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Our house has some external 'staircase' cracks, and is likely affected by subsidence. We have got in touch with our insurance company about this, and they have started the process of investigating the nature and cause of the issue.

We only took out insurance with this provider around six months ago. As part of handling our claim they have asked for details of our previous buildings insurance - who we were insured with, and the policy number.

An online search about this kind of request didn't return any results.

They stated on the phone that this is because they can claim money from that provider, and that this reduces the size of our claim that goes on our record.

Is this normal practise? Is there any reason we shouldn't give them this information?

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    They're probably thinking the insured event happened during the previous term even if you'd only noticed it now
    – littleadv
    Commented Dec 14, 2023 at 22:03

2 Answers 2

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This will depend heavily on the details of your present and past coverage.

If your current insurer can demonstrate that the cracks existed before they started coverage they may argue that they are not responsible for any claims to repair them. They may make an effort to help you make a claim against the previous insurer. It it goes well, the previous company may pay the claim, or the two companies may split the claim in some fashion. If it goes badly, the two insurance companies get into a prolonged dispute about it, and your claim languishes for months. Worst case, both insurers successfully argue that they are not responsible, and you are on the hook for the repairs yourself.

It's not great situation, but it may turn out OK, and if you want your claim to be processed you'll probably have to provide the information they want. You'll have to check the details of your policy to be sure of this though.

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Two things that an insurer with a new customer worries about:

  • A claim made in the first few months for damage/loss that occurred under the old policy.
  • A claim made in the first few months for damage that was already fixed or partially fixed under the old insurance.

For example if the old policy didn't cover wind damage, so the customer bought a new policy that included wind damage after the roof was damaged in a storm.

The old policy may have had a monetary limit of coverage so they repaired the roof that was rotting under the old policy; then after switching companies "discover" the rot under the siding and had a reset limit to work with.

The company also worries about this if a customer add an optional coverage area, and then immediately discovers they need to make a claim.

The new insurer wants details about your old claims before deciding if they will cover that new claim you are making.

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