December 30, 2016 in Insurance Advice - 2
Insurers want to catch you out- that’s how they make money. Here are a number of ways insurers try and catch you out:
Accidental damage: Most policies won’t cover accidental damage as standard. This covers damage resulting from leaving a tap on, or breaking furniture. You will normally be able to select it as an option at additional cost.
Locks, windows and burglar alarms: You’ll need to provide accurate descriptions of safety features of your home. Incorrect information could result in a claim being denied. Many insurers provide visual guides to help you determine lock type.
High risk items: In addition to the overall coverage level, you will be asked to specify a high risk amount to cover laptops, TVs and other items of value. For particularly high value items, such as watches and jewellery, you will have to specify details and value. Highly expensive individual items may push up your premium, and you could be better off insuring them separately with a specialist.
Personal possessions cover: Another option available on many policies now is to cover personal possessions such as your mobile or laptop outside of the house, for an extra cost. It’s worth comparing whether a dedicated personal policy that serves this function would be cheaper.
Sub-letting: Sub-letting your home will most probably not be covered by a regular policy, so you need to inform your insurer when taking out insurance or let them know if somebody moves in.
Using locks, windows and burglar alarms: Having them isn’t enough: if you fail to lock doors, or don’t turn on the burglar alarm you said that you had, then your insurer may not pay out. This is because their pricing is based on you making use of these devices. Your insurance policy will normally have a clause stating that it will only pay out for a burglary where force or violence has been used to gain access to your home – so if you leave the window open and get robbed, you’re out of luck.
Under-insuring: If you are on a sum insured policy where you set the level of insurance, don’t underestimate the value of your contents, as it could cut a claim amount. For instance, if you have £20,000 of cover, but the contents are worth £40,000, and you then make a £5,000 claim following a burglary, you could find the insurance company will only pay out £2,500 as only half the cover that there should have been was in place.
Exclusions: Any insurance policy will have a number of exclusions – make sure to read these carefully in case there is something in there you need coverage for. Damage caused by DIY and from ongoing pollution are two common exclusions.
Don’t wait to fix things that can get worse: If something needs fixing that could get significantly worse – a leaking pipe for instance – you should have it fixed immediately if your insurer cannot. Waiting could lead to your claim being dismissed later on, as the insurer can argue that you knowingly allowed the problem to get worse.
Empty home: Standard insurance policies don’t cover empty homes, which can pose difficulties if you are moving house before selling your old property. Specialised unoccupied home insurance can be made use of in such instances.
Assessment of rebuild value: If you are taking out buildings insurance, you will need to estimate the rebuild cost of your house. This is usually lower than market value as it doesn’t include the cost of the land. This should be on your mortgage valuation report, deeds to your home or on any previous surveyor’s report. You will then need to increase the figure to account for inflation, and factor in any improvements made. Hiring a chartered surveyor to produce a new estimate is another option, but it could cost hundreds of pounds. The insurers terms and conditions may specify exactly what method needs to be used.
Self-build homes: These can be complicated to insure, as you will likely need insurance to cover the construction site while the house is being built, including all construction equipment. Public liability insurance may also be required.
Specialist buildings: Other unusual buildings, such as those with flat roofs, timber frames, subsidence risk or otherwise will likely require specialist insurance.
Flood risk: Living in an area prone to flooding can become a major headache with regard to insurance, particularly if you are caught out by changing flood mapping. You can get in touch with insurers to find out if your home will qualify.
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