Insurance claim departments are taking a hard nosed approach – make sure you’re covered

I recently heard about three businesses who have been robbed of £250,000 assets and their company insurance is not paying out. Today, I heard about another case of a business getting caught out and insurers used terrible judgement to decline the insurance claim. I am trying to use the information superhighway to show you how to ensure this doesn’t happen to you or people you know that run businesses.

The scene of the crime

Criminals have been climbing into manholes and cutting telephone lines at targeted premises. This triggers the alarm and Police and a member of staff attend the premises. There’s absolutely no evidence of a break-in so the Police and staff withdraw. After everyone has left the premises are then broken into yet the alarm doesn’t sound because the lines have already been cut. Then the highly organised theft occurs. Yet insurers have refused to pay out. These are their excuses:

• The alarm wasn’t fully reset at the time of the break-in (the physical break-in)
• An employee should have stayed at the premises because the premises must not be left unattended if the alarm isn’t working

My opinion

The theft started when the alarm was fully operational. They are not two incidents, just one clever one.

History shows insurers declining similar claims in the past. In a nutshell, an MD who attended a premises after the alarm sounded in 1998 left because he felt uneasy. A theft occurred and insurers said he should only have left when threatened with violence. His claim was refused. These decisions lead to insurance complaints and legal costs.

So what can you do to help yourself and others?

The easy yet not very palatable answer is to leave someone on the premises once the alarm is triggered. Organised criminals are unlikely to enter attended premises. Install a panic button yet ensure it operates independent of the compromised alarm. The Police can then respond.

Discover how you can get claims paid

Ensure you understand the claims process and the policy you’ve bought. Most policies covering assets have security warranties. Meanwhile, I’m hoping to gauge the temperature of the nation with a survey. Would you cancel your insurance policy if you found your insurance company was using bad judgement? Take part in the survey and view the results on our top tips page.

Top Tip

If you have an alarm, ask your adviser to interpret your policy terms, conditions, exclusions and warranties for you.

See our top tips page for simple ways to help yourself today.