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Removal company insurance wont pay for missing/stolen items

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We have just had our storage and removal insurance claim denied

I don't know what to do next.

If I get anything wrong I'm sorry as this is my first post.


Back in October we paid for a large national removal firm to come to our house,

pack and export wrap all of our things and then take them to be stored in their warehouse for six months as we were moving to Eastern Europe to start a business.



We took out their own removal and storage insurance covering us up to the value of £23,000 as we listed all of the items about £500 separately as per their instructions.


When the time came for us to have our things delivered, we employed a second removal company to collect our things from the warehouse and deliver them to us in Eastern Europe.

We also took them up on their insurance, for the same amounts as above.


When our things arrived, everything looked fine at first,

but as we started to unpack we saw that almost all of the boxes had been opened,

then resealed and new box numbers put on with the old ones taken off.



Some boxes even had two completely different numbers on, and the contents of the boxes was completely different to what was written on the packing inventory.


Most of the boxes were almost empty too,

but in was done in such a way that you wouldn't be able to tell until the box was open.



For example, one of the boxes said that it contained my evening dresses and formal wear, it was a big box, but all it contained was our old and very worn picnic rug


Our little fire safe had also been broken into, you can see where the lock has been forced and the contents are gone.


We went through everything and the missing items come to just under £15,000.

We informed both removal companies within four days of receiving our things.



The first company who had stored the things said to fill out the insurance forms and get the information to them as soon as we could.


The second company said that it was not their responsibility as everything had looked in good order when they collected it, but their broker sent us the claim forms and said to submit the claim anway.


We put the claim in for the first removal company as the second removal company would not have been able to open and reseal the boxes as they did not have the branded labels with the first companys logo and details.


The first removal firm said that they had sent our claim off to their brokers underwriters and that we would hear directly from them.



After five weeks of not hearing anything, and of the removal company ignoring my emails and not putting me through to anyone when I called,



I called the broker instead who said that they had never received our claim details.

They asked me to send them directly to them, which I did.


They have sent me an email saying that they are denying the claim as it is the other removal companys responsibility as the goods were in good condition when the collected them.


I'm not sure what to do,

it is soul destroying,

these were hugely sentimental items,

we are devastated.



Any help or advice would be very greatly appreciated thank you.


Sorry I should have added that we have now moved back to the UK as my mother became very ill and we didn't want to be far away.

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Have you taken photos of everything?


Who's the insurer?

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Yes we have, we even took videos of us opening the boxes after we started to realise how much had been opened and resealed, and we submitted them all with the claim. We also contacted the police in Eastern Europe and in the UK, but both forces said that it was the other polices problem. The insurer or broker is ICA.


Thank you for replying.

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Only just read this. Awful thing to happen. The mistake here i think is to have two different Insurances, so no continous cover from the point your possessions were collected, until they were delivered to an address in Eastern Europe. Each Insurers therefore will decline the claim on the basis they don't know when the loss was suffered and the Police in each country won't be helpful either.


In this situation i think you really need to get to the bottom of what happened with the safe keeping of the boxes containing your possessions. You need a full explanation from both removal companies of the whole journey, from when your possessions were collected until the point they were delivered. Given what you say about the boxes being carefully resealed, so it was difficult to detect the theft, i should imagine it was done at a time the items were in storage for the longest period. Ask the companies whether they have been advised of other thefts occurring. Ask the local Police force whether they have records of thefts being reported at the removers warehouse.


You are more likely to succeed with a legal claim against the removal companies, than on the Insurance and should seek legal advice. I would guess that the second removal company would be responsible, as they took responsibility for the possessions you had itemised. If they had any suspicion of boxes feeling light, then they should have asked you to attend the warehouse to check the boxes.

We could do with some help from you.



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