If you were expecting the latest instalment from my home improvement journey to be the big reveal – I’m sorry to disappoint you. We have lost the scaffold so our neighbours now have the pleasure of seeing our transformed home, but we’re not quite finished internally. Read on to find out what’s happening in the Bousfield home…
My building work began in October 2017 and, as I previously mentioned, I naively thought it might be done by Christmas, alas it was not done by Easter.
Things are starting to come together in our project. My wife and I have a lovely bedroom, newly decorated, carpeted and furnished with a sexy king size bed from Loaf (furniture store not bakery).
Much of the wiring and connecting of sockets and lighting has been completed and although we still have some pretty significant structural work to do, it is isolated so we were in a positive state of mind. Easter weekend saw us welcoming my parents in law for a visit. Our bed had just arrived on the Thursday so we were able to move into our new bedroom on Good Friday in time for their visit.
Home Improvements – Complications
As the title suggests there is a disaster on the cards! Now nobody died or anything but this is what happened.
My family along with in laws enjoyed a meal at the Bat and Ball in Farnham on Easter Saturday and upon arriving home about 10pm discovered a wet floor. After some very quick investigating I found the source of the water to be a burst pipe in the new utility room, it had led to the whole kitchen, hallway, living/dining area being flooded. We isolated the leak and dried up the water as best we could but unfortunately there are a number of issues.
The new floor we have had installed was an engineered oak floor and is going to need replacing due to it having warped and swollen in places. The shiny new kitchen may have absorbed some of the water thus leading to unseen damage. The skirting boards need removing as they’re damaged, and are also holding the floor down so would have to come off anyway.
The list does go on but after the initial shock of the burst pipe (turned out to be a flexi hose connecting mains water to the tap that had split halfway along its length) the real difficulty is the logistics of sorting it all out.
The liability for the issue was taken on by the kitchen fitter who claimed on his public liability insurance. They called me saying I could handle the claim myself by sending them some photos and a couple of quotes for the work. I wasn’t keen on this option as I don’t want to get into a tit for tat argument about money with an insurance company used to dealing with claims on a daily basis.
The option I chose was to inform my own insurer who can then claim from the public liability insurer on my behalf, simple one would think.
I wanted to go to my insurer as I hoped they would act on my behalf and have the experience to bring things to a swift conclusion. My hopes were dashed straight away as I spent much of the afternoon on hold to the insurance company to be put in touch with the third party claims company (more time holding). Eventually I was told someone would be in touch to come and have a look.
As it was the school holidays we were committed to an already booked family holiday. I therefore suggested the claim handler contact my building contractor to arrange the visit, which was fine. Halfway through our holiday (Lake District – 10 Wainwrights ticked off!) our contractor called to say he hadn’t heard anything. This meant having to make chasing phone calls on holiday but hey ho, one of those things. However despite chasing we still had not heard by the time we were back.
After chasing again this week, and discussing with the chap on the phone, it turned out they had instructed the wrong person to deal with us as they only had authority to agree claims of up to £5,000. As our floor cost more than that in the first place it was clear we needed someone with a bit more authority. We need a fully fledged loss adjuster, however one was not available for another week. That means I don’t yet have an ending for this part of the story as the appointment hasn’t yet happened.
Key Takeaways – For Your Benefit
I have learned so far that the onus is on me to pursue the claim even though I am essentially the victim. Although the public liability insurer has admitted liability they are no help in assessing how much to claim.
My insurer, well the jury is out until the Loss adjuster has been, but so far they are not covering themselves in glory. Make sure your home insurance is up to date and inform your insurer that you are undertaking building work, that way you know you are always covered regardless of who is liable.
Watch this space for the outcome of the claim.