‘Check the small print of your policy’ says Wyke taxi driver forced to sleep in his office

Roderick Stewart in his smoke-affected home

Roderick Stewart in his smoke-affected home

First published in News
Last updated
Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

A taxi driver who was forced to sleep in his office following a house fire is warning people to check their insurance small print.

Roderick Stewart’s house was massively smoke damaged by the chip pan fire on May 25 and has been not been habitable since.

But when Mr Stewart, 53, went to insurers Royal Sun Alliance (RSA), he was told his policy was invalid. The company said Mr Stewart had failed to disclose that his son, David John Stewart, who also lived at the house had a criminal record – something it requires all policy holders to do. The record includes a case of criminal damage several years earlier.

Mr Stewart, of Ruffield Side, on the Delph Hill estate in Wyke, has been with RSA for seven years and had no idea that his insurance policy required him to disclose such information.

He said RSA had so far refused to pay towards any repairs which could amount to £35,000.

The fire was caused by an unattended chip pan and Mr Stewart jumped out of a window to escape the blaze. For a week he stayed in a hotel but has since been sleeping in his taxi company offices.

“When I renewed my home insurance I just looked at the price and then renewed it. I wouldn’t even think about getting in touch about my son having a criminal record.”

A spokesman for RSA said they were looking at the claim and added: “When applying for home insurance or renewing an existing policy it is important that you let the insurance company know if you or your family have received any convictions other than driving offences.”

Comments (22)

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8:16am Fri 6 Jun 14

collos25 says...

Insurance companies will do anything to not payout,why did they not do the checks themselves before they took the money.
Insurance companies will do anything to not payout,why did they not do the checks themselves before they took the money. collos25
  • Score: 21

8:26am Fri 6 Jun 14

bd7 helper says...

Insurance company's are just there to make money?
Insurance company's are just there to make money? bd7 helper
  • Score: 14

10:54am Fri 6 Jun 14

Huneybunch says...

At the end of the day he has paid his insurance, so they should pay out! I would advise everyone to check the small print on all policies to ensure they are covered for no matter what!!
At the end of the day he has paid his insurance, so they should pay out! I would advise everyone to check the small print on all policies to ensure they are covered for no matter what!! Huneybunch
  • Score: 13

12:49pm Fri 6 Jun 14

Cooperlane2 says...

I bet it's also illegal to use his business offices for sleeping in domestically.
I bet it's also illegal to use his business offices for sleeping in domestically. Cooperlane2
  • Score: 0

1:21pm Fri 6 Jun 14

TheApprentice says...

It's not up to the insurance companies to check the details, it's up to the individual to check the details of any deal they make - including insurance. A little bit of personal responsibility does a great deal of good.

If you don't tell the insurance companies the full details, go solely on price or fail to read the small print then expect the insurers to refuse your claim, that shouldn't be a shock.

He might get his claim paid now he's made a fuss to the press but all this hassle could be avoided if people didn't judge policies solely on price. They wouldn't do this with any other commodity.
It's not up to the insurance companies to check the details, it's up to the individual to check the details of any deal they make - including insurance. A little bit of personal responsibility does a great deal of good. If you don't tell the insurance companies the full details, go solely on price or fail to read the small print then expect the insurers to refuse your claim, that shouldn't be a shock. He might get his claim paid now he's made a fuss to the press but all this hassle could be avoided if people didn't judge policies solely on price. They wouldn't do this with any other commodity. TheApprentice
  • Score: -2

1:41pm Fri 6 Jun 14

Mr Capp says...

Appalling action by the insurance company. To the large majority who trust insurance companies to deliver on their obligations let this be a salutary warning to check the fine detail EVERY YEAR you renew as you don't know what sneaky clause they may insert from when you originally took your policy out. Also i would stay well clear of Royal Sun Alliance!
Appalling action by the insurance company. To the large majority who trust insurance companies to deliver on their obligations let this be a salutary warning to check the fine detail EVERY YEAR you renew as you don't know what sneaky clause they may insert from when you originally took your policy out. Also i would stay well clear of Royal Sun Alliance! Mr Capp
  • Score: 12

2:24pm Fri 6 Jun 14

Mr Capp says...

