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Burst Pipe in Pinner


Patrick and Kate Wallace own a property in North West London.

The Incident

While the couple were on holiday in Spain over New Year 2014/15, they received a call from their neighbour to advise that water was running down the back of their house. The cause of the flood was due to a leak from a tank in the loft.

The neighbour gained access to the property to also find the ground floor two inches deep in water. Luckily he was able to turn the mains off to stop the flow.

Friends started the clear up process for the Wallaces whilst they found the first flights home. Together, everyone spent many days cleaning up and rescuing the items that they could.

The challenge

The Wallaces contacted their insurance company from Spain; lodging the initial claim.

The first piece of activity undertaken was when the drying company was sent onto the site. Next, the damage to the property and the contents were assessed.

Patrick Wallace commented: “The insurance company was keen for us to remain in the property, but the kitchen was out of action due to the faulty electrics. The heating also didn’t work. There would also be considerable reinstatement worked needed.

“At this stage, the insurer offered us accommodation in a one-bedroom flat – much smaller than our own home and in an unsuitable area. We weren’t happy to accept this.

“The claims process was being conducted by phone and there was no paper trail between us and the insurer.”

Due to the drawn out nature of the claim, the Wallaces decided to lodge a complaint, which deemed them as being in dispute with the insurer. They realised this would be a lengthy and drawn-out process, and they were advised by a relative to contact Harris Balcombe to support them.

Representatives from Harris Balcombe attended the property to review the damage and – at this stage – they took over all negotiations. Liaising with the insurer, the Wallaces and Harris Balcombe were able to organise finding alternative accommodation – a property of a similar size in a nice area – near to where they lived.

This included rejecting an initial offer from the insurance company of £7,000 on the buildings claim.

In total, working with Harris Balcombe, the couple were looking to claim a total of over £130,000. And, after a great deal of negotiation, the insurer increased its offer to £100,000. The couple moved back into the house in November 2015 – after all the refurbishment work had been completed.


“When the insurer offered to pay us £149 for a bed that was worth £2000, it felt as if we were being stitched up,” commented Patrick Wallace.

“I was almost prepared to invest money from our own savings to make the problem go away and get the property back in order, so I would have accepted a far lower offer from the insurer that we actually received.

“Harris Balcombe made the whole process so much easier and less stressful. I firmly believe that without them we would have settled for far less. Their involvement was integral in us receiving a higher figure. We can’t thank them enough.”




At this point, you would hope that your insurance company is there to help but unfortunately this is not the case. We have known families who have felt intimidated by insurers and have been treated as though they have done something wrong, or are in some way to blame for their situation.

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