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When insurance isn't child's play Scam; The People's consumer Champion

Byline: with Dean Dunham

TOO many of us seem to have clause for complaint when it comes to insurance.

But for a reader called Paul it's not about the small print - it's about the not-there-at-all print.

When Paul's six-year-old son Joshua was riding his scooter in the living room back in January, he knocked into the TV - which fell off its stand, cracking the screen in the process.

Paul, from Cardiff, took it to a repair shop - where it was quickly assessed as not worth repairing.

He then naturally turned to his home insurance provider and made a claim so he could replace the PS699 television.

On the claim form he outlined exactly what had happened, thinking it would be be a straightforward matter. It wasn't.

Paul received a letter from his insurer on February 24, rejecting the claim. The reason they gave was that he "did not have accidental damage cover".

But Paul HAD taken out this extra protection. So he went back to the firm and disputed this.

He heard nothing for three weeks - then a letter arrived acknowledging that he did indeed have accidental damage cover.

But the insurer told him the claim was still being rejected because the damage was "caused by a minor" which they said was excluded under the policy.

Having reviewed Paul's policy wording, I simply cannot see this exclusion anywhere. If there is such an exclusion it's certainly not visible. Neither Paul, who is a lawyer, or I can find it.

In this respect the Consumer Rights Act 2015 clearly states key terms must be made "prominent" - which has not been done here.

This means that either the exclusion is not valid, in which case they must pay out, or Paul was mis-sold the insurance policy. I spoke to several other insurers who said they do have exclusions for minors - so this is something you should certainly look out for.

If you have children in your home I would advise that you ask your insurance provider to confirm to you in writing that you will be covered if your child causes any damage in the house.

Meanwhile, Paul is now taking his complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion Column
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Apr 30, 2017
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