ARGH! Laptop nicked and insurers won't pay out


A couple of weeks ago my flat was burgled and my laptop and digital camera were stolen. We are insured, with Endsleigh, but they won't replace the items. I guess I'm just posting to give everyone a heads up - not on how evil Endsleigh are (although I think they are), but just as an information thing.
Apparently in most of the student/tenants insurance that Endsleigh offers (and I guess a lot of other insurers, but Endsleigh do specialise in insurance for students and educational staff) that says not only do windows have to be fully closed and latched but you also have to have windows with a key lock, and that they have to be locked with the key at all times. I do have keylocks but although it was fully closed I hadn't used the key, so I now have to buy a laptop on finance - rubbish!


I'm assuming the absence of their being locked (with said locks) was material to the claim?


Bad luck Sleepy! In consolation, there are some really good 'credit crunch' laptop deals to be had at the moment in some of the sales.

I looked at Endsleigh for an annual travel insurance and the restrictions/exclusions to the cover were ridiculous.

I don't know your age/circumstances, but it is sometimes possible to claim on your parent's household insurance. These policies often have cover for offspring who are at university, and there is normally no limitation concerning age/pg courses etc. I remember during my masters course I used my parent's insurance as cover.


Hi both, thanks for the hint missspacey, I'll ask mum to take a look at her policy.
Yes, golfpro, basically the policeman who came said that the window was tampered with, but the insurers said that that couldn't happen if the keylock was secure, so no help really. Stupid thing is that I only went with Endsleigh because of their reputation... never again.


i had a similar problem with endsleigh not playing out, in that thier policy stated doors had to be locked, except mine was lack but had been unlocked by said 'robber' with the key (where from i dont know) and thus they said there was no evidence it had been locked so wouldnt pay out. i also found in their small print there were so many clauses it was better off going with a non student insurer. and often parents household cover will cover you too.

Avatar for XJR

My brother had his student house robbed and the insurers refused to pay for any of the six people who had their laptops stolen because laptops had to be separately registered and no one had realised this.

However, he contacted the insurance company and after a few weeks of complaints/requests they gave him the money for a new laptop, apart from a £100 excess.

Sleepyhead, it might be worth persisting with complaints and claiming that the window was perfectly secure, even if it was not locked the way they wanted it. Often a bit of complaining can get insurers to pay out, it's worth a try.


Is there an insurance company watchdog or a regulatory agency that authorises them to do business in the first place? And does the insurance company themselves need to offer you some kind of formal complaint resolution?


Hey Olivia - yes there is something like it - the Financial Services Authority. I checked out their website and it does say that if there is a particularly strict clause that the insurers didn't highlight (the clause was not on the policy summary) then this is grounds for complaint. I have written a letter to the insurers stating this and if they do not respond I can take it to the Financial Ombudsmen Service. The problem is, I have to have a laptop in the meantime, but hopefully I may recoup something.

Thanks all for your help and suggestions... I have been locking my windows like mad since, which my cat is a bit gutted about as he can't just wander in and out anymore!


Good luck with your complaint, Sleepyhead. Often, as someone else said, they back down if you kick up a fuss.


I really sympathise sleepyhead, its so horrible to have things stolen, such an invasion.
I feel as though I must ask - did the terms of the insurance state your windows etc. must be locked? (Not just the summary - as a consumer it is your responsibility to read the ts and cs.) If so then you can't really complain about them not paying out... for example, if my car was stolen and I hadn't locked the doors, I'm sure my insurers wouldn't pay out... and I'm not sure if any insurance company would. Stipulating a window is locked to guard against theft is not an unfair term or condition, if you really think about it. And if it was in the terms and conditions then you shouldn't actually complain - if they weren't, however, do complain!! very loudly!!


I think there is a more fundamental, underlying problem with insurers these days. Regardless of small print, they appear to attempt to trick the customer into believing cover is given which simply does not exist. Concealing the conditions of specific policies is a similar matter. From my personal, moral beliefs, I deeply believe that many insurers have lost any credibility or ethical foundations along the way.


It may sound naive to some, but we buy an insurance cover for a feeling of security. A feeling that, in case something happens, we get an uncomplicated payout. Not for a feeling that, in case something happens, we have to beg for a payout, fight for it, or commission legal advise to get a payout.


Personally I think all insurers are thieves and con-merchants: you pay the money faithfully but when it comes to recieving it back again, they take whatever measures to avoid paying.
I have heard it said that insurers routinely refuse outright the first request for a claim, contemplate acting on the second and actually investigate on the third. It seems persistence pays.


I totally agree that many insurance companies are rotten - I didn't use Ensleigh when I was on campus as I'd heard loads of stories about them not paying out and they have a bad rep. Its a case of the cheapest actually being a false economy. I guess you have to shop around and check carefully what you're putting your money into and whether it is worth it or not. I know it shouldn't be like that and there are lot of rotten companies and upset people treated really unfairly and its horrible. Ive had a taste of it myself with a local garage and had to get trading standards involved to get my money back...


...However, its important to realise that insurers are in the business of making money and are not doing a public service - and aren't some kind of savings account that 'pays out what you put in'. You have to understand that you pay to insure against property being damaged or taken, and they see you as a calculable risk, whereby you pay them money and overall the incomings from everybody's premiums will be more than the outgoings from claims. Therefore, they will always try and make the risk to your stuff the absolute minimum - if you tell them you always leave your window open (more likely for burglars to get in), they won't insure you, or will make your premium so high that they don't lose money. If you abide by their rules, they should pay out. You just have to be a bit more consumer-savvy and not rely on companies, there to make money, to advise you. Read the ts and cs yourself and if you don't like them - don't sign up! Just my two pennies.