Alex and Sarah claimed for a broken boiler under their home emergency insurance, but were dismayed when it took four weeks to fix over the Christmas period.

What happened

When Alex and Sarah’s boiler broke, they claimed for the repair under their home emergency insurance. But it took four weeks for their insurer to fix the boiler.

That meant they had no hot water or heating over the Christmas and new year period, and Sarah just had a baby.  

The insurer’s engineer missed two appointments. And then, the insurer told them there were delays in ordering parts from the boiler manufacturer, which, they said, was out of their control.  

Alex and Sarah were unhappy about the missed appointments. And they'd had to spend money on buying electric heaters to keep their home warm for the family. 

So they complained to their insurer and, not satisfied with the response, contacted us to make a complaint.

What we said

We looked at the: 

  • claim notes 
  • contact notes 
  • notes between the insurer and their panel of tradespeople 

From this, we could see that the insurer was aware of potential delays because of the time of year. We also looked at when the parts were ordered and checked whether the insurer could have ordered them sooner.  

At the same time, we asked Alex and Sarah to send us evidence of their increased bills and the cost of the electric heaters. 

After examining all the evidence, we thought the insurer should have managed Alex and Sarah’s expectations when they reported the claim.

The insurer knew it was a busy period and was aware of appointments that had recently been missed for other customers. They should have told Alex and Sarah to arrange the repair themselves and then claim for the costs afterwards. 

We also thought the insurer was liable for the delay in ordering the parts. The manufacturer told us the parts were in stock at the time of the first missed appointment. If the engineer hadn't missed that appointment, there would have been no delay.  

We asked the insurer to pay Alex and Sarah compensation for the distress and inconvenience. We also asked them to reimburse the extra cost of the heating bills and the electric heaters.