Checking that your home insurance ticks all the right boxes is crucial if you’re not to face a nasty surprise when making a claim.
Finding out that a policy doesn’t replace new-for-old after you’ve been flooded, for example, could cost you tens of thousands in unnecessary outlay.
Shopping around is the best way to keep cover costs down, but you need to make sure the policies you’re comparing meet your needs to avoid such a scenario.
What to ask
Making sure the quotes you get are for policies which include a list of ‘must haves’ should help you avoid problems. Here are some of the key questions to ask to help you work out what your ‘must haves’ are:
1.How much are your valuables worth?
Getting the value of the home’s contents right is important if you’re not to find yourself under-insured if you have to claim.
2. Can you afford to pay high excesses?
Some policies come with higher excesses than others. The excess on claims for subsidence or flooding, for example, could be £1,500 with one provider, but £3,000 with another.
3. Do you travel a lot for long periods?
Most policies only allow a home to be ‘unoccupied’ for a maximum of one month.
4. Would you need alternative accommodation if there were a problem with your home?
In the event of something happening to your home which rendered it uninhabitable, such as a major fire or flood, some policies will pay for accommodation elsewhere, others won’t.
5. Do you want ‘new-for-old’ cover?
It’s generally only cheaper policies which won’t replace existing possessions with new equivalents; so if price is paramount, beware.
6. Is accidental damage cover important to you?
Accidents such as a red wine spillages or DIY gone wrong are only covered if a policy includes ‘accidental damage’.
7. Have you checked if your home is on a flood plain?
Failing to tell your insurer your home is in an area at higher risk of flooding could invalidate cover.
7. What would it cost to rebuild your home?
The maximum level of cover you need for the property’s structure is what it would cost to rebuild it, not the market value.
8. Do you want your possessions insuring away from the home?
Claiming for incidents involving items such as laptops, bicycles and jewellery when you’re out and about, requires the addition of ‘away-from-home’ cover.
9. Should any items kept in outbuildings and gardens also be covered? Items stored in sheds, garages and other outbuildings aren’t covered by many policies, so you need to check.
10. Do you own anything particularly valuable or fragile that may exceed claim limits or policy rules?
Nearly all home insurance stipulates claim limits for valuable items, usually set around £1,500 to £2,000. You need to identify such items, and possibly pay more for increased cover if you want it. Additionally, extremely fragile items, such as antique glassware, need to be flagged up as they might be excluded in the policy Ts&Cs.
The customer service team at Policy Expert is always on hand to help – either online or over the phone. Whether you want assistance in finding the right policy or even handling a claim, we make sure it’s all handled by experts. For more information, you can call our experts on 0330 0600 600 or visit www.policyexpert.co.uk/contact for more ways to reach us.
Published 24 October 2017