The right insurance policy saves Shropshire music publisher thousands of pounds

A Shropshire-based music publisher’s home was contaminated with kerosene when thieves stole two oil tanks just days after his wife gave birth to their first baby.

Anthony Walters, 35, who recently moved to Kinton, near Nesscliffe, from London, discovered oil was leaking into the ground around his house and into his cellar, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

But if it wasn’t for his insurance policy, which covered household contamination, Mr Walters would have had to pay out himself.

He used Shrewsbury-based insurance brokers Beaumont Lawrence, who had made sure his house was covered for disasters such as contamination, something which is often excluded from basic house-old policies.

As part of major renovation work, Mr Walters, who owns music publishing company Cinephonix, had fitted a new oil tank to the property for the central heating.

Two oil tanks were left in the garden to be removed at a later date but were stolen by metal thieves.

“In the process, they had managed to spill the residual oil from the old tanks and it seeped into the ground and into the cellar,” Mr Walters said.

“The whole house smelt of oil and my wife Gráinne and I were really worried about our baby, Atticus, breathing in the fumes.”

But after contacting Beaumont Lawrence, Mr Walters said everything happened very quickly to get the mess cleaned up.

He said: “They came immediately because of concerns about Atticus and they checked the fumes were under permissible limits and sealed off the cellar.

“As the stolen oil tanks were just in the garden and not part of the central heating system of the house anymore, many insurance policies wouldn’t have covered us under general buildings cover and we would have been left with a huge bill.

“But Ben at Beaumont Lawrence had recommended we went for good insurance cover rather than just the cheapest option you might find online.

“It meant we were covered when we did have an accident and it was not difficult to make a claim and everything was sorted really quickly.”

To clear up the mess, 20 tonnes of soil had to removed from the garden and the cellar had to be dug out and put back again.

“The insurance company just took care of it all,” Mr Walters said.

Mr Walters said when it came to renewing the policy through Beaumont Lawrence, he was pleased to see the cost of his policy did not increase, even though he had made a claim.

He said: “It just went up in line with inflation. In theory, I cannot make that claim again because those oil drums are not there anymore. It’s what insurance is there for in the first place.”

Beaumont Lawrence Managing director Ben Lawrence said many people think contamination is an unnecessary option on a policy.

He said: “The household policy we offer provides cover for contamination because it’s a necessity.

“But this is not covered under most household policies and is often listed as an exclusion. But with a decent quality policy, it is included and it’s so important that it is.

“Without that option, Mr Walters would have been left with a huge bill. As it was, the insurers were very keen to sort the house out, especially because of its tiny new resident.

“It didn’t cause Mr Walters any difficulties and it was cleared up in no time.”



Pete White Pete White

Love Shrewsbury editor and chief developer at The Web Orchard, find out more on

Read More from Pete White