I’m unhappy with my insurer's decision on my claim, what can I do?

Sometimes you may disagree with your insurers’ decision on your claim. This can be a delicate situation, but there are steps you can follow to get the best results.

Lost or stolen property

If your insurance company’s loss adjusters are reducing your claim because of the age of stolen property, you may be able to argue against this.

If your policy stipulates that contents are covered on a ‘new-for-old’ basis you may be able to argue this point to your insurer.

New-for-old means the policy will pay the full cost to replace lost or stolen items with new ones, so you can buy a new replacement.

Many policies provide cover on an indemnity basis. This means your insurer will replace the lost or stolen item with an item of the same age and condition.

Check your policy cover. Indemnity cover could be cheaper than new-for-old, but could leave you much worse off if you have a large claim.

Top tips

  • Check your policy to see if you have an indemnity policy or a 'new-for-old' one 
  • If a single item, which is part of a set, is damaged, you may not be able to claim for the whole set 
  • If the policy is ambiguous, then the ambiguity must be interpreted in your favour

Single entity insurance

If a single item has been damaged or stolen that forms part of a larger set, such as a sofa in a three-piece suite, you may not be able to claim for the whole set.

Much will depend on the written terms of your policy. 

Unless the policy specifically states that the three-piece suite should be seen as a single entity for insurance purposes, you're unlikely to be able to insist that the whole suite should be replaced.

If it's ambiguous, then that ambiguity must be interpreted in your favour and against the insurance company. So the interpretation which favours you should be the one that prevails in such a case.

If it's not clear and you're not satisfied by your insurance company’s offer, write to your insurer explaining why you're dissatisfied and seek clarification as to the cover.

Storm damage

If you’ve had storm damage but your insurer doesn't believe you, you'll have to prove that your property was damaged as a result of strong winds accompanied by rain.

For this, you should provide evidence that there was a storm at the time the damage occurred. The Meteorological Office will be able to help you with this.

In addition, it may help to have an independent expert opinion from a builder or a structural engineer confirming that the damage you've claimed for could only have been caused by a storm.

Also, if other properties in the neighbourhood were damaged at the same time, this will also add weight to your claim.

Financial Ombudsman Service

If you have exhausted your insurance company’s complaints procedure set out in your insurance policy, and your claim has not been settled, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

The FOS deals with the unfair treatment of customers by insurance companies, poor service and poor administration.

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