Home Insurance Shambles – any advice please!

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2 months ago I returned from a weeks holiday to my kitchen flooded, it was established it was caused by a faulty valve in the bathroom sink above the kitchen. A plumber came out, fixed the problem, and the home insurance company at this point were great and confirmed I would be able to claim. There was a lot of damage to one half of the kitchen so it was definitely worth the £450 excess.

The kitchen had to be dried out for several weeks so the insurance appointed contractors to come and do this who again were great. They got big dehumidifiers and spent weeks drying the kitchen out, and ended up having to chip off half of the plaster back to bare brick in order to dry it out properly. It was frustrating waiting to see what the insurance company would offer to rectify and I did chase it up but appreciate I had to wait until the property was dry.

I was initially infuriated that when the insurance company said they would only replace the damaged items in the kitchen (half of the units, all the worktops, several cupboards) and match it as best they could but after some research I learnt this was pretty standard unfortunately, without matching items cover. With this being said, I saw it pretty pointless at ripping the whole kitchen out, only to put half of it back and replace the other half, so I asked for a cash settlement figure.

The communication with the insurance has been really poor from start to finish, I never got any response to phone calls or emails until I escalated it and formed a complaint that no one was telling me what was happening. I ended up speaking to the building contractors directly (who, incidentally, broke my clock and my bin in the work but that’s another story!). Eventually a cash settlement figure came through in writing along with a scope of works (over email) stating “the cash settlement is £4696.48 less your £450 excess = £4246.48. Once you have had the works completed we will on receipt of your contractors invoice be able to pay you £939.28 VAT”

I thought great, I have a cash figure, I can see what I can do with this to see if it would be worth my while replacing the kitchen myself rather than watch them take it apart carefully only to put it back on. I sent 4 emails after this with several queries, including photos of damaged units which weren’t included in the scope of works I had been sent, and chasing it up several times. Meanwhile, I have been attending kitchen design fittings, booked a plasterer and kitchen fitter, got several quotes for kitchens, all the while waiting for the insurance company to respond in relation to the additional damaged units which hadn’t been accounted for.

In the meantime, the building contractors have emailed me saying it will be a cash settlement of £2945.68. I queried this directly with the building company to which they replied again and said the figure was actually £3174.28 as it had been increased. Confused, I simply asked for them to return my key and compensate for the damage caused (they were also appalling but again, another issue.)

Having still heard nothing from the insurance company, I emailed for the 5th time this tome entitling the email COMPLAINT. I explained that once again my personal claims manager hadn’t gotten back to me. I asked 3 very direct questions about reimbursement for the drying equipment electricity, again about the damaged units not counted, and finally why the building contractors had quoted me a totally different cash payout.

I then get a response at 16:55 on a Friday afternoon (today) from the insurance company stating

“I have now received the revised scope of works from ******** and like the one I previously sent you this includes work completed by them for which they have now provided their costs and this needs to be deducted from the cash settlement you were previously offered. The cash settlement you would actually receive is £3174.28. Please accept my apology for providing you with an incorrect figure previously.”

So I now assume that the contractors work already done had not been deducted from the initial cash settlement of £4246.48 + VAT. However, on the day I received this figure, I made a phone call to the insurance and specially asked “will I need to pay the contractors for the work they have already done” to which he replied “no, it’s for the scope of works to be completed from now” as I specifically wasn’t sure what was included.

Naturally as soon as I call them, there is no answer and the line just rings out. Am I within my rights to push for them to honour their original cash settlement, which I have got in writing and have been budgeting towards while waiting confirmation for the further damage?

Apologies for the long post, any help would be greatly appreciated. I’m a 27 year old girl funding her own house single handedly and this will just ruin me if the settlement is nearly £2k less! It’s been such a frustrating time and this has just got me over the edge! Any advice?

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