Question about house insurance and legal expenses cover and whether it covers this situation. - HotUKDeals
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Question about house insurance and legal expenses cover and whether it covers this situation.

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We have an issue with what will probably end up as a legal matter and are trying to work out if we should have cover under the leagl expenses element of our house insurance. I will not give the exact …
fairy Avatar
7y, 10m agoPosted 7 years, 10 months ago
We have an issue with what will probably end up as a legal matter and are trying to work out if we should have cover under the leagl expenses element of our house insurance. I will not give the exact facts of the case but give an example of the point I would like the answer to.

Say the fence had fallen down between your house and a neighbours before the time you bought it. Nothing was done about it and no one had an issue with it. You bought the house and took out house insurance including legal expenses cover. Subsequent to that a dispute erupted to do with an issue about the fence having fallen down and it looked like it might get litiguous so you wanted legal expenses cover from your insurance.

Would the insurance company say you are not covered as the cause of the dispute predated your purchase of the house and the commencement of the insurance or would it be the date that the dispute commenced that is key (as there was no dispute prior to the commencement of the insurance) and therefore there should be cover.

I hope I have set this out clearly enough for you to understand. I do not really want to call the insurance company about this as they want your policy number etc to talk to you and if we are not covered we will not even discuss it with them.

I know some bright person will know the answer to this. Thanks very much.
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fairy Avatar
7y, 10m agoPosted 7 years, 10 months ago
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banned#1
without the exact facts it would be hard to judge if you were covered
but if the fence was down before you got the insurance and they knew this i doubt you would be covered

thats just my opinion tho
#2
I doubt you will be covered.
#3
but if the fence falls down before you brought the house - how can you be responsible for it?! it was nothing to do with you, unless the dispute was that you didn't do what you were supposed to do in relation i.e. getting it fixed... then that would be your fault.
#4
Not only would they not cover this it is also unlikely you are covered for anything if they find out that you did not disclose this when you took out the policy
#5
Thanks. You don't need the exact facts - they are far too complicated so I set out this easy example to highlight the issue which is basically whether the event causing the dispute is the key date (we would not lie to the insurers about this - it was before the commencement of the policy) or the start of the dispute itself.
#6
tonyg1962
Not only would they not cover this it is also unlikely you are covered for anything if they find out that you did not disclose this when you took out the policy


We are not asking them to cover anything - we don't want them to put the fence right - we understand that they would not cover that. We want to know if we are covered for a dispute that has recently commenced about a situation that existed prior to the commencement date.
banned#7
Legal expenses cover on house insurance covers you for the cost of any legal expenses you incur during your term of the policy. It has nothing to do with the dates of the dispute. Its legal cover, the same as policies on car insurance, it covers legal expenses to a certain amount. If you claim on it it will remove any no claims bonus you may have gained though.

Many are not aware you can use this cover for things like employment law, family law, etc
#8
sculpturatus
Legal expenses cover on house insurance covers you for the cost of any legal expenses you incur during your term of the policy. It has nothing to do with the dates of the dispute. Its legal cover, the same as policies on car insurance, it covers legal expenses to a certain amount. If you claim on it it will remove any no claims bonus you may have gained though.

Many are not aware you can use this cover for things like employment law, family law, etc


this sounds more helpful - I will give the insurers a call and see if I can get some advice without giving my details.
#9
in your example of the fence, on your house deeds it will tell you who owns the fence, if it belongs to the neighbour it should be you who pays for the litigation not the insurance company, if it belongs to you then when you bought the house you knew the state of the fence so therefore you take on the legal responsibility of maintaining it in good condition.
it seems to me you can't win, read the small print on your legal expenses cover or phone the insurance company for clarification.
whatever the case your premium will rise massively next year anyway if you proceed.
is there no way you can share the cost with your neighbour?
#10
hmmm I'd be concerned that on purchasing the property you took it and its issues on. If not covered you could speak to the solicitor you used when purchasing the property from as if was a previous dispute it should have been mentioned in the sale documents
#11
xena_morph
hmmm I'd be concerned that on purchasing the property you took it and its issues on. If not covered you could speak to the solicitor you used when purchasing the property from as if was a previous dispute it should have been mentioned in the sale documents


There was no previous dispute. This has all arisen recently.
#12
Difficult to answer without knowing more in depth facts, but understand the sensitive nature of your argument. My advice as follows:
1. If the fence falling down caused damage to neighbours property prior to you buying the house, then he should have challenged it with the previous buyer (assuming you own the fence). If he now has an issue, by my reckoning, he has to persue the matter with the previous owner.