Cooperlane2 wrote:
I bet it's also illegal to use his business offices for sleeping in domestically.
You really are a moron. Aren't you?
[quote][p][bold]Cooperlane2[/bold] wrote: I bet it's also illegal to use his business offices for sleeping in domestically.[/p][/quote]You really are a moron. Aren't you? Mr Capp
  • Score: 3

2:54pm Fri 6 Jun 14

micela22 says...

also make sure you don`t have an `auto renew` which my policy kindly had for my benefit, i wasn`t aware & ended up doubly insured for 12 months & couldn`t get a penny back & believe me it wasn`t for lack of trying
also make sure you don`t have an `auto renew` which my policy kindly had for my benefit, i wasn`t aware & ended up doubly insured for 12 months & couldn`t get a penny back & believe me it wasn`t for lack of trying micela22
  • Score: 6

3:37pm Fri 6 Jun 14

roddersone says...

not actually staying in the office its a portacabin behind with facilaties
not actually staying in the office its a portacabin behind with facilaties roddersone
  • Score: 4

3:53pm Fri 6 Jun 14

Sannah01amar says...

TheApprentice wrote:
It's not up to the insurance companies to check the details, it's up to the individual to check the details of any deal they make - including insurance. A little bit of personal responsibility does a great deal of good.

If you don't tell the insurance companies the full details, go solely on price or fail to read the small print then expect the insurers to refuse your claim, that shouldn't be a shock.

He might get his claim paid now he's made a fuss to the press but all this hassle could be avoided if people didn't judge policies solely on price. They wouldn't do this with any other commodity.
So should we tell them the last time we went to the toilet as well!
[quote][p][bold]TheApprentice[/bold] wrote: It's not up to the insurance companies to check the details, it's up to the individual to check the details of any deal they make - including insurance. A little bit of personal responsibility does a great deal of good. If you don't tell the insurance companies the full details, go solely on price or fail to read the small print then expect the insurers to refuse your claim, that shouldn't be a shock. He might get his claim paid now he's made a fuss to the press but all this hassle could be avoided if people didn't judge policies solely on price. They wouldn't do this with any other commodity.[/p][/quote]So should we tell them the last time we went to the toilet as well! Sannah01amar
  • Score: 7

4:55pm Fri 6 Jun 14

Cooperlane2 says...

"I bet it's also illegal to use his business offices for sleeping in domestically...
You really are a moron. Aren't you?"

Why am I a moron? - sleeping in business premises might also invalidate business insurance on those premises as well.
let's hope he doesn't have a chip pan fire that burns his business down as well.
"I bet it's also illegal to use his business offices for sleeping in domestically... You really are a moron. Aren't you?" Why am I a moron? - sleeping in business premises might also invalidate business insurance on those premises as well. let's hope he doesn't have a chip pan fire that burns his business down as well. Cooperlane2
  • Score: 2

5:02pm Fri 6 Jun 14

mike.smith says...

we live in an era, where everything is assumed. This is the reason many organization, companies are taking advantage of the innocent consumers. If more made a fuss about unfair terms trading by big organization, these organizations will revise their terms and the small prints eventually revised or abolished.
the more the fuss the more fear in these organizations.
we live in an era, where everything is assumed. This is the reason many organization, companies are taking advantage of the innocent consumers. If more made a fuss about unfair terms trading by big organization, these organizations will revise their terms and the small prints eventually revised or abolished. the more the fuss the more fear in these organizations. mike.smith
  • Score: 7

6:29pm Fri 6 Jun 14

TheApprentice says...

Sannah01amar wrote:
TheApprentice wrote:
It's not up to the insurance companies to check the details, it's up to the individual to check the details of any deal they make - including insurance. A little bit of personal responsibility does a great deal of good.

If you don't tell the insurance companies the full details, go solely on price or fail to read the small print then expect the insurers to refuse your claim, that shouldn't be a shock.

