Does anyone have experience in claiming escape of water damage including repairing leaking pipes? I could see the building insurance covers '‘escape of water’ which covers all 4 flats in the block, and wondering if we could claim any damage, repairs to leaking pipes etc from the insurance cover or does it only cover the actual damaged caused by the leak, i.e. damaged ceiling, but not the repairs of the pipes?
We certainly have experience of this!
Flat upstairs leaked into ours. The block insurance paid for everything, from tracing the source of the leak, mending the pipes, and substantial damage to 2 flats: upstairs the whole floor had to be replaced, and in ours, part of the ceiling and damaged kitchen worktops. The work took over 6 months; tenant had to move out for a couple of weeks while the kitchen was unusable, but insurance paid for the cost of her air b’n’b. I did not lose any rental income and the tenant was amazingly understanding. The insurance excess of £500 was split between the 2 properties. I expect how this sort of thing is handled will depend on the exact wording of your policy, which can be quite difficult to decipher!
You are certainly very understanding neighbour, I am not quite sure my neighboring flat below mine the leak is going into from my flat will be willing to split any excess given the leak is not their fault. And as I understand the block will expect me the leasee to be bearing any increase of the premium in insurance after making claims, so I am thinking of making the claim through my own landlord insurance which does have cover for ‘escape of water’. I am worried into running into trouble with the rest of the freeholders in the block if I made a claim through the building insurance of the block and cause increase of premium after, they will not be happy with me from my experience.
May I ask why you would split the excess given it is the upstairs’s fault?
The apportionement of the excess was actually decided by the factor (no leaseholders in Scotland) and we all agreed it was the fair thing to do. Remedial work was needed in both flats and it was no-one’s fault. Everyone was cooperative. The only real issue we had was the original contractors appointed by the factor were not very skilful so we switched to another one, this is why the repairs took so long. The issue of excesses is discussed frequently: should it be paid by the person making the claim; or shared amongst all the owners? There are pros and cons to both systems. (briefly, sharing it is a disadvantage if you are unlucky enough to have a very careless owner who makes a lot of claims). As for block insurance itself, that’s a whole other, very complicated discussion. I have had little insight into this although have tried hard. In essence, I have come to the conclusion that a communal block insurance is not a great idea for most; because, for one thing, not every flat owner has the same ‘needs’; an insurance company will usually want to know details like how many people live there, what is their occupation, renting or not, etc etc. However the flat I mentioned is obliged by the deeds to have a factor who arranged block insurance. Most people seem to be happy with it. As a landlord I have also taken out separate landlord insurance to cover legal expenses, evictions and the like, not covered by the block policy (although it did cover ‘loss of rent’ or ‘cost of alternative accommodation’. So, I did not have to claim on my own landlord policy, BUT I did make sure to inform them about the incident ( it’s wise to do this in case it comes up later on). I’ve asked my personal insurance agent whether or not I really actually need their policy (no reply after a month) but the cost is not great so I’m keeping it for now for peace of mind. An incident like water ingress can amount to a huge repair bill.
As to the other neighbours: tough luck to them, what is insurance for? It could be one of them next. Make the claim, but check any details regarding apportionment of the excess that may be already agreed.
Thanks very much Christine, very kind of you for sharing the full details of your experience. It is very helpful.