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How to claim on your home insurance policy

You only find out just how good your home insurance is when you make a claim – but in an emergency just how do you claim on your home insurance policy. And most importantly – what should you do first?

What you want is an insurer who will handle your claim swiftly and efficiently, and actively look to help you, rather than trying to wriggle out of paying what you are due.

But you also have to play your part, by filing your claim correctly. If you don’t, you could reduce your chances of getting a payout and potentially cause delays.

Step one – call your tradespeople first

If you need to make a claim, say, for a burst pipe or storm-damaged roof, your first step is to deal with the emergency at hand.

If your home has suffered damage or is being flooded, your first call should be to an emergency plumber or builder.

Your insurer will understand that and should refund the costs (minus any policy excess).

Remember to keep receipts for any emergency work you have paid for.

Step two- call the insurer

Once the panic is over, you need to contact your insurance company to start your claim.

Following the emergency work,don’t instruct buildersor start patching up the damage yourself until the insurer has had time to assess it, and given its approval to pay for any work that needs to be done. But the best thing to do in these circumstances, is to contact a builder who knows their stuff and works with a reliable and trustworthy loss adjuster to take on these next steps for you!

Every insurer will have a telephone claims helpline, the number should be in your policy booklet. You can then talk to a customer service advisor and plan your next step.

Supply evidence

If it’s only a small claim, your insurer should settle it pretty quickly.

They might ask you to take photos of the damage (worth doing anyway), and supply a couple of estimates from approved builders, before giving you the thumbs up.

But for larger claims with extensive damage, your insurer will want to send a loss adjuster to inspect your property, and this can be a bit nerve-wracking. We can handle this for you!

If you suffered a burglary, the loss adjuster will want to see evidence of forced entry and check you had installed the correct window and door locks, as mentioned in your policy document.

If you hadn’t, your claim could be rejected.

Be prepared

Your policy documents set out important details such as whether you have “new for old” cover, which will meet the full cost of replacing items stolen or destroyed, and how much cover you have for single high-value items.

If any of your possessions are worth more than the policy’s “single item” limit, the insurer may refuse to repair or replace them.

If you did insure high-value items separately, your insurer could ask to see receipts and valuations to prove your claim.

Too many people have filed claims for lost Rolex watches that were in fact knock-offs bought in Bangkok.

If the insurer discovers you hadn’t bought enough insurance, it can reduce the amount of your claim by the percentage that you are under-insured.

So, if it costs £200,000 to rebuild your property, but your buildings insurance policy only covers you up to £100,000, it will only pay 50 per cent of any claim.

It will adopt a similar approach your contents insurance policy. If you file a claim for £10,000, you will get just £5,000.

Or pay yourself

If you have built up a healthy no-claims discount on your home insurance policy, you have to decide whether it is worth risking this by making a claim at all.

With smaller claims, it may be wise to pay to repair the damage yourself, rather than lose your discount. Otherwise you could pay much more for insurance in future years.

The same applies if you have a large excess on your policy. If you make a larger claim, you might have to brace yourself for a hike in next year’s premium.

But at least you will have learned the true benefit of having insurance.

To find out more about how we can step in, deal with your insurers, help you handle the claim, put right the damage and get you more for the damage than you might by yourself, contact us today!

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