8 Things That May Be Invalidating Your Home Insurance
Our homes are one of the most important factors in our lives and we all do whatever we can to protect them. Home insurance provides peace of mind that we are financially covered should anything disastrous happen to our possessions.
Hopefully, you will never have to make a claim, but should you have to, your insurer may not always pay out. After taking out your policy, have you ever taken the time to read through all those terms and conditions? There could be stipulations in the terms that you are inadvertently breaking and giving your provider an excuse to avoid any payment.
Lawsure wants to help raise awareness of some of the little-known things that could invalidate your home insurance so consumers can avoid the financial sting of an unpaid claim.
We can all do with extra space in our homes, but moving to a new house is time-consuming, stressful and costly. That’s why 2 in 5 Brits are now choosing to renovate their current properties rather than searching for a new one.
But, if you don’t make your insurer aware of this, they may be able to void your claim. Firstly, the value of your property is most likely to rise and your premium needs to reflect this.
Secondly, workmen are going to have access to your property and may even be provided with keys, which can be considered a risk by your insurance provider. While doors, windows and even walls are removed, this compromises your home’s security as anyone can gain access to the building.
Always notify your provider before work commences and provide them with as much detail as you can. If you are installing new carpets or painting cabinets, they won’t need to know about this, but any structural changes should be declared.
You should also check if your neighbours have gained the right to light; if they have and your new extension blocks their natural light you could be liable to pay them compensation or in the worst-case scenario, you may have to knock it down. By obtaining right to light insurance, you keep yourself protected – you can find out more here: www.lawsureinsurance.co.uk/our-products/title-protection/rights-light/
By not securing your home properly, you could be invalidating your insurance. Even if you are just walking the kids to the bus stop or popping out for a loaf of bread, every entry point should be locked.
If your door has a double lock system, this must be used as your insurer will expect you to do so. Having doors and windows closed is not seen as enough to keep your home secure.
Exaggerating Your Wealth
When taking out your policy, you will be asked to value your contents. The average UK household’s contents are worth £35,000, but this doesn’t mean it applies to you. If you need to make a claim and your insurer has found out you exaggerated the value of your contents, they can avoid making a payment.
Similarly, if you underestimate your contents and discover you need to claim for more, you won’t be covered. Really take the time to value how much you would need should a disaster, such as a flood or fire, happen. Don’t just focus on high-value items; kitchenware, clothes and even toys should be considered. Remember, if you have items of high value, such as jewellery or tech, they may need to be declared and insured separately.
We love our pets; they are part of the family and we all want to make sure they have the best life we can give them. This can include installing a dog flap so our pooches can enjoy our gardens when we aren’t home.
But a dog flap can compromise the integrity of your door and nimble burglars may be able to squeeze through and have access to your home without using force.
Let your provider know before you install one, they will most likely keep you covered but having it noted on your policy will save you from an unpaid claim should anything happen.
Getting a Roommate
Renting out a spare room is a great way to make a little extra income and around 3% of us are now choosing to do so.
But by not alerting your insurer, you could be invalidating your policy. Even if it is a dear friend joining you in your home, your provider will see this as a strange adult with keys and access to your contents.
Some providers won’t offer insurance to those with a lodger so you may be required to obtain a policy for a partially rented property instead. Even if something happens that has nothing to do with your lodger, your insurer may penalise you if you did not declare them.
New Doors and Windows
When our homes are looking a bit tired and outdated, new windows and doors are a fabulous way to give your home a facelift.
Before any work is carried out, let your provider know. When you took out your policy, you will have been asked a myriad of questions about your property, including what doors and windows it has.
By making these changes and not alerting your provider, you could put your policy at risk. Your premium is unlikely to change as your security is most likely increased with these new fittings, but it is best to let them know anyway.
Having an Empty Property
We all need a holiday and your provider will understand that your home will be empty a few weeks every year.
However, if you are planning to leave your property vacant for longer, you need to let them know. Typically, this is any period over 30 days, but this can vary. Let your provider know if this applies to you, they may ask you to take out unoccupied property insurance, but this will be just a small cost compared to the financial strain of paying for an unpaid claim.
Social Media Selfies
We all love to show off how much fun we are having on social media, especially when on holiday. But this is an open advert that your home is empty and makes it very appealing to burglars.
Within your terms and conditions, it will state you must ‘take reasonable care’ to ensure the security of your property and posting holiday photos can be deemed as breaking this term.
1 in 12 burglaries happens when the homeowner is on holiday and there are strong links between this and posting holiday snaps on social media.
We aren’t saying you can’t post these at all, just wait until you have returned home