A DISABLED woman's insurance company refused to pay out when she was burgled by a thief who stole cash.
Dorothy Hamnett thought she was fully covered by the Abbey's Peace Of Mind home contents insurance policy.
But she certainly did not get peace of mind after the sneak-in burglar crept into her ground floor flat at Edale Avenue in Newsome and stole £364.
The cash was in a bedroom drawer, ready to pay bills that day.
The thief also stole a watch and a bracelet, worth almost £100.
Abbey agreed to pay out for these items, but refused to pay the cash.
Now it seems that most insurance companies have the same clause that they will not pay out for cash stolen from homes - unless the thieves have forced their way in or used violence.
After being contacted by the Examiner, the Abbey has agreed to pay Miss Hamnett the cash as a gesture of goodwill, but stands by its policy.
Miss Hamnett is deaf in one ear and suffers from arthritis and asthma.
She is in danger of stopping breathing at night - a condition known as sleep apnoea - and sleeps with a mask linked to an alarm. If she stops breathing she gets an automatic blast of air to start her breathing again.
She was watching the Jeremy Kyle morning TV show when the sneak thief crept in between 9.30 and 10.30am on Wednesday April 18.
The front door was shut but unlocked and the thief went into the bedroom and searched through the drawers before stealing the cash, watch and bracelet.
Miss Hamnett discovered the theft only after the TV programme had finished.
She said: "I could not believe it when the insurance company would not pay out.
"I had a receipt to prove I'd withdrawn the money the day before from the Post Office and I was going to use it to pay all my bills such as the gas and electricity that day.
"It's just not right. They would pay out for the watch and bracelet, but that only amounted to £96 and by the time I'd paid my £50 excess I'd only receive £46.
"The insurance company said they would not pay out because there was no forced entry and I was not attacked.
"I want other people to be aware that their insurance policies may not be what they think they are."
An Abbey spokesman said: "Miss Hamnett's policy covers cash that is stolen from her home if violent means have been used to gain entry. However, as she had not locked her front door, the burglar was able to open the door and gain entry easily.
"In this specific instance Abbey has decided to send Miss Hamnett the full £364 as a goodwill gesture. However, this case highlights the importance of taking measures to ensure that your home is as secure as possible."
Malcolm Tarling, spokesman for the Association of British Insurers, said most insurance companies do not pay out if money has been stolen during sneak-in burglaries.
He said: "Most have an exclusion policy which means they do not pay out unless there has been forced or violent entry. This clause is to guard against the potential for fraud."
He said that if large claims came in then the cost of everyone's insurance policy would have to rise.
But he did accept that insurance companies also placed a restriction on the amount of cash people can claim for - normally around £250 - along with an upper limit on certain valuables such as jewellery.
Det Con Russ Conlon, of Kirklees CID intelligence unit, said there had been a spate of sneak-in and forced entry burglaries in the Newsome area - particularly Edale Avenue - in recent weeks.
He appealed for anyone with information to contact police on 0845 6060606.