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Home Insurance claims - what happens next?

Now you’ve made a claim…

We want to make the claims process as easy as possible by giving you as much support and information as we can. We’ve put this guide together to explain what will happen next and answer some of the questions you might have since you notified us of your claim.

You can select one of the headings below to find out more about your specific type of claim or click on one of the following links to print a PDF version.

Useful contacts

If you still have any questions about your claim, just get in touch – we’re here to help.

John Lewis Home Claims:

Phone: 0845 610 0301


What’s happened so far?

You’ve informed us that you need to make a claim and spoken to one of our claims handlers. They will have explained whether your claim is covered by the policy and who will be contacting you regarding the validation and processing of your claim.


What happens next?

Our claims handlers and suppliers will work with you throughout the claim, but we also need you to help us to progress it. The more information you can provide, the easier this will be.

You might need to provide receipts or proof of purchase for your contents so we value your items correctly.

There will be many people involved in your claim and at certain points, you may need to speak to them to arrange suitable times for work to be carried out, or to provide information.

We might need you to move into a temporary home if there’s a lot of damage to your house so we can complete the repairs as quickly as possible.


Ownership of your claim

Our claims team has the ultimate responsibility for your claim – whether it’s for £100 or £100,000 – and your John Lewis claims handler is available whenever you need.

However, if you have a loss adjuster appointed, they will be your main point of contact, although you can always talk to the claims team if you have any questions.


Who will be involved in your claim?

Depending on the size and type of claim, we’ll often delegate responsibility to different companies. This helps make sure you get the right experts in the right areas and make the claims process as smooth as possible.

All the experts we use are able to provide customer support and discuss problems or questions you may have during the claims process. If however, you feel they’re unable to help then you can always contact the claims team to get things back on track.

Some of the experts we might use are:

Claims Handlers

Depending on the complexity, you might have a single dedicated claims handler who’ll manage your claim from the beginning through to settlement. Our claims handlers will oversee your claim as it’s moving along, making sure the payments are made on the claim and that everyone involved is progressing to settlement.

Loss Adjusters

Our appointed loss adjusters are representatives that we send out to manage the claims process from beginning to end. They will meet you at your home to look at the damage and work out with you how the claim will move forward.

Their typical tasks would include finding contractors to repair your home, helping validate the contents you’ve lost, or arranging a temporary home if yours is badly damaged.

Disaster Recovery/Cleaning Companies

If you suffer a fire or water damage of some form then we’ll often send out a company who specialise in cleaning badly damaged properties. For example, they might install dehumidifiers to dry a room that is damp, or take away and dry clean affected clothes.

Surveyors/Engineers

On smaller claims, a surveyor may come out and inspect your property to understand the cause and extent of the damage.

Some loss adjusters are also surveyors or engineers, but if there is severe damage to your home then we might need to instruct a separate specialist. They will design the specification for what work is needed, or check that the home is still structurally secure after the damage.

Contents Suppliers

We have suppliers who can work with you to repair or find the right replacements for your contents and deliver them to you.

Contractors

Our loss adjusters have a network of contractors that can help complete the repairs to your home. This isn’t always necessary and sometimes we’ll agree a cash settlement so you can use a local contractor, but it can be helpful on larger claims to provide this support to our customers.

Water damage claims are one of the most common and expensive events that home insurance customers can encounter. Pipes freezing, baths overflowing and leaks from underneath floors are typical examples.

Water damage can be difficult to deal with because the amount of damage the water has caused is not always immediately clear. For example, kitchen units made of wood can look like they’re undamaged, but some days or weeks later they can swell, meaning they have to be replaced.

Stages of a large escape of water claim

A typical example of a large water damage claim is where a cold snap in the winter causes a pipe in the loft to burst while you’re away.

1. First visit

A loss adjuster will visit your home to look at the damage with you and see what steps need to be put in place to plan the repairs.

2. Alternative accommodation

If your home can’t be lived in because of the damage, AXA and the loss adjuster will help find you somewhere else to live while the work is carried out. The policy pays for ‘reasonable’ costs of alternative accommodation and because our customers have different needs, we try to be as flexible as possible.

Some people prefer to stay with friends or family and if this is the case we can pay an ‘inconvenience allowance’ to compensate for this. With a large claim however, it’s more likely that you’ll need a rented home to stay in as the process can take many months depending on the damage.

 3. Drying/stripping out

There are many different types of houses and their age and construction play a big part in what steps are needed to dry them out.

Some areas may need to be stripped out all together, but the important thing is to make sure the home has the right atmosphere for the repairs to happen. The home will often look dry before it’s truly ready for repairs, so this can be a frustrating time for customers.

But if a home isn’t properly dried out there’s a risk that when the works are done, moisture can cause damage to reappear.

