Home Insurance - Making a home insuranace claim
Making a Home Insurance claim
In the event of damage to you property or its contents, you should notify your insurance provider immediately. If you look at the fine print of your policy document, there is often a legal clause that states that you are obliged to call them as quickly as possible, with some even quoting a time frame.
After contacting your insurer, you will be sent a claim form to fill out that will ask you for estimates for any repairs or replacements that need to be made. Under standard indemnity insurance, your costs will be estimated, as you will need to deduct a relative percentage for general wear and tear. With a new for old policy, you will need to list the cost of the new item that will replace the damaged, lost or stolen goods.
In the case of stolen goods, you will need to contact your local police before your insurance provider as your insurer will need a crime number before they can process your claim.
For a major claim, it is likely that your insurance provider will want an independent assessment from a Loss Adjustor to ascertain the nature of the claim and your compliance with the terms and conditions of your policy. The Loss Adjustors report will be the basis for your case and will determine whether an insurance provider progresses your claim and pays out. Remember that any false information given or clear indication that you have not adhered to your policy can result in compensation legally withheld by your insurance provider.
Dependent on your excess, small claims can sometimes end up costing you more in the long run. Bear in mind that much the same as car insurance, it can sometimes make more sense to pay for relatively inexpensive repairs yourself, than make small claims on your insurance - not only will you save on the cost of your excess but it will also allow you to build up your no claims bonus, saving money on future annual premiums.
5.2 Policy exclusions
As with all insurance policies, it is just as essential to check what’s not included, as much as what is. Compensation from a claim can be legally withheld for a number of reasons – these can include:
False information provided
- Lack of, or poor maintenance (ie. any repair work needed resulting from negligence on your part, will not be covered)
- Not installing appropriate security systems
- Not commencing repair work on previous claims
- Not updating your policy to include property extensions or changes
Always check the small print and determine exactly what your chosen policy covers. While some policies will happily include damage from natural forces within their standard cover, there are still many that consider these ‘Acts of God’ beyond the realms of normal insurance, including floods, earthquakes, storms, sinkholes and land or mudslides. Many policies may also exclude any damage from colossal man-made disasters such as nuclear accidents or acts of war.
However, all policies should, as standard, cover you for:
Dependent on the type of property you are in, it may well be worth the extra amount on your premium to look at policies that include:
- Storms and/or flooding
- Frozen pipes (important for homes left vacant for long periods of time)