A father of four left with a £460,000 bill after filling in his home insurance policy incorrectly is appealing to the underwriter to change their minds and accept the family’s claim
A father of four who saw insurers reject a claim after his £760,000 Devon home burned down has made a direct appeal to the underwriter in the case to save his family from “financial ruin.”
He had taken out a home insurance policy with Ageas on buying the house just two months earlier, mistakenly stating the property had five bedrooms, when it actually had seven.
Paul Weldin was then forced to put in a claim in April last year after the house burned down while he and his family were on holiday in Singapore.
The mistake proved a costly one, as Ageas, which doesn’t insure properties up to seven bedrooms, rejected the claim, refusing to pay a penny towards the repair costs. These are estimated to be around £460,000.
Weldin took the case to the Financial Ombudsman, only for the authority to side with the insurer.
He has now taken to Facebook to appeal to the chief executive of Pen Underwriting, which underwrites insurance for Ageas, to change its mind and help the family.
In the appeal, he said: “You have left us in financial ruin. I hope that Pen can reconsider rather hiding behind the ombudsman. You have the ability to do that.”
The problem arose because Weldin mistakenly thought the two rooms in his attic would not be classified as bedrooms. The Ombudsman disagreed that that this was a fair reason to grant any payout.
The report from the ombudsman said: “Taking a common sense approach, I think most people would consider upstairs rooms within a house as bedrooms.
“Provided there was enough space for a bed, the room was heated and had a window. I don’t think that whether a room has been signed off as a building regulation compliant bedroom is relevant.”
A spokesperson for Ageas added: “The Financial Ombudsman Service agreed that their home had seven bedrooms, rather than the five they said they had when they bought their policy.
“Because of this misrepresentation, we are cancelling the policy, rather than paying a proportion of the claim.”
A spokesman for Pen Underwriting said: “We are sorry to hear about the Weldin family’s situation.
“However, we believe we have acted fairly. The Pen Underwriting product available through the comparison website in question does not insure houses larger than those with five bedrooms, whether or not these rooms are intended to be used as bedrooms or for another purpose.
“As stated by the Financial Ombudsman Service, there were two separate opportunities on the comparison website form for Mr Weldin to declare the two attic spaces as either bedrooms or ‘other’ rooms, but these rooms were not declared at any point.
“Had we received the correct information at the time Mr Weldin took out this policy, we would not have offered an insurance policy.”