Customer wants to replace windows after break in despite insurer’s offer to repair

Buildings insurance

We investigated when Hillary brought a complaint to us when she wasn't satisfied with her insurer's response after a break-in.

What happened

After Hillary's home was broken into, she put in a claim with her insurer for three damaged windows. Her insurer offered to repair the damaged windows. But Hillary didn't think this would be enough to fix the damage - she thought it would be better to replace the windows. 

Hillary's policy said: 'we will at our option repair or replace the property claimed for. Where you prefer to use your own tradesman, the amount we pay you will not exceed what we would have paid our supplier'.

The insurer explained that they had consulted a window repairer on what would be best. The repairer said that one window needed cosmetic repairs and the other two would need new sashes to fix the damage. This is how they had come to this decision. 

But the window manufacturer said that normally their advice to customers is to replace damaged windows. This is because repairs don't always prevent further attempts to break in. Hillary took their advice. 

What we said

We thought the policy gave the insurer the right to choose to repair the windows. But this would only be fair would be lasting and effective. 

The insurer's repairer had inspected the damage and made a judgement based on what they saw. But the manufacturer's comments weren't specific to the damage. They said that replacements might be better. They didn't say a repair wouldn't work. 

Taking both views into account, we were more persuaded by the insurer's repairer. So we were satisfied that it was fair for the insurer to choose to repair. 

Hillary accepted what we said but still wanted to replace the windows as she felt more secure that way. The insurer offered to pay her what they would have paid their window repairer, which included a 20% supplier discount. 

We checked that this was the discount the insurer would usually get from their supplier. We felt that they were already offering to compensate Hillary by repairing the windows. So with the policy term as well, we felt that it was fair for the insurer to apply the 20% discount to the settlement.