Help with an insurance claim?

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Wednesday 26 May 2004 3.51pm
A while back I was having a delivery made by a timber yard and the lorry hit a wall of my property. This caused a bit of damage and some of the masonry has had to be repaired / replaced.

After speaking to a variety of people, the timber yard, the insurance people and now their loss adjustors I've now hit a brick wall! (Jimmy Tarbuck 1973).

The adjustor has offered a paltry sum that doesnt cover the cost of repairs and say the insurance company / timber yard have not yet confirmed if they accept liability but 'would be likely to do so if I accept the level of compensation that has been offered'.

Has anyone got any good advice on how to play this so I get enough of a payment to cover the cost of the remedial works?

Post edited (26 May 04 15:52)

Wednesday 26 May 2004 4.52pm
Although I don't have any advice to offer myself, I would say it's worth speaking to your home insurance people to get their advice. Don't ask them to pay out, just ask them how you should approach it. Sometimes, insurance companies include legal assistance within the cost of your cover, and that might help you along.

I had a car accident a few years back, and whilst it was the other party's fault, I frequently called my insurers to see what they would advise me to do to get a reasonable payout. They were very keen to help...probably keen to watch their competition pay out!
Wednesday 26 May 2004 4.59pm
Interesting approach - as I read the above, the timber yard's insurance company currently isn't accepting liability for the damage caused to your wall ?

I would suggest countering by noting the offer is substantially less than the cost of the repairs and is made without admission of liability, and asking for an explanation of the basis upon which liability is still resisted (and I'd do this in writing, and insist on a written response).

Are you able to demonstrate to the insurance company that the damage was caused by the timber yard delivery ? Do you have a witness ? Or is it the case that the delivery was made when you were out ?

If someone saw them damage the wall, I can't understand the basis upon which the timber company could seriously resist liability - unless they are arguing that there was insufficient space to effect a proper delivery (in which case they should have refused to make it) - and so your only argument with them should be about the amount of damages.

It sounds from what you have said above, that the adjustor is trying it on in the hope you will then claim on your home insurance - be very careful before you do this as by accepting settlement from the timber company you could be prevented from claiming on your home insurance, but there could be a valid reason why he feels that the company shouldn't be liable - however, he should explain this to you clearly.

Post edited (26 May 04 17:00)
Wednesday 26 May 2004 5.03pm
TC -
You could also try the Citizen's Advice Bureau. They're good at this kinda thing.
Wednesday 26 May 2004 5.17pm
Thanks all - lots of ideas to take up...

Wednesday 26 May 2004 10.39pm
I've had a couple of reasonably successful dealings with loss adusters. When talking to them it helps to remember that they are not particularly concerned with the rights or wrongs of the case, only how much they can reduce the payment out by the insurance company that employs them. ( and if you are dealing with a loss adjuster then the insurance company is expecting to pay out.) My technique has been to engage in long drawn out telephone calls full of bloody mindedness and refusals to negotiate. - on the basis that their time is money and they will not particularly want to waste it talking to you. Their favourite technique if they have nothing particular to argue about, is to draw things out, so that payment comes months after the event. After all, if the money is in their account it is gaining interest, so why give it away when with a letter every month or so to negotiate the costs they can keep the payout away. Counteract this strategy with frequent telephone calls, rather than letters, which can be ignored, and unless you are legally trained it is easy to slip up in protracted correspondence. If they had a good reason to not pay out on your claim they would have already told you. Don't weaken, and the wall will be paid for.

Rick Shaw (at home)

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