Hot under the collar – faulty tumble dryers and your home insurance

Who’d have thought that a little bit of fluff could cause so much trouble. But fluff is exactly what’s behind the warning issued by Whirlpool, who released a statement in February 2017 telling customers not to use faulty tumble dryers. It comes more than a year after the manufacturer said dodgy dryers were ok to use so long as you didn’t leave them unattended whilst in use.

The original problem was highlighted after it became clear that excess fluff could catch fire after coming into contact with the dryer’s heating element. The advice 15 months ago at the end of 2015, was that defective dryers (you can check yours at safety.hotpoint.eu and safety.indesit.eu) could still be used – on the condition that you didn’t leave it unattended whilst it was in use. It was hardly the most practical advice – after all, isn’t a tumble dryer meant to be a labour-saving device rather than an inconvenience?

So, in case you hadn’t been paying attention, the advice is, do not use your defective dryer, unplug it and wait for your free modification from Whirlpool. Alternatively, customers can have their machines upgraded (for a fee, naturally – no such thing as a free lunch – or tumble dryer in this case).

But how does having a volatile tumble dryer (or any other faulty machinery) affect your home insurance policy? Well, it depends on a couple of things – whether you’ve listened to any of the manufacturer’s advice and under what circumstances you find yourself in if you need to make a claim.

As a general rule, if your tumble dryer is still under warranty and has a mechanical or electrical fault, it should be sorted out by the manufacturer – like if it broke down because the bits that make it work, stopped working. Home insurance policies on the other hand, typically cover you for ‘unforeseen events’ so if your tumble dryer caught fire and burnt the house down, then in theory, this is something you could claim for.

But (isn’t there always a but?) this is where it starts to get a little confusing, so it’s time to concentrate. If the manufacturer has issued safety advice or a recall and you chose to ignore it and the tumble dryer then went on to burn the house down, then you could be considered ‘negligent’ which in turn could invalidate your claim. You might also find yourself without cover for any damage caused by your tumble dryer fire if you continued to use your machine despite being told not to use it, whilst waiting for it to be repaired.

Bottom line is – if you’ve been advised not to use faulty equipment – don’t use it. But if you’re confused by advice and how it might affect your cover, then it’s always best to speak to your insurance provider. Home insurance is a generic label and policies will differ according to your provider’s terms and conditions, and your own unique circumstances, so, if in doubt – ask for help.

And whilst you’re here, you might as well double check that the policy you’ve got, is fit for purpose and right for you. Whether you’re after buildings or contents cover, or optional extras such as accidental damage, we can help guide you on the things you should look out for. So, keep your home and the stuff you love protected with comparethemarket.com

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