For just about everyone, insurance is a vital necessity. It’s not something that anyone enjoys having but the cost of not having it can be extremely painful in the event of fire, flood or theft. This is especially true if you own a high value home. Although you’ve probably insured your house rebuilding cost as a condition of your mortgage, have you covered its contents properly? Unfortunately, many people underestimate the value of their possessions. High value contents insurance is a specific product that you should consider seriously. Insurance claims should always be taken seriously but sometimes they’re amusing or just plain odd. Here are just a few.
A football-sized piece of ice crashed through the roof of a house in Derbyshire in the early hours of the morning. Where the ice came from is rather a mystery, but one possible explanation is that it fell from an aircraft as the result of water that escaped and froze at high altitude. The Civil Aviation Authority reports that although there are 25 to 30 similar incidents every year, injuries almost never occur. The homeowner reported that his insurance company fully covered the cost of all damage.
Returning home from a winter holiday, a homeowner discovered that thieves had stolen seven ornamental Koi carp from the garden pond. This type of theft is more common than you’d expect, because these fish often cost more than £3000 each. In addition, they can live for as long as 50 years. Unfortunately, this homeowner had wholly inadequate insurance that considered these valuable fish to be livestock, the loss of which wasn’t covered. Fortunately, there are many other insurers who are able to provide appropriate and suitable cover.
A university-based research study looked at more than 40,000 insurance claims in an effort to gather information about those who place fraudulent claims. A profile of the “average” fraudster quickly emerged. This is a person aged between 20 and 50 years who places relatively small claims that are usually for less than £500. The report cited that many of these claims are transparently fraudulent, such as the story of a seagull that made off with an expensive watch. Another claim stated that a smashed flat-screen TV covered the floor in glass, despite the fact that the TV in question contained no glass. These and other fraudulent claims can add as much as £50 to the average insurance bill.
Remember when that meteor crashed into the Ural mountains in Russia last winter? The event was recorded by numerous automobile dashboard cameras installed by insurers for the purpose of preventing frivolous and fraudulent claims made by dodgy Russian drivers. A cursory search of YouTube will turn up hundreds of examples of their poor driving habits. Thank goodness UK drivers are generally more cautious.
If you own a high value home, your insurance bill is likely to be significant. For an example, consider the wealthy fictional family portrayed in the TV programme “Downton Abbey.” The locale where it was filmed is estimated to be valued in excess of £160 million. Plus, there’s a 1000-acre estate where a single tree can be valued at over £7000. Not to mention the need for contents insurance for the more than 50 bedrooms and the extensive collection of fine art and antiques. Imagine the cost of Employer’s Liability Insurance to cover the more than 60 staff members!
Then there’s the story of a woman in Plymouth whose house suffered a flood on three separate occasions in a 12 month period. After having the damage repaired and her contents reinstated, the homeowner was initially pleased to be offered new cover — until she read the small print. The insurance company placed a hefty £10,000 excess on any future flood claims The excess amount may as well have been £10 million, from her point of view. This episode underscores the need for both the government and the insurance industry to devise an equitable way of dealing with flood risk insurance.
Odd but true: A recent insurance claim for a broken arm whilst cycling to work stated that the cyclist was taking a short-cut through a farm. The claim stated that the rider was run off the road by a herd of — what else — guinea pigs! Luckily that farmer was able to verify that guinea pigs that had been given to his young daughter. Unfortunately, they escaped and multiplied to become a plague-like nuisance.
A father was driving his young children to pre-school in a rural neighbourhood. A huge male deer leapt out of the bushes and collided with the car. Fortunately, there were no injuries but the car was damaged. Whilst processing the claim, the insurance company queried whether the deer’s feet were on or off the ground, because this was the determining factor in paying the claim. Feet on the ground would trigger the claim being paid. The insurer’s odd logic seemed to be that if the animal’s feet were on the ground, it was charging the car aggressively, eventually hitting it, rather than being hit by the car itself.
A policyholder made a claim due to a broken washing machine. Apparently she had put in a load of wash before leaving home for the weekend. When she returned home, she discovered that the machine was stuck in a boiling cycle which caused extensive damage to her kitchen. The insurance company denied her claim, saying that steam damage was not covered. But, the woman’s broker pointed out that steam is a form of water, and that water damage was covered in the policy. Clever, but the insurance company refused to budge. The case ended up in small claims court where the judge supported the claim and instructed the recalcitrant insurer to pay up, which it promptly did.
An administrative airline employee who was responsible for handling claims processing received a claim from the catering department that explained that a cook had burned his elbow “putting tongue into the pot.” Apparently, he was in the process of cooking beef tongue that would later be sliced and made into sandwiches for passengers.
At Dovetail, we pledge to take all claims seriously and to process them as soon and as efficiently as possible. Do contact us today for insurance for your high value home.