Don’t let a silly mistake cost you your home

You may have read the story of the Nolan family in the news this week. They are facing a second Christmas holed up in their garage after a blaze destroyed their bungalow in September last year.

The family has been unable to rectify the damage caused by the fire due to an ongoing dispute over their home insurance. After their £200,000 property was destroyed, they submitted a claim to their insurer, Direct Line. Unfortunately, their claim was declined and they were told that they only had cover for contents and not for damage to the actual building.

Dispute over what’s covered

The family are disputing this, saying that their latest renewal document from Direct Line stated that they had buildings cover of up to £1million and contents cover of up to £50,000.

Direct Line on the other hand, insists that the Nolans only had a contents insurance policy in place. The re-building of their property is therefore not insured.

So, with no insurance pay-out to rebuild their bungalow, the family now cook, eat and sleep in their garage. It’s a very unfortunate situation and Mr Nolan is arguing that they were mis-sold the policy by Direct Line.

Always read the small print

It’s difficult to judge the situation without knowing all the details of the purchase. However, the fact remains that if you buy an insurance policy, it’s important to carefully read the documentation and fully understand exactly what you’re covered for.

In turn, your insurer should help you to understand the cover you’re buying by outlining the policy details clearly and fully.  FSA regulations require that a concise, jargon-free information document, called the ‘Key Facts’ document, is available to consumers when they’re buying a financial product. This Key Facts document is designed to make it easier for consumers to identify, understand and compare key information before buying the product.

The plight of this poor family should be a lesson to all of us. Check through all policy documentation very carefully (both before and after purchasing). Make sure you’re full aware of what you are covered for and what eventualities fall outside of your insurance.

Read along with the schedule of insurance

It’s important to read the full policy wording in conjunction with your schedule of insurance. Your schedule will outline exactly what type and level of cover you have bought.

You may also have an endorsement. This is a document attached to an insurance policy that modifies the original policy in some way.  It is legally binding and can both add and restrict the insurance coverage.

Take a little time to read through your policy, it could save you a large amount of money in the future.

Policy Expert

Whether you want assistance in finding the right policy or even handling a claim, we make sure it’s all handled by experts. For more information speak to one of our experts on 0203 014 9300 or email

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