The roof of my garage in Macclesfield was badly damaged in the storm of 15th December.
I reported the claim online to my insurers, #Admiral, the same day – the online instructions assured me that someone would contact me within 24 hours – they didn’t.
The following day (Sunday) I managed to get a local builder out to plug some of the gaps in the roofing boards to prevent rain in on my bikes – at a cost of £100 cash.
As my garage is home to two valuable Harley Davidson motorcycles I was in no position to argue cost or demand a receipt.
I’d had no word from Admiral by late Monday so telephoned them to see what was happening (nothing) – they asked me to send quotes for repair and photos.
I’d already contacted three local roofing companies but had only got a response from one – I guessed they must be busy owing to the weekends storms.
The one company that responded, came along and gave me a quote – which I emailed to Admiral – along with images of the damaged roof.
As there were a number of images I sent these individually, so as not to crash their server.
The following day it was raining heavily and I discovered the silicone plugging in the roof had failed – it was peeing in!
Fortunately the bikes had bike covers – so there was no damage to them.
However, my dehumidified garage was now very, very damp.
I’d had no response from Admiral by late Tuesday so phoned them again.
I was advised they’d not received my emails.
I confirmed I had used their correct email address (I had) and sent them again.
I phoned to confirm receipt – they’d not received them (again).
On Wednesday the weather had improved so I managed to find another repairer to cover the roof with a temporary tarpaulin – at a cost of £150.00 cash. Expensive I know, but as it was just a few days before Christmas I had little option – and was in no position to haggle.
I telephoned Admiral again, they told me they’d received none of my emails.
I asked them to email me so that I could ‘reply’ to their email – ensuring I had the correct address. They did – it was the same as the one I’d been using.
Again I sent them off – yet again they didn’t receive them.
And yes, I’d obviously checked my server to ensure that all my emails were going out – they were.
I telephoned Admiral again. This time they gave me a different email address. I sent all four emails again.
Finally (by late Wednesday), after I’d rung them yet again, I was told they’d received them.
The images clearly showed damage i.e. roofing material stripped off – but Admiral claimed their weather records didn’t show any storms in Macclesfield on the Saturday.
I pointed out to them that Macclesfield town centre had been like a war zone with a number of streets cordoned off owing to slates coming off the roofs and that a number of trees had come down across the town.
At this stage I asked them if my bikes were covered by their insurance policy – they didn’t know.
I finally got approval from Admiral to go ahead with the repairs on Thursday 20th at 12 noon – so I instructed the roofing company.
Two hours later I received a second email from Admiral – saying the earlier email was rescinded – and that I shouldn’t go ahead.
I telephoned the roofers and cancelled.
The job could have been done the same week but as the roofers hadn’t been able to get the materials in I was told it would now be mid to late January 2019 at best.
Having chased Admiral for confirmation they finally told me my bikes aren’t covered by the Admiral policy – and my Harley insurance doesn’t cover me as they’re not being stored securely!
So if there’s a further storm before the roof is sorted – and the bikes get damaged – they’re not covered.
I phoned Admiral every single day between the 15th and 21st – on one day three times! They’ve not called me once.
Late Thursday (20th) they advised me they had instructed their loss adjusters, Sedgwicks, who would send a surveyor out on Saturday 22nd December.
A received a confirmation email from Sedgwicks saying a surveyor would phone me Friday 21st with a time for their visit. Guess what – no one phoned.
The surveyor phoned on Saturday morning and came along on Saturday afternoon – virtually one week to the hour since the incident.
The surveyor checked the damage then pointed out that the quote I had, to reroof the garage, was for rubber – which is what the roofing company use – whereas the original material was felt.
The surveyor told me the insurance only covered replacement of ‘like for like’.
She admitted what I’d already been told by the contractors that ‘professional’ roofers don’t use felt anymore – as they can’t offer any sort of guarantee.
I suggested that if I was to replace the roof with felt (with no guarantee – and possibly from a ‘dodgy’ roofer) and it failed again – what would be the stance of Admiral. She didn’t know. I think I do.
On December 27th Sedgwicks approved the work – however they were querying the cost of the new fascia boards – which they stated were not covered.
We’re talking about a few quid here and as I assume the fascia boards are glued rather than nailed they have to be replaced.
I emailed the roofing contractors to query the cost of this element – but of course they were still on holiday for the Christmas break.
On 2nd January one of the initial contractors I’d contacted got back to me and called to give me a quotation – which was significantly higher than the first quote.
I’d heard nothing from contractor one by midday on the 7th January so phoned them chasing the cost of the fascia boards. I was told someone would get back to me. They didn’t.
Later that evening I emailed Sedgwicks requesting approval to go ahead with the second contractor.
I’d heard nothing from them so phoned on the morning of the 8th – only to be told it could take three days for emails to be responded to.
However the Sedgwick lady promised to get back to me later that day.
She’s now phoned to say that they can’t accept the second quote as it’s much higher. They say the first quote is more in line with what it would cost to re-roof in felt (even though that can’t be done) – but they still won’t pay for replacing the fascia boards.
Of course they won’t allow me to claim the £250.00 I had to spend to try and secure the roof’s integrity – as I don’t have a receipt and didn’t get their approval.
And then they’ll be taken off the £500 excess.
And, of course, if there’s another storm, before the roof gets fixed, heaven only knows what will happen.
So I’m now left wondering whether it was worth making a claim in the first place – or – whether that’s the game the insurers play.
One things for sure, I’ll not be insuring with Admiral – ever!
Please share this – maybe Admiral will stop throwing their money at facile advertising and spend it on their customers.