Home insurance is designed to protect your home against damage caused to the building or its contents. You can get two types of home insurance cover, buildings or contents insurance. Buildings home insurance covers your home against structural damage to the property itself and contents insurance protects the items inside your home. In this article, we look at what home insurance covers, what you can claim for on a home insurance policy and when to claim on your home insurance.
What does home insurance cover?
Home insurance policies vary depending on the insurer but typically, most standard home insurance policies cover the following:
Damage to your property caused by smoke and fire
Damage to your property caused by burglary or vandalism
Damage to your property caused by frozen or burst pipes
Damage to your property caused by storms
Damage to your property caused by an explosion
Damage to your property caused by flooding
Damage to your property caused by leaks
Damage to your property caused by subsidence
Damage to your property caused by collisions (from vehicles etc)
Theft of your possessions
How to make a claim on home insurance
If you need to make a claim on your home insurance policy in an emergency your insurer is likely to have a 24-hour emergency call line for you to contact. If the insurer is able to cover the emergency you are hoping to claim for they may send out a specialist tradesperson that can complete the emergency work. If the claim is not urgent, you may be able to get the work completed at a later date but this may need to be approved by your insurer first.
Consider the following if you need to make a claim on your home insurance policy:
- Call the police if your home has been burgled
- Ring your insurer as soon as possible to notify them of your insurance claim or you may be able to submit a claim online if it is not urgent
- Prepare any evidence for the claim such as receipts, photographs and videos
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Tips for claiming on your home insurance policy
Before making a claim on your home insurance policy you should consider the following:
- Is the claim due to damage or wear and tear? - Most insurers will not pay out claims that are a result of wear and tear as property maintenance is considered to be a normal expense if you own a home.
- Have you got receipts and proof of purchase? - Most insurers will ask for proof of items that are lost, damaged or stolen in a claim so ensure you have copies of receipts or relevant documentation before making a claim.
- Have you contacted the police in the event of a burglary or theft? - If your home has been burgled you will need to contact the police immediately to log the crime and get a crime reference number that you can then provide to your insurer.
- Have you taken photos or videos of the damage? - Insurers may wish to see photographic evidence of damage caused to your home and having photos or videos may help to support your claim.
- Don't throw away damaged items - Your home insurer may wish to assess damage to items that you are claiming for. If the item is too damaged to keep, you may need to take a picture or video of the item before throwing it away.
- Do you need to get the insurer to approve the work? - If the work is not urgent it is likely that the insurer will want to approve the work before it is carried out so be sure to contact your insurer before going ahead.
Is it worth making a home insurance claim?
There are some instances where you may not need to claim on your home insurance policy and it could be cheaper to pay for the repairs or to replace the item yourself. When it comes to making a claim on your insurance policy you should consider the amount of excess you will need to pay. When taking out a home insurance policy, a high excess can help to reduce your premium but it can be expensive if you need to make a claim. It is important to understand exactly what your home insurance policy excess is as this is the amount that you will have to pay towards a claim. It is only really worth claiming on your home insurance if the claim value exceeds your excess amount. If you are considering making a claim on your home insurance policy for an item that costs only a small amount more than your policy excess then you may wish to pay for this yourself as a claim is likely to increase your premiums when it comes to renewal and you may be worse off overall.
How long does it take to make a home insurance claim?
How long a claim takes varies depending on what you are claiming for and your insurer. If your claim is straightforward and you have provided all of the relevant documentation then your claim could be paid in as little as 2-3 days. More complex claims will take longer, as will claims that involve a third party. Typically, insurers will try to turn around claims quickly and you can normally claim on your home insurance policy as soon as the policy starts.
Will my home insurance go up if I make a claim?
Making a claim on your home insurance policy could mean that you see an increase in your renewal premium price but this may vary depending on what you claimed for and how many times you have made a claim. Home insurance provider LV= says that its renewal prices are often affected by the number of home insurance claims it receives as a whole.
According to the LV= website "The price of your home insurance is more likely to be affected by the number of claims we receive as a whole. We settle thousands of home insurance claims every month. If the number goes up, due to things like increased accidental damage claims or extreme weather events - this could mean the costs to insure your home could go up, which will be reflected in a higher price. Your home insurance premium is calculated on an individual basis. We tell you your price premium in your renewal quote, which is sent around three weeks before your renewal date."
If you have previously claimed on a home insurance policy it is likely that you'll need to declare this when taking out a policy with a new provider and it is possible that it could impact your insurance premium quote. Not declaring any previous claims can invalidate your policy so make sure you are honest when getting a quote.
How to buy home insurance
If your home insurance policy is up for renewal you may wish to compare quotes from other providers to ensure you're getting the best deal on your policy. We have partnered with Quotezone* so that you can search and compare quotes from over 40 UK home insurance providers.
Using a comparison site allows you to compare multiple providers at once but not all comparison sites are whole of market so you may get a better deal elsewhere. Additionally, not all insurers - such as Direct Line - are featured on comparison sites so you may wish to get a quote with these providers directly.
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