I am currently staying in a hotel in the UK, for business purposes (I have been invited to a university for research,and they booked the room for me).

During my stay, I have caused by mistake the bathtub to overflow, which resulted in some damage; namely, the hotel had to relocate me to another room, remove the carpet and let it dry, which caused them to have to pay maintenance and be unable to rent the original room for 5 days. This is what they told me, and sent me an invoice, asking for me to pay as soon as possible.

Now, as I understand it (from my experience in France and what I have been told when asking people from the US and France), either my, the university's, or the hotel's insurance should cover this. I have been told by my insurance not to pay myself for the damage, but let the hotel (or its insurance company) deal with them directly.

However, the hotel manager insists that I pay myself before leaving, and then handle that with my insurance (without the hotel interacting with my insurance at all). He then stated that this was how things were done in the UK, and that they had nothing to do wth my insurance company or the university's.

I am obviously quite worried about this, as it sounds like there is a non-zero chance doing so will end by me paying for the damage, and never managing to get reimbursement by either insurance company for lack of documentation of the incident.

Is it really how things are supposed to be done in the UK? If not, what should I do?

  • But the question is that my insurance would typically ask for some documentation -- the hotel claims that the room not being rented for 5 days cost them some specific amount. The insurance would ask to prove that the hotel was full, and that the room was not rented for 5 days. If I pay and leave, then the insurance would turn to me to justify these costs. And I won't be able to.
    – Clement C.
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 18:41
  • @ClementC. I think this would be a great question to post on law.SE as well
    – Sean
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 19:33
  • 4
    Why does the hotel not have an overflow drain on the bathtub to prevent such damage? Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 20:36
  • @Zach Lipton when that happened, I did not feel like I was in a position to ask that... but in hindsight, indeed, that's peculiar.
    – Clement C.
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 20:43
  • @Sean I wasn't really sure where to ask. Is double posting allowed?
    – Clement C.
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 23:29

1 Answer 1


The issue here is that the insurance company is going to make sure they don't get over charged for repair work, or charged for work that never happened. That sort of thing unfortunately happens when people hear insurance companies are going to pay for something. This means that the insurance company is going to want to see several estimates for the damage repair (and compare them with their own figures), and receipts that show that the work was in fact done.

However if you pay the hotel up front, they have no way to make the hotel give them the documentation they require, and thus ensure they are not overcharged. If you just pay up front, they may decline o repay you, or they may pay you the amount they would estimate to have the damage fixed, which may be less than you paid the hotel.

Unless the amount the hotel wants you to pay is clearly small enough that you would pay it just to make the problem go away, you should also be asking for repair estimates and receipts before you pay anything. That means not paying before you leave.

I would hold the line on this. Give the hotel your contact info, and assure them that you will pay for the repairs. Tell them you will need repair estimates and receipts before you pay, and that you want to do this through your insurance. The hotel has no right to demand that you settle for damage immediately, and no way to force you to do so, unless they can produce the documentation immediately (which would be very suspicious).


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