He might get his claim paid now he's made a fuss to the press but all this hassle could be avoided if people didn't judge policies solely on price. They wouldn't do this with any other commodity.
So should we tell them the last time we went to the toilet as well!
Obviously not but a criminal conviction is obviously going to be of interest to insurance companies when they're deciding whether to insure you or not and at what price. It's a pretty standard questions and this gentleman has either incorrectly answered it or skipped past it but to me that's the fault of the individual. You can't blame the insurers for wanting to know that sort of information and then not honouring the contract if it's provided with duff details.
[quote][p][bold]Sannah01amar[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]TheApprentice[/bold] wrote: It's not up to the insurance companies to check the details, it's up to the individual to check the details of any deal they make - including insurance. A little bit of personal responsibility does a great deal of good. If you don't tell the insurance companies the full details, go solely on price or fail to read the small print then expect the insurers to refuse your claim, that shouldn't be a shock. He might get his claim paid now he's made a fuss to the press but all this hassle could be avoided if people didn't judge policies solely on price. They wouldn't do this with any other commodity.[/p][/quote]So should we tell them the last time we went to the toilet as well![/p][/quote]Obviously not but a criminal conviction is obviously going to be of interest to insurance companies when they're deciding whether to insure you or not and at what price. It's a pretty standard questions and this gentleman has either incorrectly answered it or skipped past it but to me that's the fault of the individual. You can't blame the insurers for wanting to know that sort of information and then not honouring the contract if it's provided with duff details. TheApprentice
  • Score: -3

7:34pm Fri 6 Jun 14

vikksy says...

Surely if the fire department state it was an accident etc then the insurance company should pay out
Surely if the fire department state it was an accident etc then the insurance company should pay out vikksy
  • Score: 7

7:41pm Fri 6 Jun 14

TheApprentice says...

vikksy wrote:
Surely if the fire department state it was an accident etc then the insurance company should pay out
It's not about the cause of the incident being in doubt though. The insures are saying that they wouldn't have provided him with cover if he'd provided them with all the facts they asked for. If they paid claims for people who hadn't told the whole truth in the beginning then what's to stop everybody lying when they apply for insurance to get an artificially low premium and then expecting to be paid out for claims?
[quote][p][bold]vikksy[/bold] wrote: Surely if the fire department state it was an accident etc then the insurance company should pay out[/p][/quote]It's not about the cause of the incident being in doubt though. The insures are saying that they wouldn't have provided him with cover if he'd provided them with all the facts they asked for. If they paid claims for people who hadn't told the whole truth in the beginning then what's to stop everybody lying when they apply for insurance to get an artificially low premium and then expecting to be paid out for claims? TheApprentice
  • Score: 1

8:16pm Fri 6 Jun 14

News, Really????? says...

It's a standard question every insurance company asks when you apply for home insurance, when your policy is due for renewal they ask if your circumstances have changed since the inception of your policy. Not rocket science.
It's a standard question every insurance company asks when you apply for home insurance, when your policy is due for renewal they ask if your circumstances have changed since the inception of your policy. Not rocket science. News, Really?????
  • Score: -1

9:09pm Fri 6 Jun 14

Mr Capp says...

News, Really????? wrote:
It's a standard question every insurance company asks when you apply for home insurance, when your policy is due for renewal they ask if your circumstances have changed since the inception of your policy. Not rocket science.
He has been with the insurance company for 7 years and was on automatic renewal every year. At the point of inception he filled out all the details honestly then automatically renewed every year. He made an error for not remembering that 7 years ago there was a question about anyone living there with a criminal record.that he had to notify the insurance company. In a perfect world we would all remember little points like this but we don't live in a perfect world do we?
I sincerely hope that some of you who are so perfect that you are so sure that nothing like this could ever happen to you are proved to be correct because you wont get any sympathy from anyone!
[quote][p][bold]News, Really?????[/bold] wrote: It's a standard question every insurance company asks when you apply for home insurance, when your policy is due for renewal they ask if your circumstances have changed since the inception of your policy. Not rocket science.[/p][/quote]He has been with the insurance company for 7 years and was on automatic renewal every year. At the point of inception he filled out all the details honestly then automatically renewed every year. He made an error for not remembering that 7 years ago there was a question about anyone living there with a criminal record.that he had to notify the insurance company. In a perfect world we would all remember little points like this but we don't live in a perfect world do we? I sincerely hope that some of you who are so perfect that you are so sure that nothing like this could ever happen to you are proved to be correct because you wont get any sympathy from anyone! Mr Capp
  • Score: 3

9:14pm Fri 6 Jun 14

News, Really????? says...

He made an error therefore it's his fault his insurance is invalid and no one else's.
He made an error therefore it's his fault his insurance is invalid and no one else's. News, Really?????
  • Score: -1

9:18pm Fri 6 Jun 14

News, Really????? says...

