Home Money The only thing you need to add to your shed to ensure your insurance pays, reveals DEAN DUNHAM

The only thing you need to add to your shed to ensure your insurance pays, reveals DEAN DUNHAM

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If your shed is not properly insured, some insurance policies will not cover items such as lawnmowers.

My lawnmower was stolen from our garden shed. The insurance company says you should have put a lock on the door, so you don’t pay. Alright? JJ Ilfracombe

Consumer attorney Dean Dunham responds: While many home contents insurance policies include cover for sheds and other outbuildings located on your property, it is always advisable to check the policy terms carefully. Policy wording can vary drastically between insurance companies and, as I always say, “if an insurance provider can get away with a claim, they will.” so it is vital that you understand what the terms say.

If your shed is not properly insured, some insurance policies will not cover items such as lawnmowers.

When reading the policy, you should be aware of exclusions and what will not be covered. With items inside sheds and other outbuildings, the usual exclusions are items of high value and where the shed or outbuilding has not been properly ‘secured’. So if the terms of your policy state that you will only be covered for theft from your shed if it was properly secured/locked, there is probably nowhere you can turn with this.

In addition to reading the terms yourself, my advice is to ask your insurance provider which clause in your policy terms they relied on to reject your claim. If they can’t point to a specific term, you have reason to complain. If they can point to a specific term, your next question is when you were informed about the particular term before the policy began or how it was highlighted. Therefore, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 states that “key terms”, such as exclusions in a contract, must be highlighted so that the consumer knows exactly what he is signing up to.

When the Consumer Rights Act came into force in October 2015, this surprised providers such as insurance providers, but most are now aware of this and actually highlight those terms; but still the point is worth considering. If you cannot resolve the issue with the insurer and you still believe they are right after they have responded, you can make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Can I return a dress if it was a discounted item?

I took money off a dress I bought because it had a small stain on the hem. Now I want to return it because it doesn’t fit me, but the store says they won’t accept returns on discounted items. What I can do? CD Leeds

WHEN you buy the dress in-store at the trader’s usual place of business, consumer laws do not give you any automatic right to return the goods unless they are faulty. Instead, the merchant is free to decide his own returns policy and the only legal requirement is that he informs you (verbally or within his terms) what his returns policy is. So if the retailer’s returns policy says that he will accept returns, in relation to non-defective items, unless he purchased at a discount, there will be nothing he can do. However, if the policy says he will accept returns and does not exclude discounted items, he will have the right to return the dress.

If you had purchased online or from any location other than the retailer’s usual place of business, such as a pop-up shop or exhibition (what the law calls “remotely” purchased goods), the situation would be different. This is because thanks to a law known as the Consumer Contracts Regulations, consumers have the automatic right to return goods purchased online. This means that no questions are asked, even when the products are in perfect condition and therefore not defective under certain conditions. You must notify the retailer within 14 days of delivery and then return the products within another 14 days. You must return the products in salable condition and the products must not be custom-made or perishable. You cannot return products if there are health consequences (if you have tried on the products, such as earrings, swimsuits or underwear). It should be noted that you have this right with goods purchased remotely even if they were discounted.

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