Forum Home» Insurance & Life Assurance

My insurers intend to recoup costs of my repair from neighbours

New Post Advanced Search

My insurers intend to recoup costs of my repair from neighbours

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Insurance & Life Assurance
24 replies 2K views
littlerocklittlerock Forumite
1.8K posts
1,000 Posts Fifth Anniversary Combo Breaker
✭✭✭
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Insurance & Life Assurance
There is a long thread here where I describe what happened to me and my house after my neighbours house (semi to mine) caught fire. My house suffered considerable smoke and water damage and roof damage. I now understand my insurers are going to seek "compensation" from next door.

This raises some questions which interest me. Next door were hoarders and never did any maintenance. They had lived there for 50;years and latterly were embedded in rubbish and the place was falling down. Their estranged sons paid their buildings insurance for them and had for a while but never visited.The house went up due to combustible materials stored too close to the fire when one of them tried to light a fire. They were rescued just in time..

Now there are fire inspectors crawling over it and a forensic fire investigator is coming round tomorrow to look at the damage it caused to mine.

Could their insurers will refuse to pay out in full? The houses are in a section 4 conservation area and it seems highly likely whtever happens, the exterior will have to be rebuilt the same which obviously I want to happen. Anyone know what normally happens when a poorly maintained historic building which is insured, burns down arguably due to owners negligence?
«13

Replies

  • QuentinQuentin Forumite
    40.4K posts
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    All depends on whether there has been any negligence

    Your own insurance should be able to tell you the answers to your questions
  • edited 13 August 2019 at 5:48PM
    littlerocklittlerock Forumite
    1.8K posts
    1,000 Posts Fifth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭
    edited 13 August 2019 at 5:48PM
    Currently playing their cards close to their chest. My insurers are different from next doors . My insurers regularly tell me they cannot comment on policies of next doors insurers. I am not sure how you would prove negligence on the part of two confused very old people. They cannot think or act rationally and should have been in a care home a long time ago.
  • POPPYOSCARPOPPYOSCAR Forumite
    14.4K posts
    Tenth Anniversary 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    I would think that would depend on the t&cs in their policy.

    If you have an open fire some companies insist the chimney is swept every year for example.

    How many people bother reading the small print.
  • BegseyBegsey Forumite
    129 posts
    As mentioned, negligence.

    After we had a fire that damaged our neighbours property, they claimed on their insurance, we claimed on ours.

    Their insurer decided I hadn't been negligent, so didn't try to claim back from our insurer.
  • littlerocklittlerock Forumite
    1.8K posts
    1,000 Posts Fifth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭
    What is interesting me is one glance at theiir house would have shown it was being allowed to fall down and had been for many years. Could the insurers refuse to cover full rebuilding cost due to pre fire condition/fire risk and what would happen then? This was a serious hoarders house, does that count as negligence?
    Would it then be sold for someone else to finish?
  • edited 14 August 2019 at 12:48AM
    AretnapAretnap Forumite
    3.8K posts
    Ninth Anniversary 1,000 Posts
    ✭✭✭✭
    edited 14 August 2019 at 12:48AM
    littlerock wrote: »
    I am not sure how you would prove negligence on the part of two confused very old people. They cannot think or act rationally and should have been in a care home a long time ago.
    Negligence means failing to take the level of care that would be expected of a reasonable person, and that a reasonable person would have foreseen or been able to foresee that the damage to your house was a potential consequence of that lack of care.

    From what I can gather, with the exception of children (where the child's age is taken into account in deciding what can be reasonably expected of them) the mental capacity of the defendant is NOT generally a factor in deciding the expected level of care. Only if mental impairment is so severe that it makes a person entirely incapable of controllling his actions (eg unconsciousness, sleepwalking) does it provide a defence to negligence. Here is a recent case which seems to have clarified the law.

    https://www.clydeco.com/blog/insurance-hub/article/duty-of-care-dunnage-v-randall-and-uk-insurance-ltd-2015-ewca-civ-673
  • pramsay13pramsay13 Forumite
    1.1K posts
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts
    ✭✭✭
    Either way you are covered by your own insurance.

    If they choose to recoup costs from the insurance company next door or even from the couple themselves is neither here or there.
  • edited 14 August 2019 at 10:09AM
    lisyloolisyloo Forumite
    26.5K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited 14 August 2019 at 10:09AM
    littlerock wrote: »
    What is interesting me is one glance at theiir house would have shown it was being allowed to fall down and had been for many years. Could the insurers refuse to cover full rebuilding cost due to pre fire condition/fire risk and what would happen then? This was a serious hoarders house, does that count as negligence?
    Would it then be sold for someone else to finish?


    Did you take any actions yourself?
    And did you keep any records?
    If it was me I would have been complaining about this for years and have records.

    You seem to be saying this is foreseeable so would a reasonable person living next door have taken action?

    Was the carer a professional? Private or local authority?
    If these people were unable to make safe decisions and lived in a hazardous environment then I would have thought the local authority (if involved) had some responsibility and I would have expected a private carer to report it also.

    I don’t think you are going to get a quick answer unfortunately.

    It’s a really rubbish situation for you and I really sympathise, but this is why we have insurance even though you’ve had to fill in a lot of gaps in cover (the lack of temp accomodation situation does not seem to be the insurers fault).
  • edited 14 August 2019 at 12:43PM
    littlerocklittlerock Forumite
    1.8K posts
    1,000 Posts Fifth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭
    edited 14 August 2019 at 12:43PM
    It is a good point. I have attempted to get attention paid to the couple next door as their condition deteriorated. But I was told that I could not request contact from social services for them as I was not family. Their two sons lived nearby but never visited - I think they gave up as the hoarding took a hold - and no one can compel them to. There is no duty of care in law for children to look after their parents, not in the UK.

    The old people themselves insisted they were fine and the husband was coherent if forgetful. They did not have a private carer and were not on social security. Their autistic daughter did some caring but she was away when the house caught fire.

    The big problem really was the hoarding and apparently fire services in the past have asked to be able to take action where extreme hoarding poses a fire risk, as here, but this has been turned down by the government as to complex to enforce.
  • Robin9Robin9 Forumite
    6.5K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    ✭✭✭✭
    Littlerock - I think you are bothering yourself with your neighbours and its not really your concern.

    Your property has been damaged and your insurers are picking up the bill. If your insurers can get the costs back from another insurer they will - if they can't then they can't but your are no worse off.
    Never pay on an estimated bill
Sign In or Register to comment.

Quick links

Essential Money | Who & Where are you? | Work & Benefits | Household and travel | Shopping & Freebies | About MSE | The MoneySavers Arms | Covid-19 & Coronavirus Support