Making a claim on your home insurance can feel like climbing a mountain. It is sometimes hard to know where to begin, and there can be setbacks along the way. The ABI (Association of British Insurers) estimate that the average UK home now contains £35,000 worth of “stuff”.
So there’s real peace of mind in knowing that you can make a claim, should the worst happen. We’ve taken some of the hassle out of it with this simple claims checklist. So you can be off to the best start if something goes wrong.
What might I need to claim for?
Most home insurance policies will cover you for the following damage types:
Policies will vary though, so reading through the details is always advised. Ideally do this before you sign! Most insurers will outline the cover benefits and exclusions on their website, so you can compare different policies.
What can’t I claim for?
One in five home insurance claims is rejected, according to the ABI’s findings. They most often fall at the following hurdles:
It’s worth double-checking that the terms apply to the way you use your home. Some insurers won’t cover you if your home is unoccupied for a length of time, for example. And you might well need to take out specialised landlords insurance if you lease your home for rental.
Accidental damage; loss, theft or damage to contents away from the home; legal protection and home emergency assistance aren’t generally covered under standard policies. But they’re worth considering.
These extras mean that you could raise a claim if you accidentally smash a window or drop your phone.
They could help you recoup legal advice fees, or the cost of calling out an emergency tradesman if your kitchen’s flooding. After all, there’s nothing more disappointing than thinking you’re covered for something, then finding out you aren’t when you need to claim!
So, how do I claim on my home insurance?
First things first: dig out your insurance documents and keep them handy. Note down your policy number and check your policy time limits. Insurers often impose limits on when you can report an incident and submit a claim, so check the deadline and try to get the ball rolling without delay.
Here’s the general process, step-by-step:
In cases of theft or vandalism, always contact the police first. They’ll visit you to take forensics, and provide you with a crime reference number which you’ll need before contacting your insurer.
Contact your dedicated insurance claims line, provide your policy number, and explain what’s happened. You’ll need to give them that crime reference number at this point if you’ve suffered from theft or vandalism.
You’ll be asked to fill out a claims form. These are often available for download from your insurer’s website. Send this off, along with any supporting evidence (see ‘what counts as evidence?’ for more on this) and your insurer will take it from there.
If it’s a larger claim, you may be visited by a loss adjuster. Don’t worry! This sounds a bit threatening but it’s standard practice for larger sums. The loss adjuster will ask you a few questions, to verify the facts of your claim, then they’ll submit their report to your insurer - often along with a suggested settlement amount. As long as you’ve been honest, you’ve nothing to feel nervous about. You can, for a fee, hire a loss adjuster to represent you.
Don’t forget, you’ll need to pay the compulsory excess, plus any voluntary excess you’ve opted for. Seems a little painful, even counter-intuitive, but the point of the excess is to keep your premiums down, so it’s often worth choosing a higher excess.
If you’re dealing with damage to your property
Sometimes a bad situation is made worse, by shoddy follow-up workmanship. If your home has suffered extensive damage it’s a good idea to ask your insurer for advice, before going ahead with repair works. It’s also a good idea to take photos of any badly damaged property or furniture before you get rid of it.
What counts as evidence?
For more information on the ins and outs of home insurance, visit https://www.abi.org.uk/globalassets/sitecore/files/documents/publications/public/2016/home-insurance/home-insurance-what-you-need-to-know.pdf
And, of course, we’re happy to give you a quick and easy quote, at https://www.britishgas.co.uk/home-services/home-insurance.html