Really annoyed

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Insurance & Life Assurance
6 replies 707 views
MrT_5MrT_5 Forumite
397 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Insurance & Life Assurance
I just want a rant really but feel free to comment even if it is to call me stupid.

I noticed that my back garden wall is starting to crack and move a little. I put this down to the tree that is growing against the wall in the garden of another house at the back of mine. I actually pointed this wall about two years ago and believe me, I did a good job.

Anyway, I phoned my house insurers before to ask advice. Note advice, not to make a claim. My insurers are Lloyds and I have been with them for years but never made a claim on house or contents. Firstly, I couldn't understand the person I spoke with. Sorry but I am not being racist or xenophobic but you should a least be able to speak with someone you can understand. After explaining the problem eventually, I was put through to the claims department. This time I spoke with someone who was able to converse in English but after giving her a minor summary of the problem her first words were, "you are not covered for this". I let that go for the moment and said I was only seeking advice as a precautionary measure. Loads of erms and maybe you should speak with our legal department and all that. Totally at a loss I think!

Deciding I was getting nowhere, I went back to the "you are not covered for this" bit. I then asked that if I allowed the situation to deteriorate and the wall became unstable and blew over in a gale, would I be covered then? "Oh no because you have told us that it is unstable and will probably get worse" was the reply. My reply to that was "then you punish people for being honest do you?" She had no answer. I said I would not be renewing with them after this runs out because I thought they were very unreasonable.

Before I was allowed to hang up, she then said she wanted to ask me three questions. 1. Do you rent the house? My answer was "Don't you people have records of your customers? What person rents a house anyway and insures the building? That would be the owners responsibility. 2. I can't remember question two but it was daft and I ignored it. 3. The gist of three was that I had reported the fault and it would be logged as some kind of failed claim. Sorry 2 and 3 are vague but I was boiling by this time.

I said "you must think I am stupid, you are just covering your own arses in case I try to make a claim on this in the future". I then hung up. Doesn't matter as they have lost my business now but one of these days I am going to have to make a claim on my insurance and it will obviously be a nightmare. Do any of them actually do the job properly without treating everyone as some kind of insurance rip off merchant?

I know there are people out there who are scam merchants but most of us are genuine people who try to be honest but are treated very badly indeed. Rant over, feel free to rip into me or advise.
Don't buy the Sun.


  • elonaelona Forumite
    11.8K Posts
    They just do not listen or read documents properly.

    Years ago a stolen car crashed into our stone garden wall in the middle of the night- driver ran off and police car that had been chasing him did not catch him.

    Submitted claim for repairs to wall - stating clearly that a stolen car on the run from the police had crashed into the wall!

    The response! A letter asking for the name and address of the driver!!!

    I phoned them with steam coming out of my ears - pointing out that if the police could not find this out - then it was unlikely that I could!!

    Eventually got it sorted out.
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  • AstarothAstaroth Forumite
    5.4K Posts
    In the defence of the claims person you spoke to - subsidence (which damage from tree roots is considered) is a technical subject and normally dealt with my a specialist department rather than your vanilla claims people who deal with split glasses of wine etc. Now given you were asking for advice she really should have passed you through to the technical team but may have felt you had been passed around enough and tried to stretch their knowledge to try and assist.

    As to future cover - if a claim is investigated properly the fact a brick wall has collapsed in high winds should have been investigated properly anyway - unless we are talking hurrican storms a properly maintained wall would not collapse and therefore irrespective if you had told them or not they almost certainly would have sent out someone to inspect the damage to ascertain if the wall was being maintained in a good state so would have detected the issue even if you hadnt previously mentioned it... of cause if it was bad storm weather and the claim was low they may not have investigated it due to the other larger claims that have higher importance for full investigations.

    Onto telling them... technically you should inform your insurers of any incident which is an insured risk or has the potential to lead to a genuine claim. The reality is that people dont contact their insurers every time their car is keyed or have a minor prang which they settle privately but it doesnt change what the technical rules are.

    Given that she had already determined there was no claim to be made then there was no point to Q1 over if the property is rented or not. There are some properties where the renter is responsible for maintanance of the property - these are rare but does result in the renter having an insurable interest. I am sure the system will hold the information somewhere but having worked for a number of insurers over my career and all having archaic mainframe systems it was often easier to ask a simple question than actually locate the information yourself.

    I do however have to agree that the general customer service from some insurers leave a lot to be desired. Some would however say that this is a consequence of the market being so price sensitive - people are willing to pay more for better service on airlines, doing the weekly shopping but not insurance so insurers have to cut costs where ever possible to retain the ability to be price competitive.
    All posts made are simply my own opinions and are neither professional advice nor the opinions of my employers
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  • mattymoomattymoo Forumite
    2.4K Posts
    I'm guessing they are declining the "claim" (I use the term loosely here) because subsidence for outbuildings and garden walls is often not covered.

    There is nothing to stop you notifying the owner of the garden with the tree. Tell him it is damaging your wall and put this in writing and keep a copy.
    They need to have the tree assessed by a tree surgeon and cut back. If it continues to damage your wall but they do nothing, they (and their insurers) can be held liable.
  • MrT_5MrT_5 Forumite
    397 Posts
    Well I rang my wife's union advice line and they more or less said the same as Matty. In the nicest possible way to inform the owner of said tree that it is causing a problem. It comes under the terms of trespass I was informed. His tree trespassing on my property made me giggle a bit I must say. Decided not to do the letter things as suggested but to have a word and hope he is decent enough to see my point of view.

    In regard to maintenance of the wall, I have to say that my side is extremely well maintained as I pointed it myself and even if I say so myself, one thing I am good at is pointing. No skimping when I am doing it for myself either so the mortar is a damn good thickness. Some of the new pointing which I did two summers ago is now cracking and that is simply down to the tree expanding and pushing the wall out. God knows what the roots are doing.

    I'm still not happy about my insurance company and will change them in July. I am disappointed with those insurance sites that are recommended by this one. I gave up on them both as I see no earthly reason why they should want my phone number. I know I can enter a false one but why should I? Also one of them kept asking for a full time job for my wife who only has a part time job but wouldn't accept that for some reason. It is their loss. I only want quotes not bombarding with junk mail, telephone calls or emails. I'll sort it myself thanks.
    Don't buy the Sun.
  • AstarothAstaroth Forumite
    5.4K Posts
    I know with confused, there standard contract is that only the cheapest insurer on the list is allowed to make further contact with you.... however that is not to say that all the insurers are on standard contracts.
    All posts made are simply my own opinions and are neither professional advice nor the opinions of my employers
    No Advertising or Links in Signatures by Site Rules - MSE Forum Team 2
  • hotbodhotbod Forumite
    55 Posts
    i agree with you MrT about the service we get & especially not being able to understand a word they are saying, their should be a standard of english that at least can be understood
    it makes me mad when i have go speak to someone on the other side of the world & their is nobody who speaks english and understands what i am talking about.
    i know this is to save costs but i hang up & try to shop elsewhere
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