Confused about your home insurance policy? Not sure what might be covered and what isn’t? Perhaps you’re looking to take out a policy but don’t have a clue what the rebuild value of your home is?
There is lots of confusion around home and contents insurance. We hope to debunk some of the most common myths when it comes to your policy.
Myth 1: My buildings insurance will fix my leaking pipe.
This isn’t actually true. Your buildings insurance is there to fix damage caused by the leak, not the leak itself. If you discover a leak in your home, it is important to reduce the risk of further damage as quickly as possible. This could be done by switching off the water supply or calling an emergency plumber.
Once the source of the leak has been fixed, if the cause of the leak is covered on your policy, your insurer will agree a settlement for reinstatement.
Myth 2: I should cover the cost of my house for the price I bought it.
This is a common misconception when arranging a buildings insurance policy. When asked what is the rebuild value of your home, many customers input the price they paid for their property. However, this is the market value and is not reflective of the rebuild value.
The rebuild value of your property is the cost that would be incurred if your property had to be fully rebuilt due to severe damage. This cost includes the price of materials and labour needed to complete the rebuild.
If your property is made from standard material, you can use the online BCIS rebuild calculator, which will provide you with general guidance on the rebuild cost of your property, based on information you provide.
If your property is made of specialist material, is an unusual structure, or has specialist features you may wish to contact a chartered surveyor. A chartered surveyor will carry out a professional assessment of your property in order to provide a rebuild cost. You can find a chartered surveyor by visiting the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors website.
Myth 3: My contents cover will cover all the items in my home.
When calculating the cost of your contents, it is important to remember that this includes all items in your home from electricals and clothing to curtains and carpets.
However, most policies have an individual item limit and any contents above this threshold will not be covered unless declared separately. For example, if you have an expensive piece of jewellery or artwork worth thousands, you will need to make your insurer aware of these items and their value individually.
Myth 4: My home insurance will cover damage caused by my pets.
If your cat plucks your sofa or your dog scratches your doors or chews your furniture, you expect your insurance to cover the damage, right? Wrong. Most standard insurance polices do not cover damage caused by pets.
In fact, many standard policies do not cover damage caused by various animals such as rodents or vermin. A list of these can usually be found within your policy wording.
Myth 5: Damp will be covered by my building’s insurance.
One important aspect of buildings insurance to remember is that it does not cover the maintenance of a property or any wear and tear. It is up to the owner to ensure that their property is well maintained and looked after. Therefore, if your property has become damp due to a lack of adequate maintenance the damage will not be covered by your insurance policy.
Myth 6: I live in a flood area so I won’t be able to get insurance for my property.
Although it has not always been the case, you should now be able to obtain affordable home insurance, which covers flooding, even if you live in a high-flood risk area. This is due to a government backed scheme called Flood Re. Insurers pay an industry levy into the scheme and can ‘cede’ a customer to Flood Re for flood cover should they deem the risk of flooding exceptionally high.
More details on the scheme can be found on the Flood Re website.
Myth 7: Home insurance is a legal requirement.
Unlike car insurance, it is not a legal requirement to have home insurance. However, if you are taking out a mortgage on your property, the mortgage provider may insist that have an active insurance policy covering the property as a condition of the mortgage agreement.
Myth 8: My landlord’s insurance will cover my possessions.
If you are renting a property, your landlord is responsible for the building. However, this will not cover your contents should any damage occur. You will need to take out your own contents policy to ensure your items are covered. Its is important to read the tenancy or lease agreement fully to confirm your responsibilities, and your landlords.
Myth 9: I won’t have to pay anything if my claim is accepted.
Even if your claim is accepted by the insurer, you will still need to pay any excess that is stated within your insurance policy. An excess is the amount of the claim that you agree to pay yourself should you make a claim on your policy.
There are often different amounts of excess depending on the type of damage and these amounts will be outlined within your policy schedule. For example, the excess for a subsidence claim is often much higher than a claim for an escape of water.
If you are VAT registered, you will also be liable to pay the applicable VAT in relation to the agreed settlement.
Myth 10: I have to deal with my insurance claim myself.
Not true. As a policyholder, you are entitled to appoint a representative, such as Aspray, to manage your property claim on your behalf.
Instructing Aspray means having a dedicated Loss Assessor as your point of contact throughout the claim. They will handle the negotiation directly with the insurer, agreeing a fair settlement and using vetted contractor will manage the reinstatement works, getting your property back to its pre-loss condition as quickly as possible.