to normal, but it’s a huge start. We don’t know exactly what the value of this claim will be, but it’s looking to be as much as ÂŁ75,000.

Have you ever made a substantial insurance claim? Did you get what you wanted out of it or did you end up out of pocket?

Comments

What a dreadful experience Jo, but good to hear you are getting sorted out finally. Water leaks can cause so much damage.

Loss adjusters are only on the side of the insurance company. I once had a car stolen that was then crashed by the thieves. I received a phone call from a loss adjuster who wanted my permission for my car to be taken to the scrap yard and I would receive a fraction of what I paid for the car a few months before.

I asked him what damage had been done to my car but he absolutely refused to discuss my car with me and I knew a thing or two about cars having had to learn to maintain my early old bangers. He would discuss it with my husband though.

Eventually my car was inspected and it was found to be safe to repair so went ahead. Although I could discuss my car with the repair garage my husband still had to do most of the talking to the loss adjuster as it was a fight to get it them to cover everything including replacing ALL the locks not just the one that was destroyed when the car was broken into. They expected me to have 2 keys!!!

I discovered some cracking in a wall of my bungalow when I was well through the process of moving to my new house. I reported this to the insurance company and had to chase them up because I waited patiently and nothing happened. The problem was investigated and it was likely that the problem was due to a broken drain taking rainwater from the roof, and I was given the names of two possible contractors that would confirm the diagnosis using cameras. There followed another long delay and after a couple of reminders I received a call to say that the builders would start the following morning and they would need access. At the time I was not living there, but fortunately I had nothing planned. The drain was not examined by camera but digging it up confirmed that it was broken and had been for some time. I will skip the part of the story about the builders flooding the house and ruining an expensive carpet by removing a radiator without shutting off the valves, but all I was offered in compensation was the cost of a cheap carpet. Had I been living there I would not have accepted this but all I wanted to do was to get the house and garden back in a presentable state and up for sale.

When various companies are involved, it’s difficult to know who to blame when something goes wrong, so I will never know whether they helped or were the main cause of the problem.

Thanks to the delays I decided not to put the bungalow on the market until the following February, so I had to pay for heating and visit it regularly. Thankfully it did sell quickly.

I am glad I did not have to live through a nightmare like you did, Jo.