Legal & General has rejected our claim because we did not have an updated valuation certificate.
My wife recently lost the diamond from her engagement ring, which must have dropped out while she was at work. We have always insured this under our home insurance. Each year the insurer has stated it will only insure it up to the value documented on an accredited valuation, regardless of what we say it’s worth. This has been the same for many years across numerous insurers’ policies. After using a comparison website, we ended up with a Bradford & Bingley policy underwritten by Legal & General. The ring was insured for £8,000, its approximate value the last time we had it valued in 2014.
Upon making a claim we have been rejected and pointed to a clause in our contact that states if any one item of jewellery is worth over £7,500 you must have a valuation within the last year of the claim.
When I read it back, I assumed that if you hadn’t got a valuation certificate within the last year, you would fall back to the £7,500 threshold or the last valuation carried out, but no, they’ve simply rejected it outright. Is this is reasonable or fair? JA Cheadle, Cheshire
An interesting question, one which I think the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is going to have to answer. It seems that if you had put down the value of the ring as £7,400 when you took out the policy, you would not have come up against the policy demand to have it inspected each year – and, crucially, the claim would likely have been paid. This is one of the problems of using comparison websites, as valuables and other limits are not always clearly set out at the point of sale.
Legal & General says the inspection requirement is clearly stated in the policy documents sent when you took out the policy. It also suggests that had the ring been inspected the looseness of the stone may have been identified, and that a claim could have been prevented – an argument that has some validity.
“We always stress that customers should read their policy documents thoroughly, including the statement of facts and any exclusions that could apply when they take out their policy. We have offered £1,500 which is the standard single item limit which JA has under his personal possessions cover,” a spokeswoman said.
This leaves you £6,500 short, and in your shoes we would take the matter to the FOS who will pore over the policy wording and decide whether you have been treated fairly or not. We suspect that they will side with the company on this one, but it’s worth a go as the service is free.
We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at email@example.com or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number