In my previous post I said "When you get to my ripe old age you realise that nothing much matters..." I haven't changed my mind about that but you can still be surprised. One often says "I've seen it all before, and, equally often, that is true; yes, I frequently use the claim that old age prevents me from doing things I really don't want to do and yes, my slightly crafty and ever so slightly dishonest wheeze gets the required result in that somebody kind and helpful will do that job for me.
But back to the surprise. I appear to have a leak behind the tiles in the new shower room, not a very heavy one but the sort that will eventually cause damage if it isn't rectified. I can hear the steady drip drip when I use the bathroom quietly and listen for it. I have never made a claim on the house and contents insurance and it came to me that perhaps this is a job they would pay for. There's nothing wrong in asking, after all.
Believe me, asking is fine but the reply astounded me. In my innocence I thought that insurance companies either turn you down or they send a workman to check the claim. Was it ever thus? First of all the insurance lady at the end of the phone line, who is so sweet and helpful when it's time to renew my policy was not at all nice now that I was asking for their money. After an exhaustive list of questions which I answered to the best of my ability she ungraciously accepted that my claim might - just might - be accepted but first there were several hurdles to overcome. First of all they'd have to send a building firm who would establish where the leak is. Following that they'd have to send a surveyor who would establish the extent of the job, the probable cost and determine whether the job would indeed constitute a genuine claim acceptable to the insurance company. I would have to pay the builders' fee (£300, the excess on my policy for "escape of water") upfront regardless of my claim being acceptable or not. The final insult was that the company to whom I pay my annual premium is not the company with whom I am insured but is underwritten by yet another company.
To recap, my relatively small claim involves two insurance companies (both well known and reputable), a building company representative who normally charges £800 for finding a leak but whose services I could have for the sum of £300 - I know where the leak is, I told them I know - and an official surveyor to say yay or nay. All want paying, by me, their hapless customer. And there is no guarantee that the claim will actually be accepted.
Can you blame me for erupting? In a nice and polite way, of course. I find that being calm and polite always pays, nobody is going to react kindly to a foul mouthed harridan. I had two subsequent phone calls from two different company employees - I didn't even bother to understand which company either of them represented - and both were most apologetic and assured me that I didn't have to pay anything up front, that they would simply deduct the excess from any services rendered at the final reckoning. Success! Would you have quietly paid over £300 before you even knew if your claim was valid? Lots of people probably will and do and kick themselves afterwards.
I still don't know how this will pan out. The builder is coming on Thursday, but I will most definitely not pay him £300. Come hell or high water (even if it's only dripping).