This is the fourth in a series of articles which document the procedure/process following a burst water pipe and the subsequent insurance claim. I decided to write the articles following such an event in my house and being unable to find much in the way of useful information online. Hopefully, in time, the search engines will pick these articles up and if you are unfortunate enough to suffer a similar event, my experience might give you some idea of what to expect. The first article in this series can be found here.
My last update ended with the property having been stripped out and in the process of drying. Drying the house took around three and a half months and during this time, not a great deal happened. I visited the property every couple of days to empty the dehumidifier containers and hassled the insurance company/contractors etc to get whatever they needed in order so that once dry, they could crack on with the repairs as soon as possible. It was a frustrating period because there isn’t really anything that can be done until the building is dry so it is just a case of being patient but I’m not very good at that. Someone from the drying company visited every couple of weeks to check the humidity levels but until they get down to a reasonable level (about 20% from memory), no building work can commence.
Around the three month mark, the insurance company’s contractor arranged an appointment to visit my house to draw up a quotation and schedule of works. By this time the property was almost dry enough for repairs to start. The appointment took an hour or so and basically involved walking round the sad looking building while making a list of everything which needed doing. The contractor then drew up a quote and sent it over to the insurance company for approval. I was given the option of using my own contractors if I so wished and the insurance company would have just paid me out on their quote (assuming it was reasonable) and it would have been up to me to oversee/manage everything. In the end, I decided to use the approved contractor as I wouldn’t have to get involved with paying them and I had someone to go back to if there was a problem (the insurance company). If I had employed my own contractor and there had been any issues then I doubt the insurance company would have wanted to get involved. The only exception I made here was to use my own plumber and electrician and this was simply because I knew someone I could trust/rely on. For all of the plumbing/electrical work, I settled the bills myself and the insurance company paid the money to my bank account once I sent a receipt to them.
By this time, I had also moved into rented accommodation, having become completely fed up with living in a hotel. Not being able to cook for over two months meant that I put on about a stone in weight and I didn’t want this to turn into two or three stone by the time I eventually got back to my house. The insurance company initially paid for me to rent a studio apartment and then a two bedroomed house.
There were more delays once the building had been certified as dry as the contractor is not allowed to do anything until a formal ‘dry certificate’ has been issued. Despite me chasing this on an almost daily basis, it took about three weeks for this to be produced. Unfortunately, at times, it did seem like the only person in a rush to get things repaired was me.
Because of the size of the quote (in excess of £50k), the insurance company advised me that it would be normal practice for them to put the job out to tender. This would create a further delay of around two months while additional quotes were submitted, considered and ultimately approved. Fortunately, because of the amount of work I had done on the property in January, the insurance company representative agreed that they would go with the quote of their contractor rather than cause additional delays. This was a huge relief as otherwise there would just have been yet another period of time when nothing was happening.
It is worth mentioning that, if you find yourself in a similar situation and have changes/improvements you want to make to your property, this is the time to do it. I had a few minor, cosmetic alterations I wanted carried out so I discussed them when the contractor was drawing up his quote. The insurance company will pay out to put the building back the way it was but if you want to substitute some things with others, it might not necessarily cost you anything. Equally, if you want more expensive fittings etc, you will have the option of paying the extra yourself. I had quite expensive solid wood flooring downstairs and I opted to replace this partly with carpet and partly with Karndean flooring. This left a bit of cash spare and almost covered the cost of replacing my internal doors with smart oak veneer ones rather than the normal white painted panel doors.
Repairs eventually started in May, almost five months after the pipe had actually burst.