Understanding Home Insurance
Having the right insurance is vital – it can protect your home, your income and your belongings. However, once you’ve gone to the effort of obtaining the right policy for you it’s important to make sure you don’t do anything to invalidate your policy.
That’s why you need to talk to an independent advisor who knows the policies inside and out – and who can give you advice on the exclusions so that you know your policy pays out when it should, and that you’re aware of what can cause any issues should you need to make a claim.
Here’s an example of what can invalidate a house insurance claim:
If you tick the wrong box when you declare the type of lock you have in your home, and it’s wrong, your policy may be voided as this can have an effect on the premium you pay. The stronger your lock, the more secure your home is deemed to be. In addition, if you have window locks but don’t use them, your insurer can reject a claim if your home is broken into.
If you state that you have a house alarm fitted at your property and it either doesn’t work properly or isn’t used and your home is broken into, your claim could be denied.
Securing your home
If your home is broken into and there is no sign of forced entry then your insurer may not pay out, even if there is evidence that you have been burgled. In the small print of your policy there should be some guidance in ‘forced or violent entry’ which can indicate your cover. The same goes for your car should that get broken into too.
If you go on extended holidays – usually classed as such if it’s longer than 60 days – then your home is seen as unoccupied and your policy may be invalid, and a claim could be rejected. This goes for both break-ins and any damage due to flood or fire. Some insurers will even stipulate that it cannot be vacant for more than 30 days so check your policy before you take a long trip.
Advertising that your property is vacant
In today’s world of social media, we often post our holiday photographs whilst we are away. However, if you do this and your home is targeted by burglars whilst you’re away, it could invalidate your cover. Many thieves will scour social media to see who’s away and when and use this to gain entry into your home. This could be deemed as reckless by your insurer. If you do want to post holiday snaps wait until you are home stating that you ‘had’ a great holiday or make all of your posts private with a limited audience to close friends and family.
Specify your valuables
If you have expensive personal belongings and valuables in your home such as jewellery, watches or expensive electronics, it could exceed your insurer’s ‘single item limit’ and you will need to list them separately. Many insurers impose a £2,000 to £3,000 limit. If you fail to specify items worth more than this amount, you may not be covered for these items.
Install high quality working locks.
Make sure your house alarm works and is used.
Ensure your home is locked when you leave.
Specify valuable items.
Don’t leave your home for extended periods of time without telling your insurer and consider using a house sitter.
Don’t advertise the fact that you are away.
Read your policy carefully and be aware of any exclusions.