No cover for derelict house after fire

Your insurer can decline your claim if it can prove you didn’t take “reasonable care”.

No cover for derelict house after fire

Liam’s* house had been vandalised several times - with smashed windows, weatherboards ripped off and overrun by rubbish - it was in disrepair. The local council issued 5 notices over 4 years, including an unsanitary building notice, instructing Liam to complete work and remove rubbish within 28 days. Nothing was done. In May 2015, the council emailed James* (Liam’s son who was in charge of the house), stating that the appearance of the property could encourage vandalism. James confirmed he would take steps to clean it up, but none were taken. Shortly afterwards, the house was damaged by fire – somebody had deliberately set a bed on fire - and couldn’t be repaired. Liam made a claim, which was declined as Liam failed to take reasonable care of the house and comply with council notices, in breach of the policy. There was plenty of evidence to show Liam failed to take steps to mitigate the known risk of vandalism.

Complaint not upheld.

*Names have been changed.

See the full case study.