If you had cavity wall insulation (retro)fitted in your home, it is likely that a CIGA guarantee came along with it. This is a certificate that promises a quality product for 25 years – sounds great right?
Unfortunately it’s not as straight forward as a warranty on your phone or watch, houses are worth a lot more which means if there’s a problem with your cavity wall insulation, it’s going to be costly to fix.
In this blog post we talk through what the guarantee means and how you can use it to make a claim if your cavity wall insulation has failed.
What is cavity wall insulation and why do I receive a guarantee?
Cavity wall insulation is a material that is inserted between the inner and outer walls of your home. Newer homes have been built with insulation already installed, this is made of a wool-like material similar to loft insulation. This is placed in blocks between the walls.
If your home is a little older (built after the 1920s) your home will have been built with an empty cavity. This is the space between the two walls and was built to collect debris and water so that it doesn’t seep through to the inner walls. Many people believe that the cavity is there for a reason and should not be filled.
A government-backed green scheme saw to millions of UK homes being fitted with cavity wall insulation which was injected through the outer walls. The idea was to cut energy costs and keep homes warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
If you agreed to the scheme, allowing an insulation company to come and fit insulation in your home free of charge, you will have received a guarantee along with it. This is to ensure that homeowners feel protected if anything goes wrong with the insulation and gives peace of mind.
The company that provided these guarantees is called CIGA, the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency. They hired insulation companies across the UK to fit the insulation, and provided a certificate which covers you for 25 years.
How does my guarantee work?
Your CIGA guarantee is evidence that you had the insulation installed, and is a promise from the installation company and insurers that the insulation will work for at least 25 years – it is imperative that you keep it safe in case something does go wrong.
CIGA claim on their website that any problems must be reported to them, and that if any issues arise within 25 years, they will perform remedial work to fix the issue.
However, this is not always the case. A quick search on Google will show you the amount of people who have been let down and unable to claim when the insulation has clearly failed them within the 25 year period.
How do CIGA work – what is their process?
The company arrange for a surveyor to look over the property and the damage before making a decision as to whether the damage the homeowner is experiencing is caused by the cavity wall insulation.
If their surveyor finds that this was not the cause, they will not allow you to claim and you will be stuck with a “useless” piece of paper.
But why are people angry with CIGA?
Based on reviews, homeowners are complaining because their claims have been turned down despite knowing for a fact that their insulation was the cause of the issue. Examples of this can be seen throughout Trustpilot, with homeowners stating that they hired a surveyor of their own who confirmed that the damage has in-fact been caused by the insulation.
It has also come to light in recent years that many UK homes are not suitable for cavity wall insulation. This is mostly seen in properties along the west coast of the UK, where buildings are exposed to wind-driven rain coming across the Atlantic Ocean. Wales has been seriously affected by this issue, with property owners across the whole country experiencing damp, mould and condensation.
Like many insurance companies, CIGA will do as much as they can to prove that the damage is not their responsibility to fix, and many homeowners have been let down due to this.
What are the problems that faulty cavity wall insulation can cause?
If your cavity wall insulation has failed, you will start to see serious signs of damage around your home. The biggest sign is damp and mould appearing on walls in rooms that are unlikely to be exposed to moist air. If you’re finding these issues in your kitchen or bathroom, it is likely you are not ventilating properly.
If the wall that is showing damp and mould is the other side of an outside wall (if you live in a terraced house the walls facing the front and the back of your home), it is highly likely that cavity wall insulation is the cause of this.
You’ll also start to notice a damp smell, peeling wallpaper and paint, cracking plaster, rotting wood, etc. These are all serious signs of damage which will not be rectified by a damp sponge and mould & mildew remover!
If left too long it can become extremely costly to fix, and the longer you leave it knowing there is an issue, the less likely you’ll receive compensation if you ever decide to make a claim.
Will removing the insulation fix the damp and mould issues?
To rectify the issue, it is most likely you’ll be told that the insulation needs to be removed. Dependant on the size of your home and the state of the insulation, it could become incredibly costly to pay a professional to remove it.
It also depends on the amount of damage – we have spoken to many homeowners who have paid to remove the insulation, but because of the extensive damage, they’re still experiencing damp and mould and they just don’t know what to do.
This is why we always recommend speaking to one of our advisors at Housing Triage before removing the insulation. Although not everyone will be eligible to claim, it is worth finding out if you are just in case. This is because once you remove the insulation, you will not be able to claim compensation. Without the insulation, we can’t prove that it is causing the issues in your home and our surveyor cannot collect evidence first-hand.
A 5 minute phone call will tell you whether you are eligible or not before you decide to fork out for insulation extraction.
What is the point in the CIGA guarantee after all this?
In conclusion, going through CIGA to claim for remedial work is not guaranteed, as shown on Trustpilot. If you’re looking to make a claim, and CIGA have turned you down, do not throw that piece of paper away! As it is proof of the installation date and the company who did it, this is the evidence you need to take your claim to court and receive compensation.
Contact us today or use the claim form to get the process started. Everything is obligation-free and we also work on a no win, no fee basis. This means that if your claim is rejected, you won’t be charged for our services at all.