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I’m renovating a kitchen, together with small hallway and a cloak room toilet. I hired a company to do all the work although I now realise I don’t have a formal contract with them, only with their sister company for supply and installation of kitchen units.

Long story short I woke up today and heard a slushing noise, went to investigate and found water bursting out from main valve located in the house. I run out to the water meter on main street and locked the water there.

I was quick enough to stop water coming into my living room which was not being worked on and contained the water to renovation area. That area is covered by a thin layer of fresh (fdried) concrete.

Me and the wife removed the water. I’m slightly concerned because main water pipe and drain which both served the old kitchen sink, needed to be uncovered from the concrete in the floor. This created a 150mm deep hole in the concrete. When water leaked there would be a puddle, but within minute the water would sink into the ground. I’m not sure how and how much water sinked in there.

I’m pretty sure at least 30cm of wood floor (engineered wood, glued to concrete) in my living room needs to be replaced, the water never raised over the floor but it reached the entrance and stood there for a couple of minutes before I’ve made a makeshift barrier.

My question is, I’m waiting for the contractor to show up for todays work. Should I work with them and ask for fixing the damage or should I contact my house insurer immediately? The reason I'm asking is because I don't know what the extent of the damage could be and I don't know if I can trust contractor on this matter.

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    Does your insurance policy even cover something like this? Mine certainly doesn't (anything related to construction work is exempt),so it would be up to the contractor and their liability insurance. I'm in the EU though,no idea what's common in the UK.
    – TooTea
    Commented Jun 19, 2021 at 8:10
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    Did they work on the main valve? Like replace it? Or did it fail and it was coincidence?
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jun 19, 2021 at 9:55
  • @SolarMike They worked on the main valve that is located in the house (although there is additional valve on the street next to water meter). The elbow joint pushed itself out from joining pipe from water pressure, it might have been a faulty product, they now have replaced it with different one so I have water supply back.
    – kacpr
    Commented Jun 19, 2021 at 10:05
  • @TooTea good suggestion, I will have to confirm with my insurer / find policy documents
    – kacpr
    Commented Jun 19, 2021 at 10:06
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    Yes, I know the pipe "slipped" from the elbow, I'll calmly ask the contractor why it'll occur, so who to cover the damage. Your insurance will not cover faulty work done by the contractor but the contractor's insurance, or his company, should. No further comment on the embed piping if it is regional practice. You might find the inconvenience each time repair work requires breaking the floor.
    – r13
    Commented Jun 19, 2021 at 13:55

2 Answers 2

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Let me tell you a story about insurance companies and how they will screw you. First, before you call your insurance company to report an accident, call them and ask for a policy review to see if your particular loss is covered. If it is not hang up and do not report the loss.

Here is what happened to me. I assumed that the loss that I had would be covered so I called my insurance company to report my loss. Because of some wording in my insurance contract my particular loss was not covered, but since I called them they considered that a reported loss even though they never paid for any of my loss. That non-cocered loss would be carried on their books for 5 years and when I tried to switch insurance companies the new company told me that I had a recorded loss and that loss would increase my insurance rates. So, before you call make certain that your loss is covered. I now pay an increased rate for a non existent claim.

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    Wow, just curious - Did you write your State's Department of Insurance about this and lodge a complaint?
    – BruceWayne
    Commented Jun 19, 2021 at 15:49
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    @BruceWayne Another example of SE users assuming that the rest of the world is the same as the USA. Most countries don't even have "states."
    – alephzero
    Commented Jun 19, 2021 at 22:13
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    @alephzero ah sorry I missed the UK tag. Does the UK not have an insurance regulator? And if so, only one? My advice can still apply, "state" or not.
    – BruceWayne
    Commented Jun 19, 2021 at 22:51
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    Insurance companies pull this nonsense all the time. My friend’s son was in an accident that was 100% the other driver’s fault and all claims were covered by the other driver’s insurance. The son’s insurance still went up because “he was deemed to be more at risk of being in an accident”.
    – Darren
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 5:49
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    @BruceWayne there’s the financial ombudsman, but that’s for situations where the insurance company has rejected / not solved within 8 weeks, so unlikely to help immediately in this situation.
    – Tim
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 9:41
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The type of insurance you’re thinking of is “Builders Risk”. It’s used during construction and the homeowner applies for and takes it out as the beneficiary.

If the contractor is licensed by the state, then he probably has a bond as required by the State. You can call your state licensing board and find out if they are licensed.

If they are licensed, you can file a claim against them and their bond. (It’s called “attaching their bond.) The board will act as arbitrator and make a determination as to who is at fault. If you are successful, the bond will be given to you.

If they are NOT licensed, you will need an attorney to sue them for working without a license.

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    And yet again, somebody who thinks the UK is exactly the same as the US. Thankfully, it's not.
    – alephzero
    Commented Jun 19, 2021 at 22:13
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    @alephzero you’ve made this same general comment on both answers while not providing an answer of your own. Perhaps it would be more helpful to the OP for you to contribute an answer with the UK perspective?
    – ARich
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 3:21
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    @alephzero Which of these 5 items are you referring to? jdsupra.com/legalnews/…
    – Lee Sam
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 3:35
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    @LeeSam - What's that got to do with this situation in the UK?
    – Gwyn Evans
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 11:16
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    @ARich Editing and review are equally important to direct contributions. We strive to provide correct and relevant answers. When answers are incorrect, specious, or not relevant, it's also important that we make note of it. Being critical of this important editorial role does not further the community goals.
    – J...
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 17:09

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