Home insurance claims can be a minefield for homeowners to negotiate, particularly if under extreme stress following a flood, fire, water leak, or something else. One good idea is to get your insurance on the right footing, before an incident occurs, so our property claims management team has put together some ways to do that, as well as providing things to look out for.
1. Get your sums right
If you don’t correctly estimate the amount of insurance required to cover your possessions, you could be disappointed when you come to make a claim, even if your claim is under the limit of the cover that you bought. For instance, you could have bought £25,000 of home contents cover and then make a claim for £8000. The loss adjuster and insurer could say that your contents actually total £50,000 in value and could then penalise you for getting your cover limit wrong, only paying you £4000 for your loss, in line with the shortfall in your calculations. Unfair? It frequently happens!
2. Do the maths
The same situation described above can occur with your buildings’ insurance, if you get the rebuild value of your home wrong. The rebuild value is typically less than the market price of the home, as it does not include the land on which the house stands. However, it does have to factor in labour costs, professionals’ fees, the cost of building materials and inflation. Additionally, if you have fitted an extension, or carried out significant improvements, that needs to be reflected in your rebuild value.
3. DIY damage
Some policies will not cover you for any damage that occurs as a result of DIY work. Trying to pin damage on DIY work is something that often happens, but sometimes that is totally unjust. This is where having a loss assessor like Aspray in your corner can really be beneficial, especially as the service typically comes at no charge.
4. Lockdown your security
Many home insurance policies specify the type of locks that are required for your insurance cover to be valid and others will expect you to have a burglar alarm. Of course, there is no point having these, if you do not lock doors, shut windows and set the alarm. Any failure to do this is likely to lead to a claim being turned down.
5. Home businesses
Running businesses from home has become hugely popular, but have you checked your home insurance’s small print since you set up your home business? Some policies will not cover you under standard home insurance terms. Make sure you ask your insurer about this.
If you are sub-letting your home and haven’t informed your insurer of this, there could be trouble ahead, if you come to make a home insurance claim. Make sure you read your policy and talk to your insurer about this scenario.
7. Fix it Quick
If you suffer damage that a loss adjuster cannot get out to see immediately, make sure you do all you can to try to stop damage getting worse, before they call. If not, they could claim that you have been negligent and should have taken some form of action to prevent further loss.
8. Digital and data losses
If you’ve fully embraced the digital age, you probably have a stack of digital assets and important data on a variety of gadgets. But are your downloads and data covered by your home insurance policy? Check this out quickly, as you may find your policy is not embracing the digital world as much as you are.
9. Nobody home
If your property has been left vacant, any incident for which you need to claim may result in you having your claim turned down. Insurers see vacant properties as high risk, even if the period of non-occupancy is pretty short. This can sometimes catch out those who have moved home, but not yet sold their former property on.
10. Flooded out
If you suffer a flood and did not alert your insurer to the fact your home was in an at-risk flood area, you could lose out on the recompense you expected from your home insurance policy. This could be a devastating blow, so get your home insurance house in order now!
Please be aware that many of these scenarios are just the same for commercial premises and that your commercial property insurance policy may have the same loopholes.
If you need help with a property insurance claim, whether you are a homeowner or a business, you can bring Aspray on board at no charge, if its vetted contractors carry out the agreed repairs. This will give you professional representation in the property claim negotiations and someone who can project manage the whole process, from the first liaison to the final closing of the claim’s file, once repairs have been completed. Call 0800 077 6705 or click here, for more details.