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Amazon driver crashed into property and damaged railing. Insurance refusing to cover.

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An Amazon delivery driver crashed into my property at the weekend - I've contacted my insurance to make a claim but they've refused because apparently, railings are not covered under vehicular damage.

However, my buildings cover states that 'Buildings' includes walls, gates, hedges, fences, lampposts, railings - I've attached a snip from my home insurance policy wording.

Under the next section, 'What we can't cover you for' with regards to collision or impact by vehicles, it states 'Loss or damage caused: to hedges, gates or fences unless your home is damaged at the same time and by the same cause.'

Hedges gates or fences are therefore excluded under vehicular damage - fair enough - but it doesn't state walls, lampposts or most importantly railings are excluded also, therefore by their own definition of 'Buildings', railings are included.

What can I do?

A little extra info, driver failed to stop - police have been informed - aware of company but are refusing to provide insurance information. Amazon are asking for video evidence which is highly unrealistic but I have a witness and statement plus other evidence.


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Comments

  • tacpot12
    tacpot12 Posts: 8,166 Forumite
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    I think that you should call them back and ask them to reconsider including the railings and confirm that you will ask the Insurance Ombudsman to look at your complaint if they don't agree. 

    Assuming they don't you will need to make a formal complaint to them first, and then wait for 8 weeks or for them to respond to say that they still won't include the railings in the claim.

    I would suggest that you consider whether you want the railings to be reinstated, and whether you are prepared to take a risk that the Ombudsman might take their side. If you do and you are prepared to take a risk, I think you will find that it will be cheaper to get the  job done at the same time, but you would need to pay for that part of the work yourself and hope that the Ombudsmand sees it you way.  
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 14,537 Forumite
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    Seems pretty clear it’s not covered - railings are fences. I would forget your policy and pursue the driver.
  • Aretnap
    Aretnap Posts: 5,246 Forumite
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    I suppose it's going to home on whether your "railings" can be said to fall within the definition of a "fence".

    First dictionary I found defines "railings" as "fence made from a series of vertical metal posts" which doesn't really help you. OTOH other dictionaries define it slightly differently, and the fact that elsewhere the policy lists fences and railings separately perhaps works in your favour. I think it could be argued either way.

    What exactly was it that was damaged? A set of railings on top of a wall (how I personally would use the word railings), or a structure purely made of metal spikes (which some people would call a sturdy metal fence).

    If you have the van registration number you can get the insurance details directly from AskMid for a small fee without having to go through either Amazon or the police. Although if you can claim from your own policy that would probably be preferable - the third party insurer will be entitled to settle on an indemnity basis, which basically means making a deduction to account for the age of the railings (if not brand new) whereas your own policy will replace them new for old (if you can argue that they should be covered).
  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 11,548 Forumite
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    The fact that they earlier call out fences and railings as two different things adds a fairly good argument to the fact that railings aren't excluded when they later only mentioned fences later. In other circumstances, if railings hadn't been mentioned earlier, then I'd have said railings could be a considered a form of fencing potentially.

    So option one, is point out the above to your insurer and register a complaint if they dont want to help. There is no "insurance ombudsman" but if their final response isnt to your liking insurance falls under the jurisdiction of the Financial Ombudsman.

    Option two is talk to the insurers of the vehicle. It is likely they'd be happy dealing with you directly which avoids you needing to pay your excess and try to claim it back. The two downsides are that its not "new for old" and if something does go wrong you have no right to go to the ombudsman
  • huckster
    huckster Posts: 4,874 Forumite
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    edited 9 June 2023 at 6:50AM
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    Is that a More Than Home Insurance policy?

    Was your home damaged at the same time that the vehicle hit the railings ?

    Insurers don't want to cover damage to some boundary infrastructure unless it forms part of the actual house, which is why they construct the policy wording in this way. 

    So unless the railings are connected to the house and the house was  also damaged, the intent of the policy is to exclude these type of claims.


    The comments I post are personal opinion. Always refer to official information sources before relying on internet forums. If you have a problem with any organisation, enter into their official complaints process at the earliest opportunity, as sometimes complaints have to be started within a certain time frame.
  • dazmatic
    dazmatic Posts: 5 Forumite
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    Its a Covea insurance policy.

    The fact that they discernably make a distinction between railings and fences earlier in the policy wording in my mind means they have separate definitions for them - as railings are not specifically excluded and it is not of a fence structure, is should be included as far as I am concerned.

    We essentially have a ramp leading up to our front door for disability access, the railing is a handrail the length of the access ramp and does not sit on the property boundary and is connected to the house at one end.

    The driver collided with the end of the rail at the entrance to the ramp and bent the whole thing out of shape.
  • eddddy
    eddddy Posts: 16,654 Forumite
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    dazmatic said:

    We essentially have a ramp leading up to our front door for disability access, the railing is a handrail the length of the access ramp and does not sit on the property boundary and is connected to the house at one end.

    The driver collided with the end of the rail at the entrance to the ramp and bent the whole thing out of shape.

    Before going any further, have you found out how much it would cost to repair the handrail? And compared it to the excess you would have to pay, and future increased premiums resulting from a claim?


    (Although now that you've reported the incident to your insurers, that might result in future increased premiums, whether or not you continue with the claim.)

  • DullGreyGuy
    DullGreyGuy Posts: 11,548 Forumite
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    edited 9 June 2023 at 9:13AM
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    dazmatic said:
    We essentially have a ramp leading up to our front door for disability access, the railing is a handrail the length of the access ramp and does not sit on the property boundary and is connected to the house at one end.

    The driver collided with the end of the rail at the entrance to the ramp and bent the whole thing out of shape.
    I wouldnt describe that as railings as that term instantly conjures images of boundary marker


    What you are describing really comes under fixtures and fittings and is a disability handrail 

  • user1977
    user1977 Posts: 14,537 Forumite
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    dazmatic said:
    Its a Covea insurance policy.

    The fact that they discernably make a distinction between railings and fences earlier in the policy wording in my mind means they have separate definitions for them - as railings are not specifically excluded and it is not of a fence structure, is should be included as far as I am concerned.

    We essentially have a ramp leading up to our front door for disability access, the railing is a handrail the length of the access ramp and does not sit on the property boundary and is connected to the house at one end.

    The driver collided with the end of the rail at the entrance to the ramp and bent the whole thing out of shape.
    And did you describe it clearly to the insurers (given you didn't in your OP here!)?

    As I said though, given you know who the culprit is and appear to have adequate evidence, I'm not sure that it's preferable for you to claim on your own policy anyway.
  • huckster
    huckster Posts: 4,874 Forumite
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    Go back to Insurers. It is a disability assistance railing that is connected to the door of your property.  Then see if you can get the claim re-opened with a better description of what you are claiming for.

    Claiming against Amazon will be frustrating, as these companies will just try to avoid any liability. And you might end up having to take them to Court.

    And please note the advice from Edddy above.

    The comments I post are personal opinion. Always refer to official information sources before relying on internet forums. If you have a problem with any organisation, enter into their official complaints process at the earliest opportunity, as sometimes complaints have to be started within a certain time frame.
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