Home insurance is there if you need to make a claim, but do we really know what is and isn't covered? Let's take a look...
- A lot of us are unclear about what our home insurance actually covers
- Did you know, common wear and tear or DIY mishaps aren’t always covered?
- All claims will be checked to make sure they meet the insurer’s criteria
Home insurance, house insurance, buildings and contents cover... whatever you call it, it's reassuring to know you have a policy in place for if anything goes wrong. The thing is though, it might have been a while since you set up your policy (and let's be honest, you may have only skimmed over those policy docs!), so you could be a bit unsure about what home insurance actually covers.
With one-in-five home claims rejected, compared to only 1% of motor insurance claims, it's clear that home insurance is less understood than car insurance. So, let’s make sure you have all the information you need, just in case you ever need to claim...
What is home insurance?
Home insurance (also known as house insurance, home cover or buildings and contents insurance) is a policy designed to financially protect your home and belongings if the worst should happen. Having home insurance can offer much-needed peace of mind if your house was ever damaged by things like flooding or fire. With the right policy, your insurance provider will pay out in your time of need, so you could afford to replace your belongings and repair or rebuild your home.
There are two types of home insurance:
- Buildings insurance: This covers the structure of your home and its fitted fixtures. These are items that could not be easily removed and taken to another home, like a fitted kitchen.
- Contents insurance: This covers things like furniture, freestanding appliances, laptops, clothes... basically, the things that would fall out if you tipped your home upside down!
If you own your home, you'll want to make sure you have a policy that includes both building and contents insurance. That way, you've got the peace of mind that your sanctuary and your stuff are protected.
What kind of claims are commonly rejected?
You'll save yourself a lot of time if you know what kind of home insurance claims are most commonly rejected and why. So, let's take a look...
1. Wear and Tear
This is the main reason for rejected claims and the most misunderstood part of home insurance. Your average home insurance policy is there to financially protect you from sudden, unexpected damage to your home, such as floods, fires or theft.
Home insurance does not cover wear and tear. This is the gradual damage that occurs on or in a property over time and it’s why so many calls to insurance companies asking 'does home insurance cover leaks?' end in disappointment.
If a roof leak is due to deterioration of the roof over time, it’s classed as wear and tear and you won’t be able to claim. But if your property is damaged by a one-off event such as a storm, you might be able to make a claim for your roof, although almost half of these claims are rejected too, because the storm has simply brought to light a pre-existing issue of wear and tear on the roof.
Another common reason for wear and tear claims is electrical appliances... usually when they're coming to the end of their lifespan. TVs, ovens and microwaves are cheaper than ever but unfortunately, they’re no longer built to last. Wow, we sound really old school, don't we? But it's true. So, it can be very frustrating (and tempting to try and claim) when they break down for what seems like no apparent reason, but unless it was a one-off accident that caused the damage (like an appliance being stolen or deliberately damaged in a theft), it’s likely the claim will be turned down.
3. Insufficient cover
Our home insurance offers a good level of accidental damage cover as standard which will insure specific parts of your home and contents - things like your laptop, windows and bathroom suite. But if you want to make sure every part of your home is insured, you can take out full accidental damage cover as an optional extra.
Adding full accidental damage cover to your home insurance helps with:
- DIY incidents... like putting your foot through your loft floor - it happens!
- Damage caused by children... from knocking over valuable objects to spilling drinks.
- Spillages or stains... including damage to your carpets, furniture and curtains.
- Damage caused by pets... such as an accident on your cream carpets - need we say more?!
You can also add personal belongings cover away from home as an optional extra (unless you have our Home Plus product, in which case it's included as standard with £2,500 of cover... or more if you need it!)
Personal belongings cover away from home helps with:
- Loss or damage to personal belongings at home and anywhere worldwide. So, if you lose your favourite sunglasses on your honeymoon, we've got you covered.
- Belongings include things like jewellery, cameras, mobile phones, tablets, bicycles and golf clubs. What would we do without those?!
4. Claim value vs excess amount
When it comes to insurance claims, excess can sometimes cause confusion. The excess is the amount your policy states you have to pay towards any claim you make before your insurer covers the rest of the cost (you would have chosen this amount when you set up your policy). For example, if your policy has a £250 excess but the value of your claim is £200, your insurer won’t be able to help you.
How are claims evaluated?
A common misconception is that insurance companies are determined to dismiss claims wherever possible. This just isn't true. Our claims staff receive continuous training on damage and the signs to look out for, to make sure you get what you need from us.
A wide support network of building specialist teams, technical teams and suppliers are on hand to help claims staff with queries. Our claims staff also have access to technical reference documents containing photos of typical damage examples and common causes.
When the initial report, known as the 'First Notice of Loss' (FNOL), is made to the insurer, a comprehensive description is taken down. This is where a customer can explain the damage, how they noticed it, what they believe caused it and most importantly, how it has impacted them.
We know it's not always that easy though. For example, a leaky roof isn’t necessarily easy for a claimant to access and they may not be aware of the reason it’s happening, or the extent of the problem.
If the cause of a claim is difficult to determine we'll work with you to decide the best way to investigate further. We use qualified specialist suppliers who will complete an inspection and come to a decision. Sometimes, the claimant will have their own completed supplier report too. If so, this will also be considered as part of the validation.
Understanding your home insurance
The best way to make sure you don’t get any nasty shocks is to make sure you've made sense of your home insurance policy. It's worth giving your policy documents a read, just so you know what to expect if you do ever need to make a claim. If you're still unsure, we'll be able to talk you through your policy and help you understand what circumstances would or wouldn’t be covered.
You may also want to think about adding optional extras to your policy, such as cover for losing your phone or cover for damage to your furniture thanks to your pet.
Whether you’re looking for peace of mind with standard home insurance or want a policy with all the extras, you can get a home insurance quote online with us in minutes.
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