ConsumerTalk with Wendy Knowler

ADT to pay up R29k for items stolen when guards were on duty after CT house fire

Is your home adequately insured for the risk of fire, or losses incurred?

Consumer journalist Wendy Knowler says more than half of the 600 homes destroyed or damaged in last year’s Knysna wildfire were not insured, and many others were under-insured.

Knowler shares the following insurance advice for homeowners:

  • Make sure you are covered for everything - paintings, clothes, appliances - everything you’d want to replace if it burnt.
  • Make sure that your policy includes the cost of demolishing the ruins, redesigning a replacement home, and building it.
  • Include pools and boundary walls because they are very expensive to replace.
    -Insure the replacement cost of your furniture, not the current cost of it.
  • Make digital copies of all important documents such as wills, ID documents and valuation certificates, and store them online or keep duplicates off-site.
  • Check that your gas heaters and earth leakage circuit breakers are working properly.
  • Ask your insurer to send an assessor to review your household contents cover.
  • Note and take photos of all your possessions.

Larry Simon's story:

Fidelity ADT will cough up R29 000 for the value of household items which went missing overnight while ADT guards were watching over a home in Newlands that had just burned down.

In February 2017, Larry Simon bought a house in Newlands.

When insuring it, he estimated the replacement value and provided that to his insurer, Hollard.

In May this year, Larry was home with his 15-year-old son on a Sunday night when his home caught fire.

In the four hours that followed, the flames, smoke and fire department’s water hoses destroyed about 80% of the family’s belongings.

But many personal belongings were stolen from his home overnight while Fidelity ADT officials were apparently on guard.

A large sum of money, a cell phone, a laptop bag and its contents, Bluetooth speakers, and other items were taken with all the drawers left ransacked the next morning.

Larry tried to claim from ADT but was left chasing the company for months. The total amount of his claim from ADT was just over R29 000.

ADT made an offer of R6 8000, which Larry refused after he had already settled his other items with his insurer.

ADT has now offered to pay the full amount after being contacted by Wendy Knowler.

This was the first time that trauma like this had ever happened to me or my family.

Larry Simon

The night of the fire is really just the beginning. The following day, when you wake up, that's when the real trauma starts.

Larry Simon

Hollard was absolutely amazing. The lost adjuster was really outstanding. It helped that I was adequately insured.

Larry Simon

I got ahold of ADT and asked for a report on who was there and details on what time it was. That's when things went south.

Larry Simon

I never got answers for months. I kept phoning their call centre and kept being stonewalled. They wouldn't put me through to the people I asked to speak to.

Larry Simon

I took up the case with the CEO of Fidelity ADT, Wahl Bartmann. The upshot is that yesterday morning the company offered Larry the full R29 000 that he’d claimed for the missing items.

Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist

Listen to the entire ConsumerTalk discussion during The Pippa Hudson Show:

Every Wednesday, on The Pippa Hudson Show, Wendy Knowler provides useful insights and tips on how to make the most of your buying power.

For more stories visit the ConsumerTalk feature page.

Got a consumer case you need help resolving?

Email: consumer@knowler.co.za, put Cape Talk in the subject line, followed by the issue e.g. cellphone contract dispute.


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