Home insurance is incredibly important for residents across the country. It ensures that your belongings are protected in the event of being stolen or damaged and that the building itself is protected too. A home insurance policy certifies that the policyholder will be compensated in certain circumstances in the unfortunate event that their home or its contents need repairing or replacing.
As with any insurance cover there are conditions that must be met to ensure the policyholder is indemnified if a claim is made. If they fail to meet these conditions, the policy could be made invalid and the insurers are within their rights to withhold any payment or cancel the policy.
So how can you make sure that your all-important home insurance policy remains valid? In this article, we will explore what exactly could invalidate your home insurance.
Renovating your house
Naturally, there will be changes to your home over time. This can come in many forms, from a lick of paint, to a bit of DIY, or adding a large extension. If the job is beyond your DIY skills it is better to get a professional to carry out the work, for example, if you spring a leak whilst doing a bit of DIY plumbing, then your insurer may not pay out.
Keeping your insurer informed about any changes that are likely to increase the risk of damage to your property is extremely important for home insurance policies. Having builders working on your home for example, means that there is an increased likelihood that windows and doors will be left open or unlocked and are therefore you are at an increased risk of theft. Your insurer should most definitely, in this case, be contacted. Generally, the rule to remember is that any conversion or renovation should be communicated, whereas typical decoration or maintenance may not have to be.
Going on holiday
Your home insurance policy is offered in the knowledge that you or those you live with will be in the house for a vast majority of the time. However, many policies have a limit on a certain length of time from which you are away from your home before your insurance policy becomes invalid. This is typically 30 days. This is due to the fact that if your home is unoccupied, it is at greater risk of being burgled. If for example you are going away to work for a few months, you should consider taking out a specific short-term policy which is tailored towards homes that are unoccupied.
The rise in the use of social media, means that we are advertising online the fact that we will be away from home for a set amount of time. As a result, insurers are more aware of the use of social media especially if you make a claim and they become aware of the fact that you have posted details of your holiday arrangements for all to see.
Keeping your home safe is a fundamental step to protecting your belongings. The spare key is a big part of this, as many homeowners have a safe place to keep their spare key, in the event that they lose their own. Many underestimate the craft of burglars, who are accustomed to finding these hiding places and can then let themselves into your home without a fuss. Telling your insurer that the burglar let themselves in is a grey area. As a general rule to keep your keys safe, place them upstairs, as thieves are all too used to picking up the keys from the kitchen counter and driving off without you even waking.
Protecting your home also includes considering the types of locks on your doors and windows. This information will have to be provided to your insurer when taking out a policy, so it is important you are honest. But if you have any additional home security, such as an alarm, it is essential that you actually use it. If it is declared to the insurer, but it is not used and you make a claim, your insurer may not pay out. The same goes for ensuring that other types of locks, alarms and windows are all either active or closed.
In the unfortunate event that you are burgled, it must be reported to the police within 24 hours. They will then provide you with a crime number, which will be used as part of your claim. Without it, you may not be covered.
Make sure your fire alarms are working, house fires can be devastating, check your alarms regularly. If your house burns down and you make a claim to your insurer and the alarms don’t work, the insurer may not pay out. These checks are essential for your safety and not just your insurance purposes.
In this case honesty really is the best policy when taking out your home insurance policy. You are asked to provide a value for the cost of replacing all of the items within your home. It is essential that you ensure this figure is accurate.
Your home insurance policy may include accidental cover, but there are some cases when your belongings may not be covered; e.g. damage by vermin or deliberate damage by a visitor or a tenant. Either way you should notify your insurer of any incidents, even if you don’t make a claim. Any damage your insurer is unaware of may affect any future claims.
Contact your insurer
Always keep your insurer up to date about any changes to your personal circumstances or the property you have insured. Failure to do so could invalidate your insurance policy or any future claim you may make.
All home insurance policies are different, so it is essential that you familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions to make sure your policy remains valid.
If you are searching for your next policy, shopping around will ensure you get the best price and the Be Wiser website is a fantastic place to start.