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  • FIRST POST
    • jmzcherry
    • By jmzcherry 9th Mar 18, 3:26 PM
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    jmzcherry
    Buildings insurance claim after attempted break in
    • #1
    • 9th Mar 18, 3:26 PM
    Buildings insurance claim after attempted break in 9th Mar 18 at 3:26 PM
    We had an attempted break in at our property last week. Thankfully the dog scared them off but there was damage to the French windows at the rear of the property where they tried to snap the lock.

    We had a door replacement company out who noticed that the French windows don't have a lintel above them and one would need installing before they can be replaced.

    AXA have agreed to replace the windows but are refusing to pay for a lintel to be installed saying 'it's not their problem'. From my point of view they should pay for the lintel too as we wouldn't have needed to put one in had the French windows not needed replacing as a result of the attempted break in.

    Not sure why a lintel wasn't there originally but the existing French windows were installed some years ago by a previous owner.

    Is this something I should be contesting with AXA or am I being unreasonable by expecting them to pay for the lintel?
Page 1
    • Quentin
    • By Quentin 9th Mar 18, 3:36 PM
    • 35,604 Posts
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    Quentin
    • #2
    • 9th Mar 18, 3:36 PM
    • #2
    • 9th Mar 18, 3:36 PM
    When you are unhappy with an insurer the route to take is a formal complaint which you can then escalate to the FOS for their adjudication if you are unhappy with the reply (or they ignore you for 8 weeks).


    All at no cost to you


    If there was bad workmanship over the lintel then that's not covered by your policy though
    • Blibble
    • By Blibble 9th Mar 18, 7:52 PM
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    Blibble
    • #3
    • 9th Mar 18, 7:52 PM
    • #3
    • 9th Mar 18, 7:52 PM
    The policy will be a peril-based one. Which insurable peril has caused either damage to the lintel, or the lintel to not be present?

    Sounds like a consequential loss, I'm afraid. Could you take a cash payment & organise for an independent contractor to (maybe?!) fit one without a lintel?
    Wedding fund - £2590.92 (£1562.07)
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    Emergency fund - £159.00
    • BooJewels
    • By BooJewels 9th Mar 18, 7:52 PM
    • 273 Posts
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    BooJewels
    • #4
    • 9th Mar 18, 7:52 PM
    • #4
    • 9th Mar 18, 7:52 PM
    I can see both sides of it - you wouldn't have the potential expense of the lintel without the burglary causing damage, but it probably isn't an insured risk - although you'd need to check your policy details, but usually matching items or other kinds of indirect or consequential repairs are excluded.

    We had a similar issue in 2013; we suffered a lot of water and mud damage after a severe storm brought half the hillside down and in the process of inspecting the damage and then later during the repair process, structural engineers found other problems unrelated to the immediate claim.

    We ended up splitting the difference a little (they covered one issue and we did the rest), but the net result was us having to extend our mortgage to rebuild a corner of the house, that had actually been damaged in the war - we knew about the damage, but not how badly they'd repaired it at the time. We'd been on borrowed time and they had no idea how it was still standing. I sit underneath the dodgy bit many days a year when I work outside and one truck rumbling past could have brought it down on me. One corner of the house was basically dry stone walling with pointing on one side - with big stones!

    We had to consider it a lucky escape and suck it up. You might have to do the same, a missing lintel sounds like it might make the wall above and the French doors unstable. The extra lintel at the same time as the door replacement will probably be cheaper than getting the lintel replaced in isolation, so you're probably defraying some of the cost - not that it'll feel like much consolation just now.
    • ValiantSon
    • By ValiantSon 9th Mar 18, 10:38 PM
    • 1,876 Posts
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    ValiantSon
    • #5
    • 9th Mar 18, 10:38 PM
    • #5
    • 9th Mar 18, 10:38 PM
    We had an attempted break in at our property last week. Thankfully the dog scared them off but there was damage to the French windows at the rear of the property where they tried to snap the lock.

    We had a door replacement company out who noticed that the French windows don't have a lintel above them and one would need installing before they can be replaced.

    AXA have agreed to replace the windows but are refusing to pay for a lintel to be installed saying 'it's not their problem'. From my point of view they should pay for the lintel too as we wouldn't have needed to put one in had the French windows not needed replacing as a result of the attempted break in.

    Not sure why a lintel wasn't there originally but the existing French windows were installed some years ago by a previous owner.
    Originally posted by jmzcherry
    The installation of your French windows was defective. There should have been a lintel put in. Your insurers are not responsible for this. If the previous owners had the French windows put in without having a lintel fitted then this should have been identified in your survey when you bought the property. If you didn't pay for a full buildings survey then you have no comeback against the surveyor and you are liable for the cost of the lintel.

