I recently read an article in the Daily Mail where Halifax Insurance repudiated a claim for storm damage as the recorded wind speed was not strong enough. It is stories like this that give the insurance industry a bad name and the usual comments such as “it’s not worth the paper it’s written on” and “they do anything to get out of a claim” seem to come up.
I have worked in the insurance industry for several years and this scenario really annoys me. As a broker, we are caught in the middle of this argument. We are not the ones who pay out the claim, it is the insurer, and if the insurer pays out then the customer is happy so we are always on the customer’s side in this battle but can often be the target of abuse if a claim is not paid out.
In the article mentioned earlier, the claim was for damage to the roof following strong winds. Each and every insurer has a threshold for what wind speed is needed to be considered strong enough to cause damage. The whole point here is that the wind did not reach that speed but damage was caused.
The roof was obviously poorly maintained otherwise you would have expected a large number of roofs in the area to be damaged also but I would guess his was the only one. Sure, you are sympathetic with the person who has suffered the damage but a line has to be drawn somewhere otherwise a tile could fall off in a 5mph breeze and that could be claimed for even though it is quite obviously a maintenance issue. The insurer even made extra effort by sending a surveyor to the property who confirmed that there was signs of faulty flashing from prior to the claim.
There are different rules for every insurer as, at the end of the day, they are a business and need to make a profit. Some are more lenient in paying claims in certain areas than others but this is normally reflected in the price you pay. If you want to avoid having your insurance claim refused, read the policy before you take out the cover.