House insurance claims


October 20

On October 2nd, I went into my south facing front bedroom in the middle of the afternoon and immediately smelt burning. I was amazed to see that my dressing table was on fire and couldn’t work out how this could have happened. It took a while to realise that the very fierce sun, low in October, had come in through the window, hit the back of a double-sided mirror and the refracted light had caused the raised rear section to catch fire.
Fortunately, I had contents insurance arranged with a well-known insurance company who had provided me with very satisfactory car insurance for many years so I naturally assumed they would be trustworthy.
Far from it, I’m afraid. They have just phoned to refuse my claim on the basis that I must be a liar. This conclusion was reached on the basis of photos I had sent them which could not show the full extent of the damage, which included a large black hole virtually impossible to capture on a mobile phone, rather than on a visit from an assessor. I objected to their decision and was initially offered a visit, which was then withdrawn.
So there I am, unable to prove that I’m telling the truth and having paid a premium for a non-existent service. What is more worrying are the excuses they would probably find for refusing to pay for more serious loss, a burglary or flood for example. I’ve read the policy thoroughly and they have so many get-out clauses that it’s hardly worth the paper it’s printed on; they don’t however have a get-out clause for this particular incident except by implicitly accusing me of fraud. Frankly, it’s more stressful than having no policy at all; I won’t be bothering to renew.
I write this to alert your readers to the danger of feeling secure in the knowledge that their possessions are covered by insurance from this company and the shock of finding out they are absolutely not. They will look for a reason to refuse payment and will undoubtedly find one. Read the small print carefully especially the exemptions, too numerous to mention and far outweighing the acceptable circumstances. What is worse is their refusal to even examine at first hand the items in question by summarily dismissing the claim on the basis of photographs and in my case, a theory, and it is just a theory, of how this might have happened despite the fact that I’m not a physicist.
It’s clear, I must be making the whole thing up.

Bernice Brandt-Wisniak

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  1. Unfortunately all this case points to a well described failed fraud attempt and extorsion.
    It is totally imposible…
    “that the very fierce sun, low in October, had come in through the window, hit the back of a double-sided mirror and the refracted light had caused the raised rear section to catch fire…”

    Never, in a hundred years under the “very fierce sun, low in October” of Spain nor even august in texas would set fire in a house just by coming by the window glass.
    Reflecting in a mirror will have the effect of dispersing the light even further unless a lens is used to concentrate such light. We would have fires everywere from Englad to China! , fir Christ sake, this is un-be-li-e-va-ble

    This is a very interesting subject as it points clearly to a possible fraud attempt stoped by the claim experts of the insurance company. So far, so good. But what I find insaine is to try to give bad reputation to an otherwise full legal company by sending letters to the local post.
    I would not be surprised to find that there was a previous attempt to get an out of court compensation under the threat of publishing some unbelivevable story.
    To the editor, my best wishes, to the author… I am still laughing

  2. Totally agree with you Antonio. Unfortunately there will always be people trying to be “clever” by making money on false claims. You spotted this one which comes from a known “commenter” but I wonder how did it even get published in a first place.
    When a letter is sent to a publisher, the minimum that is expected if he wants to be considered a reliable source is to verify it before making it public.


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