Insurance claim

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  • Insurance claim

    Hi All, my first post.
    After tenant caused a small kitchen fire, I've replaced the entire kitchen. Insurers are covering upper units, decoration etc. but state they will not pay for lower kitchen units as they were not damaged in fire. Any thoughts on how to proceed?

  • #2
    Hmm. I guess you are up against 'betterment' provisions, the same as if you were making deposit deductions.

    Presumably you will now not have to replace the kitchen as soon as you would have previously. Therefore, don't the insurers have a point in saying that they will only pay for a proportion of the cost?

    Comment


    • #3
      Insurance is to return you to the same financial position after an insured incident - not to give you a whole new kitchen. If a fire has only damaged the upper units then that is all they are required to replace. Normally an insurer will do the best they can to match the new units to the old ones but it seems you have already gone and replaced the whole kitchen so this is now not an option.

      All you can do now is give the insurer the invoice and expect a percentage of the total bill paid. Another thing worth bearing in mind is that they will only pay for the new value of the damaged units. This means that if the previous kitchen was £2000 new and half of it was damaged then they will pay out £1000 regardless of the value of the new kitchen you have just installed. Obviously any payout will be less the excess on the policy.
      Steve Smith - Company Director at a leading Landlord Insurance broker with 17+ years experience in the industry
      LandlordZONE Verified Poster and Topic Expert for Landlords Insurance since 2009
      See my profile for contact details

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      • #4
        Many thanks for the swift and knowledgeable responses.

        I appreciate JKO's and ashburton's comments on why improving the property is not the remit of the insurers!

        After the fire, I attempted to match the units; this was not possible and the insurers were notified that the whole kitchen would need replacing. If I had not fitted a new kitchen the rental loss resulting from the mis-matched kitchen would have left me financially worse off. Whilst an insurance claim should not result in the improvement of a property, neither should it leave the insured financially worse off and I don't consider this to be a valid interpretation of the claim.

        All comments gratefully received!

        Comment


        • #5
          If just the top units were replaced being matched as closely as they could, how much would it realistically affect your rental income? Putting a figure on this would be very difficult. If I was living in a property charging me £800p/m and then half of my kitchen was replaced which didn't match but was new, I think I would have no grounds to ask to pay less rent but this is just my own personal opinion.

          The other way to look at this is if the insurer paid for the whole kitchen then you would be in a financially better position as your property would be worth more and you would certainly be entitled to charge more rent. Insurance is not for making a profit on so this makes this situation quite tricky.

          I think your only solution is to speak to the insurance company and argue your point (paragraph 1) while they argue there point (paragraph 2) and come to some compromise in the costs which you are both happy with.
          Steve Smith - Company Director at a leading Landlord Insurance broker with 17+ years experience in the industry
          LandlordZONE Verified Poster and Topic Expert for Landlords Insurance since 2009
          See my profile for contact details

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by 7skypilot View Post
            If I had not fitted a new kitchen the rental loss resulting from the mis-matched kitchen would have left me financially worse off.
            That's a bold claim: You're saying that unless units matches exactly the achievable rent will be reduced, which is far from obvious.
            I think this is the key e.g. if attempting to have the tenant pay for anything related to lower units (upper bound being residual value of old units)

            I guess that having the lower and higher units not matching in a pleasant way is a valid decoration idea, btw. It's all about taste, so difficult to quantify.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks to all for your comments.
              I guess the 'rental loss' is a bit of a red herring. I'll be pursuing the insurers for the cost of reinstating the kitchen and will try to let you know the result.

              Comment


              • #8
                It took me 6 years to realise not all the kitchen units matched exactly!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Next time you could try for frosted or etched glass doors, which can be useful here for wall cupboards if you need to non-match.

                  Insurer should be happy if they cost the same or you pay the difference.

                  ML
                  Refer Mad Regulators to Arkell vs Pressdram.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi- one problem is that you could go out and purchase an exact replacement from the manufacturer and still have the kitchen look mismatched due to damage to existing units from UV or simply manufacturing dilot differences (common issue when tiling).

                    The only thing you can do is to seek out an independant adjustor to assess the situation and fight the insurance company on your behalf.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      A friend's rental flat above a restaurant had his entire contents replaced, (including kitchen units,) after a fire in the property below. There was no burn damage to anything in his flat but the smoke damage, (which was deemed carcinogenic,) was enough to cause replacement of everything by the insurance company. I saw the flat after the fire and could only just about smell the smoke damage. There was very little to see in the way of visible damage.

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