During re-roofing works at my house, rainwater caused extensive damage to a bedroom ceiling, so I have still not made the final payment to the roofing company. They admitted liability and proposed a method of repair. When the plasterers arrived to carry out the work, they decided that the method proposed wasn't practical because of the state of the ceiling and that a framework would be needed - so a slightly more expensive repair.

After some prodding on my part I received an email from the roofing company asking me to 'acquire costs to repair your bedroom ceiling' and forward to them. I asked another builder to quote and forwarded the quote yesterday. Then I got a reply asking when they could expect 'the other two.' I responded that they hadn't asked for three quotes and got the reply 'Sorry, but I’m sure you understand this would be the correct procedure.'

I now presume that three quotes are wanted to present to their insurance company. I work full time so getting builders to attend is a major inconvenience for me, plus it will obviously cause yet more delay.

So my main question is: Am I obliged to obtain more quotes to satisfy the roofing company's insurers?

Supplementary question: My preferred course of action would be to ask the company that already quoted to do the work and deduct the cost from the final payment, but can I do that legally?

Timeline if relevant:

 15/16 Sept - email exchanges about the problem  
 18 Sept - roofing company inspect damage and propose repair  
 7 Oct - plasterers arrive and decide proposed repair not workable  
 13 Oct - roofing company ask for costs  
 22 Oct - quote forwarded then 2 more quotes requested  
  • Not a lawyer and I don't know UK law. I can't imagine you owe any real duty to somebody else's insurance company. You should tell the insurance company that fixing your roof is the responsibility of the roofing company and to work out getting quotes with them. I would immediately notify them that the company has already accepted liability and that you disclaim any responsibility, express or implied, for getting any quotes.
    – Patrick87
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 13:18
  • I would tell them you do not have time to do that, and that you don't feel it is your responsibility. I'm sure they will understand that you can't be at their whim.
    – Terry
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 16:57

1 Answer 1


I won't address the legal questions: You would need to consult a solicitor in your jurisdiction if you're concerned with that.

Practically matters of this magnitude rarely get litigated once liability has been accepted. It would be more common to confirm the terms of coverage with the roofer's insurance. As soon as an insurer says, "Yes, we will cover the cost of repair," the question is, "Will you repair it, or shall I arrange for repair?" The advantage in the latter case is that you get to select the craftsmen to do the repair. The advantage in the former is that you expend less effort, but you might not like the craftsmen the insurer picks.

Typically the insurer would require (and you would have the right to demand) that repairs be effected by licensed craftsmen in a "timely and workmanship-like manner." If the insurer wants to inspect and bring in multiple craftsmen to quote the job that's their prerogative (within reason), but it's not your obligation to do that for them. Once you have presented a proposal for mitigation they either have to approve it or make their own counterproposal, which is subject to your acceptance. If this process is pursued in good faith by both parties it generally goes smoothly – at least in the U.S. where insurers are regulated by the government – because the insurer's time is worth money, just like yours.

In fact, insurers will often pay a premium to established contractors they know can get repairs done in a timely and proper fashion because they don't want to deal with blowback: You are already an "aggrieved party" because of the actions of their insured, so if anything were ever litigated it would not go well for them.

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