2. Legal expenses insurance will only refer the matter to their panel of solicitors who will only persue the claim if they feel the chances of success is greater than 51% (i.e. they can recover the costs from the other party). If there is an element of doubt, they will not proceed, or will proceed on the understanding that that you could be liable for costs.

3. It might be prudent to make an appointment with a local specialist solicitor to seek his/her advice on the matter first (its got to be worth it for say £200 or so they normally charge). If the solicitor feels in your favour, then approach the insurance co. & ask if you can use your own solicitor.

4. Legal expenses insurance can provide unlimited telephone support if you want to go it alone, but you may speak to different people with different opinions when you call. They can offer advice over the phone but will not act on your behalf (assuming the solicitors will not handle your case).

5. Legal expenses insurance may assist in the dispute if the litigation is not related to rebuilding the fence.

6. Your normal house/buildings insurance may cover you for the dispute as opposed to the Legal expenses insurance - read the small print.

Hope this helps & good luck.
#13
vinylandtrinkets
we had a problem with our legal protection after buying our house. ok our house is 5 years old and has £35K worth of defects that were found 2 years after us buying, we are now suing the builder at our own expense. but we tried to claim using our legal cover and they told us that as the defects were there prior to us buying the house or moving in we are not covered, they decided this after seeing our surveyors reports that they are all long standing problems from poor building etc
so as your problem started before you bought the house you are not covered with your legal protection,

If you are going to speak to a solicitor and take legal action yourself be prepared for a HUGE bill, to date ours is £29,000.00+ and we are still no where near a court date.
You will need to pay for everything yourself if you want it to go to court and claim it back if you win


Just as an aside and I know you wll have gone down this avenue did you not go to NHBC if they are fundamental problems within the first 10 years?
banned#14
fairy
Just as an aside and I know you wll have gone down this avenue did you not go to NHBC if they are fundamental problems within the first 10 years?


NHBC does not cover 'wear and tear', I would imagine the fence fell down due to strong winds, this would be called 'wear and tear'
#15
sculpturatus
NHBC does not cover 'wear and tear', I would imagine the fence fell down due to strong winds, this would be called 'wear and tear'


I am not talking about me (and my hypothetical fence) but the person whose new house had lots of faults that were not wear and tear!
#16
vinylandtrinkets
lol yes we did, but even though the " builder" has the NHBC logo etc on the side of his vans they have never heard of him, they are looking in to why he has the info on the vans. The problems we have are not the normal problems you have with new builds the list is endless and new problems arise every day now from cracks to rats in my cavity walls yes guys thanks to the Cra**y builder we found out how they got in! under my poorly laid drive and front garden and the cavity isnt deep enough. Theres a lot of structual problems, walls that are not strong enough to hold up a tissue let alone a high garden , electrics that keep shorting and to make it worse the " builder" is an electritian! LOL sorry but i think thats sooo funny as our electrics are now condemed
Fairy speak to CAB and see if they are able to help. good luck with it all


NHBC are notoriously slow but they do eventually get there. Would they not be interested in taking an action against the builder he is fraudulently saying he is covered by them? Also did you think your house was NHBC covered when you purchased the newish property - is this something your solicitor confirmed to you or at least asked - if he got it wrong you may have an action aginst him for the mistake or the other sides solicitor if he/she incorrectly told your solicitor that your property had NHBC protection.