Mr Capp wrote:
Appalling action by the insurance company. To the large majority who trust insurance companies to deliver on their obligations let this be a salutary warning to check the fine detail EVERY YEAR you renew as you don't know what sneaky clause they may insert from when you originally took your policy out. Also i would stay well clear of Royal Sun Alliance!
Not really sneaky is it? It's a valid clause of every insurance company to declare any changes in circumstance from the inception of the policy. RSA rule!
[quote][p][bold]Mr Capp[/bold] wrote: Appalling action by the insurance company. To the large majority who trust insurance companies to deliver on their obligations let this be a salutary warning to check the fine detail EVERY YEAR you renew as you don't know what sneaky clause they may insert from when you originally took your policy out. Also i would stay well clear of Royal Sun Alliance![/p][/quote]Not really sneaky is it? It's a valid clause of every insurance company to declare any changes in circumstance from the inception of the policy. RSA rule! News, Really?????
  • Score: 2

9:46pm Fri 6 Jun 14

Mr Capp says...

News, Really????? wrote:
He made an error therefore it's his fault his insurance is invalid and no one else's.
I guess you work for RSA? Either that or you are a pathetic troll!
[quote][p][bold]News, Really?????[/bold] wrote: He made an error therefore it's his fault his insurance is invalid and no one else's.[/p][/quote]I guess you work for RSA? Either that or you are a pathetic troll! Mr Capp
  • Score: 2

11:30pm Fri 6 Jun 14

TheApprentice says...

Mr Capp wrote:
News, Really????? wrote:
It's a standard question every insurance company asks when you apply for home insurance, when your policy is due for renewal they ask if your circumstances have changed since the inception of your policy. Not rocket science.
He has been with the insurance company for 7 years and was on automatic renewal every year. At the point of inception he filled out all the details honestly then automatically renewed every year. He made an error for not remembering that 7 years ago there was a question about anyone living there with a criminal record.that he had to notify the insurance company. In a perfect world we would all remember little points like this but we don't live in a perfect world do we?
I sincerely hope that some of you who are so perfect that you are so sure that nothing like this could ever happen to you are proved to be correct because you wont get any sympathy from anyone!
The question will have been asked whether anything has changed though and as I said originally there does have to be a bit of personal responsibility. You can't just blindly assume that you don't need to check the terms every time things are up for renewal.

It's not about living in a perfect world, it's about remembering that insurance policies are contracts based on the minute details provided at the outset of every year. If people understood that and checked them then 99% of all insurance problems would never exist.

There are people that seem to believe that you can tell insurers anything, ignore the details they require and still get paid out in the end. That's not living in the real world and it wouldn't be expected in any other contract.
[quote][p][bold]Mr Capp[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]News, Really?????[/bold] wrote: It's a standard question every insurance company asks when you apply for home insurance, when your policy is due for renewal they ask if your circumstances have changed since the inception of your policy. Not rocket science.[/p][/quote]He has been with the insurance company for 7 years and was on automatic renewal every year. At the point of inception he filled out all the details honestly then automatically renewed every year. He made an error for not remembering that 7 years ago there was a question about anyone living there with a criminal record.that he had to notify the insurance company. In a perfect world we would all remember little points like this but we don't live in a perfect world do we? I sincerely hope that some of you who are so perfect that you are so sure that nothing like this could ever happen to you are proved to be correct because you wont get any sympathy from anyone![/p][/quote]The question will have been asked whether anything has changed though and as I said originally there does have to be a bit of personal responsibility. You can't just blindly assume that you don't need to check the terms every time things are up for renewal. It's not about living in a perfect world, it's about remembering that insurance policies are contracts based on the minute details provided at the outset of every year. If people understood that and checked them then 99% of all insurance problems would never exist. There are people that seem to believe that you can tell insurers anything, ignore the details they require and still get paid out in the end. That's not living in the real world and it wouldn't be expected in any other contract. TheApprentice
  • Score: -1

2:41pm Sat 7 Jun 14

manure says...

I have had house insurance for donkey's years and cannot recall having been asked the question about criminal convictions either when first taking out the insurance, renewing it or even changing insurers, so was he, was he miss sold the policy in the first place
I have had house insurance for donkey's years and cannot recall having been asked the question about criminal convictions either when first taking out the insurance, renewing it or even changing insurers, so was he, was he miss sold the policy in the first place manure
  • Score: 3

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