Insurance companies have said that they will not force its customers to instantly meet new smoke alarm regulations being introduced in February.
Insurance company AXA has made an attempt to clarify the ongoing situation surrounding new laws being introduced by the Scottish Government on February 1 which will require all homeowners to fit new interlinked fire alarms.
As of February 1, new law requires a system of fire alarms and heat alarms which can communicate with each other and activate simultaneously in the event of one being triggered – and be heard throughout the house.
The Scottish Labour party have made numerous calls for the new law to delayed again after it was first postponed in 2021, with Labour MSP Mark Griffin calling the SNP’s handling of the situation ‘shambolic’.
Reports have shown that the cost for installation will be at the very least £200.
Mr Griffin, who is the Scottish Labour housing spokesperson also expressed concerns for people’s insurance policies, as he feared people could not instantly afford to install the new alarms due to the cost, leading to the possibility of insurance policies being rendered ‘worthless’.
Mark Griffin said: “The SNP need to deal with this fiasco.
“We are now just two weeks away from these rules hitting homeowners, potentially making their home insurance worthless.
“It’s beggars belief that the SNP are still refusing to consider a delay, despite mounting chaos around the new rules.
“Most homeowners don’t even know these law exist, and those who do are being hit by supply shortages and hefty bills.
“The SNP cannot keep ignoring the mess they have made of this policy. They need to give an urgent statement to Parliament this week so we can get the answers homeowners need.”
However, insurance company, AXA, contacted the Herald to inform them of their current plans regarding the new law change.
Dougie Barnett, Customer Risk Management Director, said, “As an insurer, our core purpose is protection and with this in mind, we support the installation of interlinked alarms to help people evacuate their homes safety if required. This is an important change for everyone to make, including developers of new build properties.
“We encourage installation as soon as possible however AXA will not invalidate a home insurance claim for existing customers who haven’t yet complied with the new law in Scotland.”
When asked if there is a time limit for AXA customers to abide to install new alarms or if it would be a condition upon renewed policies, a spokesperson replied: “We would communicate with our customers in advance of any alteration”
A similar approach of not enforcing the new changes instantly but encouraging them has also been taken by Aviva insurance.
A spokesperson for Aviva said: “We do not have any specific requirements relating to fire alarm protection within our standard home policies and will not be making any changes as a result of the new legislation.
“In the unfortunate event of a fire in a property, the policy cover will operate as normal, subject to the terms and conditions of the policy.
“However, we would encourage all customers, regardless of where they live, to fit interlinked smoke and heat detectors in their home to help protect their family, possessions and property in the event of a fire.”
Although both companies are seeking to reassure their customers for now, they would also encourage customers to contact them if they are unsure of their policy.