    Why do you think that your insurers should pay for this? You are claiming for the damage caused by the would-be burglars. They did not cause you not to have a lintel fitted, and if they hadn't attempted to break in you still wouldn't have a lintel. The repair contractor is quite correct to say that they will not carry out the work due to the absence of the lintel.

    You would have needed a lintel fitted even without the attempted break in. The fact that you were unaware of the problem does not change the fact that it was a problem. Your wall could collapse due to the absence of the lintel, so you would have needed to have a lintel put in.

    You need to pay to have a lintel fitted and your insurers will pay for the actual loss you sustained as a result of this attempted break in, i.e. replacement of the French windows.

    Is this something I should be contesting with AXA
    Originally posted by jmzcherry
    Absolutely not! This is not their fault, nor is it a loss you have suffered under the terms of your policy.

    or am I being unreasonable by expecting them to pay for the lintel?
    Originally posted by jmzcherry
    Yes you are. It is your problem.

    If you had a full buildings survey done then you can raise a claim against the surveyor for failing to notice this. If you didn't then you will have to pay for a lintel to be fitted.
    Last edited by ValiantSon; 09-03-2018 at 10:41 PM.
    • ValiantSon
    • By ValiantSon 9th Mar 18, 10:43 PM
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    ValiantSon
    • #6
    • 9th Mar 18, 10:43 PM
    • #6
    • 9th Mar 18, 10:43 PM
    The policy will be a peril-based one. Which insurable peril has caused either damage to the lintel, or the lintel to not be present?

    Sounds like a consequential loss, I'm afraid. Could you take a cash payment & organise for an independent contractor to (maybe?!) fit one without a lintel?
    Originally posted by Blibble
    If they did then they would be failing to complete the work to competent installation standards and, therefore, building regulations.
    • TSx
    • By TSx 10th Mar 18, 5:45 AM
    • 771 Posts
    • 538 Thanks
    TSx
    • #7
    • 10th Mar 18, 5:45 AM
    • #7
    • 10th Mar 18, 5:45 AM
    If you can evidence that the doors met building regulations at the time of them being installed, most (but check carefully) policies include fees or costs to comply with current regulations as a separate section of the policy for exactly this reason.

    If they werenít up to scratch (or you canít evidence it) then the insurance wonít pay to fix a long standing problem
    • eddddy
    • By eddddy 10th Mar 18, 11:46 AM
    • 6,335 Posts
    • 6,191 Thanks
    eddddy
    • #8
    • 10th Mar 18, 11:46 AM
    • #8
    • 10th Mar 18, 11:46 AM
    We had a door replacement company out who noticed that the French windows don't have a lintel above them and one would need installing before they can be replaced.
    Originally posted by jmzcherry
    There are non-structural windows/door frames which require a lintel above them.

    There are also structural windows/door frames which don't require a lintel above them - they are reinforced, so they hold the weight of brickwork above them.

    It could be that the company you spoke to don't sell/install structural door frames - so they are telling you to install a lintel.

    One option is to find a different company who do sell/install structural door frames.

    The frame itself will probably be more expensive, and so will the installation - as the building above the door might have to be supported whilst the frame is replaced.


    Edit to add...

    You might get better advice talking to a builder. Window replacement companies tend to send 'salespeople', who only really know about the products they sell.
    Last edited by eddddy; 10-03-2018 at 11:49 AM.
    • Blibble
    • By Blibble 10th Mar 18, 3:00 PM
    • 433 Posts
    • 751 Thanks
    Blibble
    • #9
    • 10th Mar 18, 3:00 PM
    • #9
    • 10th Mar 18, 3:00 PM
    If they did then they would be failing to complete the work to competent installation standards and, therefore, building regulations.
    Originally posted by ValiantSon
    Wholly agree - that's why I put "maybe?!"

    Someone was daft enough last time, they might be daft enough again ...
    Wedding fund - £2590.92 (£1562.07)
    OP fund - £1427.23 (£138.67)
    Emergency fund - £159.00
    • ValiantSon
    • By ValiantSon 10th Mar 18, 8:47 PM
    • 1,876 Posts
    • 1,740 Thanks
    ValiantSon
    Wholly agree - that's why I put "maybe?!"

    Someone was daft enough last time, they might be daft enough again ...
    Originally posted by Blibble
    Maybe they would, but that is not something that the OP should be seeking as it still leaves them with a significant defect in the fabric of their house. If the wall collapses then they will be a lot worse off than they are now, and the insurers won't pay out then either!
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