I have spoken to insurers and all sorted now thanks.
#17
vinylandtrinkets
thats great news:thumbsup: we thought our guy was a member of NHBC as did our solicitor as it was all over the paperwork from the builder , but when it came to the point of a claim our solicitor looked into it and then gave us the bad news, it didnt help that the solicitor we used from the same company retired just after we used him to buy the house and his file were a right mess, it was just lucky i kept everything that was given to us on completion . so far its taken almost 3 years 2 surveyors ( the first had worked for the builder in the past and didnt think to tell us) god knows how many genuine builders we've had to give us estimates on repairs, last count 3 double glazing companies, 2 structual engineers and half our garden and patio dug up to find footings that were not there. Every winter our attic is soaking wet this past winter even after storing things in plastic lidded boxes we still lost tons of stuff either being wet or water marked on painting and lithographs that i had collected over the years. but hey until the wind picks up we still have a roof over our heads..lol


I am trying to work out if your solicitor may have done anything wrong - I thought from your first post that you did not buy direct from builder but from a normal seller - is that right? If so would there not have been another solicitor involved acting for seller? Even if you did buy direct from the builder did they do all the legal work themselves or did they have a solicitor? It would be very standard for a solicitor acting for a purchaser on a newish house to ask whether the property had the benefit of NHBC cover - was this not done? Surely they did not rely on an NHBC logo on some paperwork but would have checked this point? It is of little help if the solictor notices an issue with NHBC cover when it comes to the possibility of a claim being made - this should have been noticed at the time of the purchase.

If the file was a "mess" or the purchase was not done properly you may have a claim against the solicitor's firm (and they have insurance for this),

Is this an avenue you have looked at - I assume the solicitors that did the original purchase are not the ones conducting your litigation against the buider now?
#18
vinylandtrinkets
yes they are the same solicitors, the builder is a local guy who we found out later he only builds 3 houses at a time and they are all the same style. we bought the house from the builder direct or so we thought but it turns out the guy we bought it off was working for his dad, so now we are suing the builder, the dad who owns the company they are trading under and the architect as he wasnt qualified to pass the house, of and we did try to get the council to come look at the defect but they declined as the house has a pass certificate which it shouldnt have
We bought the house as a new build and we are the only owners
thinking on it now you've mentioned it i dont think the original solicitor did the proper checks with regards to the NHBC i will mention it to the new solicitor, but as you said they should have picked up on that problem before completion.
At the moment its all one big mess but court papers have now been sent and the builder and the rest have until the 31st to file a defence so far they havent even sent thier own surveyor round just some guy with a camera and spirit level.. that did make me laugh..lol


Will speak to a friend and post on here tomorrow but the solicitors you are using may well have a conflict here as it sounds like they have not done their job properly and you may have a case against them - " dont think the original solicitor did the proper checks with regards to the NHBC i will mention it to the new solicitor, but as you said they should have picked up on that problem before completion" - if this is the same firm don't mention it yet! They may well stop acting for you on your litigation. I will see if my friend can suggest a way to proceed and revert. Did they ever say they had made an error on the purchase? or tell you they did/didnot check the NHBC accredidation issue? Who did the legal work for the seller (the builder)?
#19
just another thought - is the architect one of the defendants? Also did you have a structural survey done when you bought the house and if so were defects noted?
#20
vinylandtrinkets
yes the architect is one of the defendants, no we didnt have a survey done as it was a new house and the bank said they didnt need it they were quiet happy with the valuer . another local solicitor did the convyance for the builder but he cant use them now are there is a conflict of interest with me ( not sure how mind..lol)
No one has mentioned there was an error with the purchase and no one mentioned the NHBC nor did anyone check that i know off


one or more of the solicitors has on the face of it done a very bad job. I am trying to get my friend to give me his thoughts on this as he says it sounds terrible. Just so I understand it was definitely a brand new house that was sold to you with what you thought was the benefit of NHBC cover and your solicitor did the transaction on this basis?

If I can't get back to you today on this I am at least going to pm you wth some thoughts on your house insurance on the back of what mine said to me which I hope may be a bit helpful so please check your private messages.

One other question. Please can you clarify why the architect should not have passed the house? Just on the basis there has subsequently been so many problems with it or for other reasons?

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