Insurance dispute

Has anybody got experience of challenging an insurer over a refused claim ?

circumstances are :-

I placed my home / property and car insurance with *********** in 2006
whilst residing in France at this property.In Autumn 2009 I had to
return to the UK leaving my French property empty and under the
regular care of my caretakers - before leaving i visited my local
************ office to discuss this and informed the staff of my change of
circumstances to ensure the insurance was all correct , i was not told
of any restrictions.
In early 2012 there was very cold weather in France so my caretakers
operated the boiler to keep the system / pipes warm ,but on a
subsequent security check they found burst pipes and a frozen boiler
etc.(plumber says the electric must have tripped and stopped the boiler)
I have since tried to claim on my insurance and they have refused my
claim as the property was no longer my permanent residence , stating
that I must empty all pipes and boilers of any water if the house will
be empty for even a few days.
Despite writing to the company and its managers etc they have refused
to accept my claim.
My position is that when i visited the office to discuss my situation
they did not offer an alternative insurance or make me aware of a
reduction in what i may be covered for , and between Autumn 2009 and
April 2012 we have visited the property around 25 times for holidays /
short stays etc and expect to be able to arrive to a warm house with
the central heating operating - and not to have to start refilling and
emptying the central heating every time which is just ludicrous and

I would be interested to understand what steps i can take to recover
the replacement cost of the boiler and repairs.


Hi Guillaume

Thanks for your post , currently its in the hands of the internal company mediateur.

The really annoying thing is i needed to discuss something recently with my local insurance office and this particular issue was discussed and when i mentioned the guys name the girl just rolled her eyes and basically said he causes this sort of problem all the time.The same guy said i would have permanent cover on my vehicle as long as i was paying the insurance - turns out i could only take it abroad for 3 months ! fact is i had the car in the UK for over a year before bringing it back to France , luckily for me i didnt have an accident !

Dear Steve,

It may be worth contacting the ombudsman (usually called médiateur) for this insurance company, although you may find it difficult to have a claim.

In effect, you are required to inform the insurer if a change in your circumstances could affect your insurance cover as soon as possible. However, a verbal request at the agency will not be sufficient as in case of dispute, you will not be able to evidence that you have duly informed the insurer.

It is paramount to communicate such changes by lettre recommandée avec demande d’avis de réception (French recorded and signed for delivery to be used in all correspondence with administrations, service providers, businesses, etc.).

I hope this helps.