Storm Ciara has left a load of families knee dip in water – and for some, the nightmare is only just dripping through.
Reader Erin emailed me this week about her home insurance stresses after the whole of the downstairs of her home was flooded during the storm.
Erin was forced to evacuate her house for two days because of the flooding. She was told it was unsafe for her to stay.
When she got back she started to assess the damage so she could crack on with a claim.
She realized that all the carpets downstairs were wrecked, along with her television, DVD player and music station, plus all the furniture and a computer.
She estimated the cost of replacing all her ruined belongings to be well in excess of £ , .
Families have been forced out of their homes by flooding (Image: AFP via Getty Images)
After meticulously noting all the damaged items and taking photos, she called her insurance provider to lodge a claim.
But the agent informed her that while she was covered for any structural damage to the property, she was not covered for any damage to the contents.
Erin, from Bradford, was stunned so she contacted me for help. Having read her policy’s small print, it became painfully clear she was not covered for damage to the contents.
She was shocked about this because the insurer had specifically asked her when she signed up if her house was in a high-risk flood area.
Erin confirmed it was so she assumed she would be fully covered if the worst happened.
My experience of insurers, from the emails and letters I receive every week from distressed customers, is they will do anything to wriggle out of paying up.
But my view is that Erin has very good grounds to argue that she was led to believe she would be covered, which could mean the policy was mis-sold to her.
I have helped her draft a letter to the insurer and advised that she should lodge a claim with the Financial Ombudsman Service if it continues to reject her claim.
Erin’s story highlights the importance of reading and fully understanding the terms of your insurance policy – especially what you are and are not covered for.
You can see more advice from Dean on theconsumerlawyer.blog