5 ways to avoid problems with household claims

Top five ways to avoid home insurance claims

What could possibly be worse than having a house fire? The answer is – finding out your house fire is not covered by your home insurance. Whatever gives rise to your claim, chances are you'll be under some stress. The last thing you need is bad news from your insurer.

So how can you avoid having problems with a claim on your home insurance? Here are some top tips to help things go smoothly. 

1. Don't neglect home maintenance

Most standard home insurance policies don't provide cover for wear and tear. After the event it can be tricky to determine what caused a fault in things like piping and electrical equipment. 

Ensure you have all the recommended services and checks on your home and keep the paperwork. This will be a big help in making a claim and may also identify risks so you can take preventative action. 

2. Be serious about security

Keeping a front door key under the doormat is not a good idea. Your insurer may refuse to pay out if you don't protect your own home security. Many policies specify lockable windows and particular types of door locks, for example.

Think twice before leaving the door unlocked while you pop around the corner, giving keys to people you do not know well or announcing your holiday dates loudly to the postman. Make sure you know what is required by your policy and keep to that. 

3. Be honest and document what happened

Give your insurer as much information as you can, including relevant local weather records, witness statements, photographs and notes. It's easy to forget details over time. 
Don't be tempted to change your story, either, or say a claims handler promised something they did not. Many insurers record calls and can easily check previous conversations. Being honest and co-operative with your insurer is the best policy. 

4. Update your details

It's a good idea to let your insurer know about any major changes in your circumstances. For example, if your partner moves in with you, your current insurance policy will not necessarily cover their belongings too. 

If you set up a business from home without telling your insurer, this could invalidate your policy. Again, speak to your home insurance provider to check their terms. Even changing your job could impact on your cover, particularly if your new role involves staying away from home frequently. Always check to make sure. 

5. Be realistic about the value of your belongings

Make sure you estimate the value of your belongings carefully, or you could end up out of pocket. Base the estimate on how much it would cost to replace your possessions, including things like clothes, soft furnishings and electronic equipment. 

Don't forget to tell your insurer if you acquire any high-value items, for example, an engagement ring. These will add to the net value of your belongings or may even require separate insurance if they exceed the single item value limit stated in your policy.

Your home insurance provider is there to provide help and peace of mind at a stressful time. By following these simple tips, you can ensure any future claims are processed as smoothly and easily as possible. 

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