Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Insuring I'm ripped off....

So, life is a little hectic right now. In addition to trying to buy a house I have been working in France, London and Dorset (small commute then!) and at the moment it is a miracle if I am in one place for more than three hours at a time. This is a little tiring but it's the life I chose, and still choose, so I shall not complain too much (today!).

The thing I do want to whinge bitterly about is insurance and house surveys. I met with the bank today to finalise the mortgage arrangements (aaargh - fear - debt - penury - fear...). As part of the mortgage I have to get a valuation for which they charge a small yet painful fee of £256.00 This is for somebody to drive by the house on their way home and say 'looks rubbish to me - I'd only pay X'. They then inform the bank of this on their headed paper knocked up on Powerpoint. It's a disgrace and the world's biggest con. I mean I could do that. You could do that. For god's sake, the Loyal Hound could do that.

The next option is to do a Homebuyers Report. This is when they do exactly the same thing but write a longer report explaining that though they didn't see anything because the door was closed / they didn't go upstairs / they never actually went there the house could have damp, a roof that will blow off if somebody sneezes, windows that don't fit, a boiler that will explode every other Tuesday. This is an even bigger rip off at £550. I could still do that, as could you. It's just a bigger con.

The last and only viable option is a Buildings Survey. This is where they visit the house and actually go inside. They are usually a qualified surveyor of some kind and they prove it by bringing damp meters, test tubes and pipettes and possibly a lab coat and they test everything they can find. Then they inform you that the house is a death trap, everything that could go wrong, just might and that you would be nuts to buy it. This small novella will cost £856.00. OUCH. There are so many other things that I could buy with that money. Things I'd actually like to buy. I mean, when else do you pay to receive bad news?

I would so love to be the person who says 'bollocks to that' and just doesn't get a survey but at the back of my mind is the fact that if I don't get the survey then Sod's Law says that I will end up with a house that does have death watch beetle encamped on the sofa watching daytime television and drinking Horlicks. If I get the survey at least I would know this, but if I don't then I will have bought a house with a sitting tenant that could make it worthless. So, I have had to agree to spend nearly a thousand pounds on a survey 'just to be sure'. It's downright depressing.

I mean, we seem to insure against EVERYTHING. Car Insurance, health insurance, contents insurance, building insurance, travel insurance, life insurance, mortgage insurance, public liability insurance (Ok I have that one for work but I do have it). The bank also wanted me to take Sickness Insurance and Trauma Insurance (I might need that one if I survive the process of buying a house which is vilely traumatic). If I saved up all the money that I spent on insurance I'd be a millionaire and could retire in a fortnight.

When it comes down to it I don't actually know anybody whose life has been ruined because they didn't have insurance. I do know plenty of people though who had insurance which didn't pay out at the vital moment because of some incomprehensible and devious bit of small print that said the insurance was invalid if you had a vowel in your name, or you tried to claim in the afternoon, or you preferred Cindy to Barbie.... you get the general gist. It's the world's biggest scam and I fall for it everytime. Why? well, just in case of course.

I'm never going to be the person who doesn't insure, but I am it seems always going to be the person who bitches and moans about the fact that I wish I didn't have to. The only thing insurance seems to do, whether it be a survey or travel insurance, is insure that I get robbed once a month like clockwork.

11 comments:

Mrs Trefusis... said...

i agree: and you've reminded me that i absolutely must cancel the stupid "what happens if you suddenly get unbelievably ill'"insurance policy I bought when I bought this house (nearly 5 years ago) and have been meaning to cancel ever since Robber barons the lot of them. So a thousand thanks for reminding me to do it. x

elizabethm said...

I agree absolutely. We had this house surveyed by a really lovely man who specialises in ancient buildings. What this means is that we spent £1000 for him to say there could be some damp but what do you expect in houses of that age and how lovely it is and he would love to live in it himself. Nice but expensive.

Special K said...

Insurance business is bollocks. It capatializes on our anxiety and fear and the inherent reality that we can't control or prevent calamity. However, I cherish my health insurance. In this world economy, where they can put a price tag on health, many who don't have it spend YEARS to pay off silly procedures. As a single gal, this is my top priority.

lunarossa said...

I've got too many insurances. I always wonder if they would ever pay out. In Italy they always find a way not to. I don't know what would happen in the UK, but just to be covered...you never know. All the best. Ciao. Antonella

Welsh Girl said...

Mrs Trefusis - happy to help!
ElizabethM - I know, the world's most expensive yet useless service. I'm pretty much expecting the same thing and then I'll be cross that I didn't just go for the £250 option...
SpecialK - I can't say I cherish my health insurance. Whilst it is comforting in principle I loathe shelling out £50 a month that I could spend on books, chocolate and more books instead...
Lunarossa - that's always the thing. You sit there and say 'but what if my house burnt down etc etc and then you are in their sticky web for ever and ever. I sometimes think that if I saved up all the money I spend on insurance I'd be better off and have a stash of cash to cover any disaster...

katyboo1 said...

Our insurance is one of the biggest expenses we have after the mortgage payment goes out. UE used to eschew insurance because he said he was going to find the secret to Eternal Life so yah boo sucks. I wish I could be as sanguine.

The Singlutionary said...

I don't know what the exchange rate is these days but I do know that the US Dollar is not doing very well and with that said: you are totally getting ripped off! I never knew how cheap it is to buy a house in the United States. Of course, being a surveyor in Wales sounds like a grand job. Hmmmm.

Milla said...

I insure, yes, am scared and hate the tempting fate bit, but have given up on surveys ever since my parents had the full works (at my bossy insistence). They "didn't find" a ton of blue asbestos and, hey, when sued, won! the bastards.

Mud in the City said...

Award reciprocation over at mine!

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