Buildings Insurance Claim - chimney fire

Discussion in 'OT (OFF Topic) Forums' started by smillion, Dec 10, 2008.

  1. smillion

    smillion Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    18 months ago we had a chimney fire and 3 appliances attended.

    They successfully put the fire out by tipping 220 litres of water down the chimney - none appeared at the fireplace.

    We have now found that the clay chimney liner was damaged in this process and the chimney surround is now leaking smoke etc into the roofspace. Its taken a while to manifest itself as the liner breaks up gradually.

    We need to have a new liner fitted and so tried building insurance.

    They have inspected but tell me that I should have told them earlier and that given the delay they won't agree to pay for the repairs (£1,100).

    The fact is we did not know earlier and that it does take time for the liner to break down and for the smoke and soot to seep through the bricks. And in any event it was in the loft.

    Does this seem fair or am I expecting too much fromt h insurance company?

    Marc
     
  2. Ade B

    Ade B Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    One possible option would be to obtain an independent assessment from a qualified surveyor and put that to them. Whether this is worth the effort for an £1100 claim is debatable.

    It does seem unreasonable as its a latent defect (ie. was not apparent immediately following the incident) and as such on the face of it you have acted in good faith, what does the small print say regarding notification as I imagine this will determine the outcome?


    Ade
     
  3. crockers

    crockers MB Club Veteran

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    If the damage was done by the fire and this is the first time you have noticed it I dont see that time is an issue. I would write to them politely asking why they are rejecting your claim and then ask them for a reference as you intend to escalate this to the financial ombudsman. Either that or you could pursue your claim through the small claims court.

    But do it in stages .... no threats ..just facts....

    Good luck..
     
  4. crockers

    crockers MB Club Veteran

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    This is their weakness and why you must persue it...why inspect the chimney if they were going to refuse to pay due to time......
     
  5. Godot

    Godot Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    What may help, is if you had your chimney swept within the last year by a "Professional Chimney Sweep" they generally issue you with a Certificate which most Insurance Companies accept. Thereby negating a certain amount of blame on your part.

    A professional sweep would generally be able to tell you if you have any faults & he can repair or advise on the repairs needed.

    Sort of a MOT for chimneys.
     
  6. Smatt

    Smatt Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    chimney liners have a limited lifespan- how long was yours in for & how long was it guaranteed for?

    The very fact that you had a chimney fire in the firstplace suggests something was wrong, either with the liner or implies that it was not being swept & should have prompted further investigations. If it is not swept regularly this will lead to faster decay. Also what & how you burn will also affect decay of liners.
    Clay liners can/do crack & breakdown. Many liners are steel tubes now.
    Unless a sweep has video analysis & is asked to do a report, then they will not routinely issue a 'certificate', only a receipt to say that it has been swept. A 'certificate' would be issued by a chimney repairer/sweep for a video analysis fee.
    I do not think you will get far with insurance & you probably should have looked into it sooner. With chimneys, prevention is always better than cure. You were lucky it was only a chimney fire!
    The breakdown process certainly may have been expedited by the fire itself & possibly by the water, but may have been in a poor state anyway, so it is hard to say it was just due to the fire
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2008
  7. grober

    grober MB Club Veteran

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    Insurance companies- don't ya just love em!
     
  8. Mudster

    Mudster Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Yup, I've lost one and half containers of granite in the last four weeks in transit.

    There's a round of pass the buck currently going on whilst everyone decides who is responsible.

    In the meantime, I'm left without the stock and have to bankroll extra stock to supply my customers or risk losing them.

    It's constant battle to get them to pay out for the risks they cover.
     

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