Insurance Help / Issue

Not the slightest bit Monzo related, but could use the advise of insurance/financially savvy people who frequent this forum! Will make a tenuous link to Monzo somewhere in the post.

My girlfriend and I bought a flat 9 months ago, which is a loft conversion of a period property/terraced house in London, with two other newly renovated flats below.

As a collective, with share of freehold, we took out buildings insurance for the whole property under the Ground Floor flats name. My girlfriend and I have not yet taken out contents insurance (holding out for Monzo Plus), being a loft flat (no risk of burglary), with all new white goods, still under warranty, we did not think we would need it urgently…

Last Saturday in the hot weather, while we were away on holiday, our loft flat got so warm that our sprinkler system went off, and flooded our flat, but also caused some water damage to the two flats downstairs.

Having got over the irony that the sprinkler system required for insurance purposes is the one thing that’s caused damage to the flat, we’re now trying to work out next steps.

Luckily, most of the contents have escaped with minimal damage, however, the main damage is to the floors and walls, throughout the building. I would have thought floors and walls would be covered by Buildings insurance, however, our provider says this covers exterior walls only. The insurance does cover water damage from a burst pipe, however we have not spoken to them directly, only via GF flat whose name it is under.

I’m sure contents insurance would not cover walls and floors?

Being relatively new to all of this I suppose my questions/what I’m asking for advice on are:

Is there another type of insurance for homes in addition to Buildings and Contents?
What sort of insurance to I need to protect against something as bonkers as this happening again?
Would buildings insurance usually cover this - do we just have a rubbish policy, or should we be pushing the insurers harder via the GF Flat?

Again, apologies for the non-Monzo related post - just feeling a bit miffed about what to do, but more than anything I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens again when it next gets hot. Ironically disabling the sprinklers would invalidate the buildings insurance :exploding_head:

Contents by definition tends to cover just contents. Flooring like carpets would be covered under your contents insurance, the actual building floor would be building insurance. Same for the walls, walls aren’t contents they’re structure. The wallpaper or paint probably isn’t covered.

You should check the policy carefully.

Edit: according to the financial Ombudsman it seems if it’s fixed it’s buildings. So carpet would be contents, wood flooring would be buildings.

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Sorry to read about this, what a nightmare!

To me this sounds like insurer cop out if you’re talking about the structural joists. However if it’s the floor tops, i.e carpets and hard flooring they’ll be covered by your contents insurance as they are not structural components.

Building Insurance covers the things that can not be reasonably removed from the house and taken somewhere else. Contents insurance is for everything else.

Makes sense - so superficial damage isn’t covered only sturctural damage.

I guess the question is can you cover the superficials - like wooden floors and paint work. Just concerned if it happens again!

Wooden floors would be covered by building insurance apparently (check your policy) as they aren’t apparently classed as contents which are removable.

You’ll need to check your policy and see what you actually paid for.

Stupidly haven’t gotten contents insurance so I’m probably not covered.

However,

I wouldn’t say that wooden floors and plaster and paint can easily be removed? Maybe I’m just being pedantic… :man_shrugging:

Damage to plaster etc I would imagine would be covered under buildings insurance as it’s literally damage to the building. Unless you bought crap insurance.

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It depends as laminate is interlocking so can be lifted seperated and removed. Your structural joists on the other hand not so easy!

I wouldn’t make a claim for blown plaster though. For the price it costs you’d be better off paying the bill rather then face a price rise for multiple years.

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It really depends what your policy says is covered under buildings insurance. For example my aviva home insurance specifically covers walls, floors, fixtures and fittings as buildings insurance.

The actual decoration, carpets etc would be covered under contents

Probably not it really depends on how bad the damage is though.

Thanks for all the suggestions / advice.

Buildings insurance provider are supposedly saying that we should have individual home and contents policies per flat.

My understanding was that we should have buildings as a joint thing between the three flats, and individual contents insurance each.

Has anyone else heard of having communal buildings insurance as well as an individual one for each flat - sounds a bit over the top to me?

Yeah the flats in my estate have insurance via the factors which covers all their shared areas, walls roof, lifts etc and then each flat has their own insurance for the parts they are directly responsible for

Yeah this is generally how it works up here too. At the very least all three properties and sets of people should be named on the block cover.

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Nothing in the policy inclusions or exclusions about crazy sprinkler systems.

There is:

Sourcing a domestic water leak which is damaging the home (including making good after the leak’s been fixed) not sure if oversensitive sprinklers count as a leak

It doesn’t count I wouldn’t imagine.

Do you know who installed the sprinklers? I’d be on the phone to them first for compensation.

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Yes - we had to get them round when we first moved in, as they’d been installed poorly and were leaking slightly.

Think that’s our best shot, as the insurance seems to be a dead end, and probably wouldn’t be worth a claim anyway…

Don’t think we have much to stand on though

At the least you should be able to get the money back for the sprinklers, you may be able to sue them also for the damage but that may be hard , but might be worth exploring depending on your repair bill.

I’m sorry to hear of your insurance woes.

The best way to look at the difference in contents and buildings is, if you could turn the property upside down, shake it hard, anything that falls out would be contents and the rest buildings.

I would look over the policy details and exclusions as I would have expected them to cover some of what your claiming for.

I know it’s after the event but it pays to be over insured with one company. This goes for contents insurance as well, if you undervalue your contents and have to claim, you may only get a % of the amount back, not the full amount and not necessary the total contents value either.