Insurance unoccupancy issues can lead to your claim being declined, what to do if you notice an unoccupancy issue, we analysis a decision made by the FSPO, the decision reference is 2021-0143 and you can log onto their website for full details.
The complainant attended the providers office at the end of 2016 to ensure that the cover under the policy would remain in place after their mothers death. The complainant states that he was advised the cover under the policy would continue although nobody would be permanently residing in the house leading to insurance unoccupancy. The policy was renewed by him in June 2017. The complainant explains that cold weather conditions caused water pipes to burst, causing damage. The damage was discovered on 3rd March 2018. On no occasion was the property left unattended for more than seven days. The complainant states that the provider accepted the renewal premium and states they were aware of the insurance unoccupancy.
The provider states that it has no record of the complainant advising of a change in occupancy or insurance unoccupancy. There was no call between the complainant and provider as the complainant choose to discuss the issue in person. As a rule, the provider does not insure unoccupied properties. Also, all cases are subject to the same process, wherein details of the level of occupancy must be provided or any insurance unoccupancy. Failure to notify the provider of the correct occupancy of the home may invalidate the policy. Liability on behalf of the insurers must be declined as they believe the property to have been unoccupied for in excess of 90 days between renewal date on 8th June and the date of loss. The provider has no record of the complainant entering their offices during December 2016. The complainant states the matter was still ongoing through probate, suggesting the complainant did not contact the provider until after the probate process has begun.
The complainant had suggested that he attended the providers office in February, yet in his letter of 1 July 2017 he suggests that he attended the providers office in February or March 2017. This is a very evident inconsistency in the complainant’s story. A letter wrote by the complainant dated 23 July 2020 suggests the complainant may not have advised the provider in respect to residency of the house, as is evident by “I would have thought an experienced sales person would ask the relevant questions with a view to making sure the property was adequately insured.” Evidence suggests that it was not until May that the complainant took any steps regarding the policy renewal, on foot of the advice from the solicitor; “The policy dies with the policyholder”. There was no evidence to show that the provider was aware of the house’s occupancy until the claim in March 2018 or any insurance unoccupancy. The limited cover is outlined in the feature and benefits document, and the policy document at special condition d identify the limited cover offered where a house is unoccupied for a period of over 90 days. In a “detailed summary of when my mothers house was occupied”, the complainant mentions dates from March 2017 – March 2018, however the insurance term is June 2017 – June 2018. The use of electricity also suggests that the house was unoccupied for 170 days between 8th June 2017 – 3rd March 2018. Due to the reasons and evidence provided, this claim was not upheld.