Home Insurance: How to Make Sure Your Claim Is Successful

As mentioned in our previous post, home insurance claims are the least likely to be successful when compared to motor insurance claims and travel insurance claims. Statistics show that while 79% of all home insurance claims are successful, one in six are still rejected annually. In this post, we will offer you tips on how to ensure your home insurance claim is successful. Firstly, and we can’t reiterate this enough, you need to ensure that you have purchased the correct policy. It’s easy to go for the cheapest option, seeing that as the biggest saving to be made, however, this is far from the case when it comes to home insurance. It’s also easy enough to increase your home insurance’s excess at the point of purchase in order to reduce your premium, saving money that way too.

Yet, according to the Association of British Insurers, the most common reason for a home insurance claim to be rejected is that the claim value was less than the excess and the customer themselves were thus liable for the cost. They key point to remember is that your policy’s excess must be determined realistically and having taken good account of the possessions in your home. You may even need to keep close track of the value of your possessions, such as gold jewellery which may increase in value, and adjust your policy accordingly. Secondly, make sure you are aware of the ins and outs of your policy to avoid the risk of policy invalidation. For example, if you have new doors fitted, make sure your insurer doesn’t stipulate a certain type of lock as necessary for the validity of your policy. Another example usually found in the small print is the need to report a theft within a certain period of time. In short, act fast on reporting any theft or burglary to the police, otherwise your claim may be invalid.

Home Insurance: Making a Claim

Compared to 99% of motor insurance claims and 87% of travel insurance claims, home insurance claims are the least likely to be successful, coming in at a 79% success rate, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI). The ABI’s findings showed that most claims were rejected on account of the customer not being aware of their home insurance policy’s terms and conditions. Basically, customers either bought the wrong policy or did not possess the cover that they assumed they did, and this was discovered only when a claim was made. Following our previous posts, you should by now be well informed about the particulars of home insurance. You should know exactly what type of policy covers which eventualities and what scope you have for when you are forced to make a claim.

So, how do you claim on your home insurance? Most of the time, when we are burgled, the shock and horror of an intruder rummaging through our home and possessions has us in shock. Here, your first instinct to contact the police is correct. In the event of a burglary, contact the police and take further steps afterwards. The police will issue you with a crime reference number, which will be a vital piece of evidence for any claim you intend to make. The next step would be to review your policy documents and ascertain your policy number and your insurer’s dedicated claims helpline. The last thing you want is to be stuck in a telephonic queue. Once the ball is rolling with your insurance provider, you will be asked to provide proof of purchase and/or proof of ownership. If you can’t find receipts for purchases, then you can utilise cred/debit cards bills. Also, photos which show you in possession of these items, such as jewellery and watches, will suffice as evidence.

Home Insurance: Approved Alarms

There are no guarantees that the installation of a home alarm system will reduce the cost of your home insurance premium. Even in the case that it does, the cost of its installation and maintenance may not necessarily offset the saving you could make on your home insurance premium. However, the additional security provided by an approved alarm system and the peace of mind that it provides, definitely make the investment worth its while. According to the Metropolitan Police, a home with an alarm system fitted is five times less likely to be burgled than a home without an alarm system. In the long run, a home alarm system could still definitely save you money, by deterring burglars and allowing you to protect your no claims discount, having not made any claim against your policy on that count. In today’s modern age, a plethora of options exist in the home alarm system market, offering a range of extra services.

The two bodies in the United Kingdom that exist for the approval and ratification of alarm systems and alarm installations are the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) and the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB). The NSI offer contractors certification and auditing services across the security, fire and facilities management sectors. Contractors are checked according to the highest industry standards. NSI approval in the security sector covers electronic security systems installation, alarm receiving centres (ARCs) and monitoring services and security guarding services. You can rest assured with NSI’s thoroughly vetted approval. The SSAIB check organisations on various levels against criteria designed to assess their competency to offer the services they provide across various sectors. To put it simply, when purchasing any home security system, it is vital that you check that they carry NSI or SSAIB approval. This can be verified from the respective body’s website.

 

Home Insurance: Approved Door Locks, Window Locks and Alarms

Home insurance approved door locks, window locks and home alarms are another way to possibly reduce your home insurance premium. Some insurers may offer you a discount on your policy if you have approved door locks, window locks and alarms fitted. Other insurers may require them as a necessity, for your home insurance policy to be valid. In this post, we will explore the basics surrounding approved locks and alarms.

