Pensioner's outrage after insurer refuses to pay for roof collapse

A PENSIONER has been left devastated after heavy snowfall caused part of her home to collapse - and her insurance company refused to pay out.

• Sheila Corrigan says RIAS Insurance informed her that it would not be paying out to repair damage caused by 'weight of snow'

Sheila Corrigan, 72, was lucky not to have been injured when her car port roof caved in, taking down an attic wall of her 1960s home in Gilmerton leaving the building exposed to the elements and writing off two cars.

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Mrs Corrigan said she could not afford to meet the cost of repairs, which could reach tens of thousands of pounds, after being told her RIAS insurance policy did not cover it.

"It's like the house has been hit by a bomb.

"The bricks were coming down in big lumps and the noise from it was tremendous.

"I was in at the time it collapsed but fortunately at the other side of the property. About an hour earlier I had been brushing cobwebs from underneath the carport and would have been killed if that had fallen on me."

She added: "I have had my heating on 24 hours a day since this happened at the start of December.

"The temperatures have been well below freezing for sometime and if the heating wasn't on the house would be very, very cold. The fact is that I cannot do any repairs just now anyway because bricklayers can't do anything if the temperature is below three degrees."

Mrs Corrigan, who has lived in the house on Ravenscroft Street for 22 years, said she was stunned when the insurance company said it would not pay out.

"They told me I wasn't covered without even coming out to inspect what happened. They just said 'we don't cover snow storms' but what constitutes a storm?

"I think they are shocking, They have never even been to see my house. I'm not expecting them to refund the car port but I was expecting the building to be made safe.

"It's appalling and I've been in contact with my MP Ian Murray because I want parliament to have a look at insurance speak and what is understood by the words they use.

"RIAS advertise themselves for the over 50s, they say they care for the elderly but I don't think they have fulfilled their contract of care."

The damage to the Ford Fiesta and Lexus will be covered by vehicle insurance. A RIAS spokesman said: "I can confirm that we received a claim from Mrs Corrigan regarding damage caused by 'weight of snow'.

"Mrs Corrigan's insurer, Ageas, has declined the claim because 'weight of snow' is not an insured incident under the 'storm damage' peril on our standard Home Insurance policy, and on the date of the incident the maximum wind speed was 31mph, with a snow depth of 7cm, which can't be classed as storm damage.

'Weight of snow' claims can be considered under the optional Accidental Damage section of the RIAS Home Insurance policy, which unfortunately Mrs Corrigan hadn't taken out when the policy was purchased."