Helping to find a fair cash settlement following water damage

Buildings insurance

When Simon made a claim for water damage, his insurer asked him to get some quotes for the repairs. But inconsistency between quotes led Simon to getting in touch with us.

What happened

Simon made a claim for water damage. The insurer accepted it and asked him to provide two quotations for repairs. Both quotes turned out to be around £10,000. 

But the insurer thought some of the work in the quotes wasn't necessary as they included plastering entire walls. They said their own builder considered £6,000 was a more reasonable cost of repairing the water damage. Simon thought it was unfair that he should be left with a shortfall between his quotes and the insurer's offer. 

The policy terms gave the insurer the option to settle the claim by repair or cash payment. The insurer felt this meant they could offer what they thought was a fair value for the work. 

What we said

We established that the insurer wasn't offering Simon the chance to use their builder to get the damage repaired. They were choosing the cash option. We believed they had the right to make that choice - but the settlement amount would only be fair if it was enough for Simon to carry out the repairs himself. 

The work needed was in two bedrooms and an en-suite bathroom, which the insurer accepted had been water damaged. We got in touch with one of the builders to ask about the plastering point the insurer had made. 

The builder said that repairing patches of the plaster was unlikely to work. This is because there was a high risk that the new plaster wouldn't bond with the old plaster. 

We thought the insurer's offer wasn't fair. They weren't offering to carry out the work, the cost of their own builder wasn't relevant. And the quotes from Simon's builders didn't seem to include any unnecessary work. 

We decided to uphold Simon's complaint. The two quotes suggested the realistic market price to Simon was around £10,000 so that's what the cash settlement should be based on.