4. Repairs or cash

When the home is being prepared for the repairs a ‘schedule of works’ will be drawn up which will list everything that needs doing to complete the job.

Where there is significant damage, we may use a surveyor with specialist knowledge to put together this document.

Loss adjusters will have their own network of contractors who’ll be able to price for the work. We can also consider your own preferred contractor if you have one, to put together their price for the work.

If the work is completed by our approved contractors then they will guarantee the repairs and work with you to make sure they’re completed to your satisfaction.

If you prefer to manage the repairs yourself then we can cash settle the claim once a price is agreed. This does however, mean that you’ll have to manage any building works yourself and we’re not able to guarantee repairs that are carried out by contractors who we have no links with.

 5. Settlement

Once the repairs are complete, we’ll settle the claim and you can get on with enjoying your newly repaired home.

While your claim is progressing, don’t forget that we’re always here to help. If you have any further questions or concerns, please get in contact.

Flood damage can be difficult to deal with because the amount of damage the water has caused is not always immediately clear. If the water has been standing for some time then it’s likely that the walls and plaster will be saturated and need stripping back completely.

Another key issue is that the flood water will be dirty. It may not be safe to stay in the property even though the upstairs of the home is likely to be unaffected by the water.

Stages of a flood claim

A typical example of a flood would be a river bursting it’s banks during a period of extreme weather. If you live in low-lying areas or near a river, the water can then seep into your home, causing large amounts of damage.  

1. First visit

A loss adjuster will visit your home to look at the damage with you and see what steps need to be put in place to plan the repairs.

2. Alternative accommodation

If your home can’t be lived in because of the damage, AXA and the loss adjuster will help find you somewhere else to live while the work is carried out. The policy pays for ‘reasonable’ costs of alternative accommodation and because our customers have different needs, we try to be as flexible as possible.

Some people prefer to stay with friends or family and if this is the case we can pay an ‘inconvenience allowance’ to compensate for this. With a large claim however, it’s more likely that you’ll need a rented home to stay in as the process can take many months depending on the damage.

3. Drying/stripping out

There are many different types of houses and their age and construction play a big part in what steps are needed to dry them out.

Some areas, like downstairs walls and floors may need to be stripped out all together, but the important thing is to make sure the home has the right atmosphere for the repairs to happen. The home will often look dry before it’s truly ready for repairs, so this can be a frustrating time for customers.

But if a home isn’t properly dried out there’s a risk that when the works are done, moisture can cause damage to reappear.

4. Repairs or cash

When the home is being prepared for the repairs a ‘schedule of works’ will be drawn up which will list everything that needs doing to complete the job.

Where there is significant damage, we may use a surveyor with specialist knowledge to put together this document.

Loss adjusters will have their own network of contractors who’ll be able to price for the work. We can also consider your own preferred contractor if you have one, to put together their price for the work.

If the work is completed by our approved contractors then they will guarantee the repairs and work with you to make sure they’re completed to your satisfaction.

If you prefer to manage the repairs yourself then we can cash settle the claim once a price is agreed. This does however, mean that you’ll have to manage any building works yourself and we’re not able to guarantee repairs that are carried out by contractors who we have no links with.

5. Settlement

Once the repairs are complete, we’ll settle the claim and you can get on with enjoying your newly repaired home.

Getting home insurance in the future

If your home has been flooded we'll always offer you Home Insurance, however, the amount you have to pay may increase as a result. You may also find it difficult to get insurance with another provider if you live in an area repeatedly affected by flooding.

For more advice, take a look at our useful links at the end of this guide.

While your claim is progressing, don’t forget that we’re always here to help. If you have any further questions or concerns, please get in contact.

Damage to drains is difficult for customers and insurance companies because it happens underground, making it hard for you to know when it’s taking place.

Stages of a drainage claim

1. First Visit

We’ll appoint a drainage company who will visit your home to look at the situation. They will usually carry out a number of tests to establish where the damage is located in your drains and how extensive it is. These can include putting a camera into the drains to see where the damage is, or jetting water through to see where the weaknesses are.

2. Further investigation

This is not always separate from the third stage but occasionally it’s difficult to establish where the damage is because where the water’s coming out may not necessarily indicate this. On these occasions it may be necessary to excavate an area to look at the drain itself.

 3. Repairs

Once we know what the damage is, the drainage company will excavate and repair the affected areas. In some instances it can be better to ‘re-route’ a pipe rather than dig up a large area to minimise disruption.

 4. Settlement

Once the repairs are complete, we’ll settle the claim and you can get on with enjoying your newly repaired home.

While your claim is progressing, don’t forget that we’re always here to help. If you have any further questions or concerns, please get in contact.