British Standards BS3621, BS8621 and BS10621 relate to door locks. BS3621 relates to mortice and cylinder rim locks in which a key is used on both sides. The lock is secure, as long as there is no key inside it, and cannot be unlocked by breaking a glass panel and reaching inside. BS8621 relates to locks that require a key for entry but not for exit, using a thumb turn mechanism instead of a key upon exit. These locks are suitable for applications where a quick and safe exit is required, without having to look for a key, like in the event of a fire or other emergency. BS10621 relates to locks that can only be locked from the outside. These locks can be opened from the inside without a key and are used where there are multiple points of exit. To check to see if your locks comply with British Standards, you need to look for either of these numbers and their associated kite marks.

When it comes to home insurance, it is absolutely vital to ensure you are aware of the compliance, or lack thereof, of your locks to the British Standards above. Your insurer will ask whether or not all your locks are compliant with British Standard. If, in the case of a claim it transpires that your locks did not comply, it will invalidate both your insurance policy and any claim you may make.

How to Ensure You Get the Best Quote for Your Home Insurance

Now that you know which type of home insurance suits your needs, and what sort of optional extras you might like to add to your policy, it’s time to look at where and how to get the cheapest possible quote for your premium, and what factors will affect the cost of your premium. In this piece, we will briefly take a look at how you can reduce the cost of your home insurance. When searching a new home insurance policy, or for a policy on a new home, your first port of call should be your mortgage provider. While it is not necessarily a certainty, mortgage providers may be able to offer better deals to existing customers. Of course, it’s wise to shop around before committing yourself. However, once you’ve followed the steps outlined in our previous posts on home insurance, there’s no harm in getting a quotation from your mortgage provider.

Another tip that applies to all manner of insurance, be it for your vehicle or home, is to increase your voluntary excess. More often than not, this will reduce the price of your insurance premium proportionately. When it comes to choosing providers for building and contents cover, this can pose a dilemma. Some home insurance providers offer discounts when building and contents cover are combined. In other circumstances, you may save money going with two different providers. Always choose to pay annually, as opposed to monthly, as the administrative charges added to monthly payments will increase the cost of your premium. Finally, try to avoid making small claims against your policy, which could short-change you out of your no-claims discount, and seek to maintain a good no-claims discount (NCD). A NCD could easily save 25% on the price of your premium.

 

Home Insurance: The Common Types of Optional Extras

Our previous post discussed the three general categories home insurance comes under. Not only is it important to make sure you get the right cover and the right type of cover, but it is equally important to be aware of the terms, conditions and inclusions to your home insurance policy. On one hand, you may be paying more than you need to by adding unnecessary optional extra to your home insurance policy, while, on the other hand, you may be assuming to be under the protection of cover which is not necessarily a part of your home insurance policy as standard. The types of cover which tend to come under the category of optional extras include accidental damage cover. Accidental damage cover protects you in the instance of damage or destruction to your property caused by yourself.

This would also include friends, or family. Personal possessions cover protects your valuable items outside your house, such as mobile phones, cameras or jewellery, while you are using or wearing them outside your house. The added option of home emergency cover protects you in the instance of a breakdown of a vital service, such as a boiler breakdown, an electrical breakdown, a plumbing problem or even the loss of keys and a pest infestation. Legal expenses cover can prove an invaluable addition to your home insurance policy as, in the event of a legal dispute, over poor workmanship with contractors working in your home or neighbours disputing a boundary fence, legal costs and court costs can easily spiral out of control. Insurers provide you with cover in these eventualities at a comparatively lesser extra cost, which could someday prove invaluable. And, remember, not all insurers cover the contents of your garden shed as part of the home insurance’s contents cover policy. Be sure to check the details of your policy.

Home Insurance: The Basics

Home insurance mostly comes in three packages: building cover, contents cover and building and contents cover. As the names suggest, building cover protects fixtures and fittings, whereas you require contents insurance to cover your belongings usually kept inside your house. While building and contents cover only really applies to those who hold the freehold to their home, i.e. those who are not renting their property, building cover is mostly designed for landlords, yet contents cover is worth everyone’s while and worthy of consideration by everyone. In general, most people tend to undervalue their belongings and estimate their worth to around £25,000. However, figures show that the true value of an average household’s combined belongings is actually upwards of £50,000.

As part of your home insurance, contents cover comes in two categories: new-for-old cover and indemnity cover. In the event of a successful claim, new-for-old cover insures you a new replacement for an old item, without taking wear and tear into account. If you make a claim for an old sofa, for whatever reason, you will be given a new sofa in its place. Indemnity cover insures you for the item, but factors in wear and tear and will not offer you a new item in place of an old one. Of course, this will be reflected in the price of your insurance, which will be more for new-for-old cover.

The most important aspect of contents cover, whichever type you choose to go with, is that you develop an accurate inventory of items that come under this category of cover, with a copy of proof of purchase and/or ownership in the case of making a claim. Items include but may not be limited to electrical items such as laptops, televisions and computers, furniture, jewellery, money and clothes. Basically, anything that you would take with you when moving house.

Stay tuned for more on home insurance.