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This is a potential problem we are having with our household insurance.

 

 

We have an antique skeleton clock, approximately 150 years old, and made by my partner's great grandfather, a watch and clock maker.

This is covered by an oval glass dome of a similar age and the clock is set on a wooden base, the dome resting in a shallow groove around the base.

This is a named item on our insurance.

 

During a recent house move the dome was completely shattered and the insurance company have accepted our claim.

We have sourced a Victorian dome which would fit the clock very well.

Such old glass domes are hard to find as their fragility means that many do not survive.

Because the one we have sourced has a slightly different measurement from the old one,

we also need a new base, as obviously the dome has to fit in the groove securely.

 

The dome we have eventually been able to source will cost £599 + VAT.

Having the base made will cost around £150.

The total cost comes to £904.

 

 

I know this sounds astronomical but, having scoured the internet and taken advice from a clock restorer,

we know this is about what one has to pay for a large dome of that age.

 

A company called Tadley Services, with whom our insurer works to assess the value of such items,

has told the insurance company that they could find a replacement dome + base for £150 - £160

and at the moment the insurers are saying that this is all they will pay.

 

 

I am sure that at that price the dome will not be an old dome, but a modern glass dome.

Tadley Services say they can source it from "a warehouse in Newcastle" but have not stated what company this is

, and I can find no trace of such a warehouse anywhere online.

 

At the moment we have paid ourselves for the £900 dome and base but are pursuing our claim.

I am convinced that they would not be able to replace like for like for £150.

I could believe they might just find one somewhere in the country for £600 or £700, but the £150 is just ridiculous,

in both our view and that of the restorer.

 

My question is

how do we go about proving that the dome Tadley Services say they can get would not be a like for like replacement?

 

 

Frankly I also feel that Tadley Services are not really the correct company to be assessing the replacement of an antique skeleton clock dome

- it is rather a specialist area.

 

 

Is there any way I could persuade the insurer to find such a specialist?

 

Many thanks for any advice.

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I've worked with Tadleys as an employee of an insurer and they're one of the better suppliers out there - they generally know their stuff and have very low levels of complaints.

 

The easy way would be to let them restore it - if it's not a suitable replacement, follow up with a complaint - if it is, you've got your clock restored.

 

Alternatively, make a complaint to the insurer and escalate to the ombudsman if they won't increase their payment to you.

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Thanks for the reply, TSx. I'm not convinced of Tadleys expertise in this specialist area, however good they might be with general repairs and restoration. Restoring the clock with an unsuitable base and modern dome would damage and devalue the clock, which also has sentimental value to us as made by a family member.

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You would have been better getting Tadley Services to replace the dome/base on the priviso it was a dome that was the same age as the clock, so you were in the same position as you were before the accidental damage. By calling their bluff, you could have perhaps proved that they could not provide a dome of the correct age. It would then have followed that the £150 dome was a modern replacement and you could have claimed for the correct dome.

 

Always best to use the experience of the Insurers replacement specialists and then if not happy to have pursued it further. You just never know what the Insurers specialists can do. There are warehouses around the country which are not always open to the public, which store a huge range of items and perhaps they could have provided a dome of the correct age. The dome you obtained at a much higher cost may have even been sourced from one of these warehouses.

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Thanks for the reply, TSx. I'm not convinced of Tadleys expertise in this specialist area, however good they might be with general repairs and restoration. Restoring the clock with an unsuitable base and modern dome would damage and devalue the clock, which also has sentimental value to us as made by a family member.

 

I have responded, but would add that if you have some specialist items in your house, you should think about going to a brokers that offers tailor made Home Insurance, where the Insurance underwriter understands the risk better. Hiscox Insurance are very good, but expensive.

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Thank you, Unclebulgaria. No it definitely wasn't. The dome was in a small shop - we went in and were surrounded by old domes large and small, and in fact they tried a couple to see which would look best with the clock and we picked the one we have now bought.

 

As I said, we couldn't risk our clock being damaged by a botched job - yes we could then have complained but the damage might already have been done.

 

The clock is the only item mentioned individually and the insurer knew it was old and of some value. We had no reason, until now, to think that Ageas would not provide suitable cover. We'll take a look at Hiscox for the future, thanks for that info.

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Thank you, Unclebulgaria. No it definitely wasn't. The dome was in a small shop - we went in and were surrounded by old domes large and small, and in fact they tried a couple to see which would look best with the clock and we picked the one we have now bought.

 

As I said, we couldn't risk our clock being damaged by a botched job - yes we could then have complained but the damage might already have been done.

 

But where did that small shop obtain their domes. They may have sourced them from auctions, other clock specialists, antique shops etc. But they may also have been aware of warehouses that stock domes. Because they are a small shop they have to sell them for a higher price, because they don't sell as much, so need a higher margin.

 

I am not sure you will have any success with the FOS, as the Insurers were offering a suitable replacement and you are not in a position now to prove it was not like for like. You could ask the Insurers to obtain written confirmation from Tadleys that the proposed dome was going to be a dome of the correct age for the clock and not a modern replacement. It is just a thought as to whether they would confirm it or not.

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I have told Ageas that we still wish to claim for the dome and I would expect to see a photograph of the specific dome and base Tadley's would have provided. The person I am dealing with at Ageas understands and accepts this. My point is that the insurer was NOT offering s suitable replacement and could not possibly be, for the price they were willing to pay. It is well known these old domes are rare, oval ones especially. They are indeed sourced from auction houses, when they can be found, and many formerly contained items of taxidermy, which was popular around the time they would have been made.

 

Believe me, I have done plenty of research on this. Suppliers of genuine antique glass domes are few and far between around the country. Even then, they may not have the right size and shape required. That is why I am so suspicious of what Tadley claimed to be offering.

 

We shall pursue this, and if, in the end, we have to accept £150 we shall do so, but not without a fight. I have spoken with two clock restorers (who do not themselves supply domes) and both laughed aloud when I told them the insurers could source the dome + base for £150.

 

Many thanks for all your replies.

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I have told Ageas that we still wish to claim for the dome and I would expect to see a photograph of the specific dome and base Tadley's would have provided. The person I am dealing with at Ageas understands and accepts this. My point is that the insurer was NOT offering s suitable replacement and could not possibly be, for the price they were willing to pay. It is well known these old domes are rare, oval ones especially. They are indeed sourced from auction houses, when they can be found, and many formerly contained items of taxidermy, which was popular around the time they would have been made.

 

Believe me, I have done plenty of research on this. Suppliers of genuine antique glass domes are few and far between around the country. Even then, they may not have the right size and shape required. That is why I am so suspicious of what Tadley claimed to be offering.

 

We shall pursue this, and if, in the end, we have to accept £150 we shall do so, but not without a fight. I have spoken with two clock restorers (who do not themselves supply domes) and both laughed aloud when I told them the insurers could source the dome + base for £150.

 

Many thanks for all your replies.

 

I can understand the situation as I take an interest in antiques and why it might be difficult to source the exact same dome as you had. But I am aware that warehouses do exist, where they keep large numbers of antique items, for supply to the Insurance industry. Somewhere in the north there is a massive warehouse containing chinawares and they can supply parts of expensive services that get broken.

 

It would be up to Ageas to evidence that they could supply the dome and how much it would actually cost for a like for like replacement. You may have to come to a negotiated settlement, as the FOS could take 6 months + to look at any complaint and you may not be successful. Perhaps see if you can get hold of as much information as you can, about the cost of this specific dome and provide it to the claims handler. Ageas are a pretty good company and I am sure they will look to come to a settlement.

We could do with some help from you.

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