Fire is probably the most devastating event that we insure on your policy as it usually involves severe damage to homes. Our claims team will be there to help manage the restoration of your home and your cover will give you the peace of mind that you’ll need in this difficult time.

Stages of a fire claim

1. First visit

The effects of a serious fire can vary dramatically depending on the type of home you live in. A loss adjuster will visit and review the damage with you. All fire claims are likely to involve a considerable amount of cleaning and stripping out, as even if the fire hasn’t spread throughout the house, the smoke may have.

The key for the loss adjuster will be to establish whether the home is structurally damaged as well as the aesthetic damage it will have suffered.

2. Alternative accommodation

If your home can’t be lived in because of the damage, AXA and the loss adjuster will help find you somewhere else to live while the work is carried out. The policy pays for ‘reasonable’ costs of alternative accommodation and because our customers have different needs, we try to be as flexible as possible.

Some people prefer to stay with friends or family and if this is the case we can pay an ‘inconvenience allowance’ to compensate for this. With a large claim however, it’s more likely that you’ll need a rented home to stay in as the process can take many months depending on the damage.

 3. Stripping out

All the affected areas will usually need to be stripped out to get your home ready for the repairs. 

4. Repairs or cash

When the home is being prepared for the repairs a ‘schedule of works’ will be drawn up which will list everything that needs doing to complete the job.

Where there is significant damage, we may use a surveyor with specialist knowledge to put together this document.

Loss adjusters will have their own network of contractors who’ll be able to price for the work. We can also consider your own preferred contractor if you have one, to put together their price for the work.

If the work is completed by our approved contractors then they will guarantee the repairs and work with you to make sure they’re completed to your satisfaction.

If you prefer to manage the repairs yourself then we can cash settle the claim once a price is agreed. This does however, mean that you’ll have to manage any building works yourself and we’re not able to guarantee repairs that are carried out by contractors who we have no links with.

In extreme circumstances a home can be so badly damaged by fire that we may need to consider a complete demolition and rebuild. This can sometimes be easier and quicker than trying to repair a house that’s been structurally destroyed.

While your claim is progressing, don’t forget that we’re always here to help. If you have any further questions or concerns, please get in contact.

Ground movement is complicated, can be difficult to diagnose and take time to repair.

What is ground movement?

It’s the movement of the ground on which the building stands which causes damage to the home. Your policy will cover the three ways in which the ground can move.

Subsidence: This is downward movement of the site on which the buildings are situated by a cause other than the weight of the buildings themselves.

Heave: This is the upward or lateral movement of the site on which the buildings are situated caused by swelling of the ground.

Landslip: This is the sudden movement of soil on a slope or gradual creep of a slope over a period of time.

Getting home insurance in the future

A ‘typical’ ground movement claim is not something that can be easily defined. There are usually four stages which can take varying amounts of time.

1. Site Investigations

This is the first real assessment of the claim where we’ll visit the site to view the damage and see what the current situation is at the property.

Usually loss adjusters will measure the width of the cracks, look at the depth of the foundations and look at the presence of any trees and drains. They will also look at what type of soil is under the house as some types of soil are more susceptible to subsidence than others.

2. Mitigation

When we’ve identified what we think is causing the ground movement, we often take steps to prevent it causing anymore damage. Commonly this can involve repairing drains that are leaking and taking out or reducing trees which are involved.

3. Monitoring

This is a crucial part of most ground movement claims. Usually after mitigation we measure how wide the cracks are or how stable the property is over a period of time (between 6 and 18 months usually) to see whether the damage is getting worse or staying the same.

4. Reinstatement/Repairs

Once we’ve established that the movement has stopped getting worse or that it isn’t going to stop, then we need to move on to the actual repairs. There are many different ways that repairs happen but these are basically divided into

  • underground repairs: to strengthen the foundations of the building
  • super-structure repairs: repairing the damage to the property

Common underground repairs include underpinning where concrete is poured into bays dug beneath the foundations to take them to a new depth. The idea is that the foundations are taken down to a depth at which whatever is causing the subsidence has no influence. Underpinning (along with most underground repairs) is very disruptive and expensive and is only usually used when there is no other way of stabilising the house.

Stages of a Ground movement claim

If you've made a claim for ground movement we'll always offer you Home Insurance, however, the amount you have to pay may increase as a result. You may also find it difficult to get insurance with another provider or they could charge you a higher excess as part of your policy.

For more advice, take a look at our useful links at the end of this guide.

While your claim is progressing, don’t forget that we’re always here to help. If you have any further questions or concerns, please get in contact.

Useful links

If you chose to take a cash settlement once your claim has been assessed and an amount agreed, then John Lewis can also offer a range of services for your home.

From kitchen designing to flooring and carpet fitting visit www.johnlewis.com or visit your local store to find out more.