A home insurance policy is a legal agreement between a householder and an insurance company. It sets out each party’s rights and obligations. Read through the policy wording carefully and make sure you fulfil all the obligations it stipulates so that any claim you may make will be valid.
Also ensure that you understand the different kinds of buildings and contents insurance. Only the owner of a property can buy buildings insurance. A large part of the premium will be affected by factors a householder cannot influence, such as neighbourhood crime statistics or the risk of flood. If you are a tenant, remember that a landlord’s building insurance does not cover your personal possessions.
Insurance companies in general do not pay a claim for burglary if an intruder can make an unforced entry into a property. This means that you must ensure that all doors and windows are properly locked. It may be tempting to open windows in empty rooms during a hot day, but this is best avoided.
The insurance company may have charged a lower premium in exchange for installing special locks and an alarm system. Make sure that these are accurately described in the policy. Inform the insurance company of any changes you make to the installations. Ensure that all alarm systems are activated even if you are leaving the property for just a short while.
Do not hide any door keys anywhere outside the house. Leave a spare set with a trusted friend or neighbour. Burglars can always find key-hiding places around a house even if you think that you are being clever. It’s important to remember that a prospective burglar may have been observing your property for some time before attempting a break-in.
Make sure that all expensive garden equipment such as lawnmowers are correctly described on the policy and are securely stored in a garage or shed. Never store ladders, hammers or any other household tools outdoors. Burglars can use these to break into a house.
Always inform the insurance company about any major road works, building work or renovation in a neighbouring property. Sometimes these can sever water pipes or other utility conduits, or cause accidental damage to walls, windows or other parts of your home. An insurer who is not notified may not pay out on a claim, but the neighbour or construction firm ought to be liable for any damage. If you are planning your own building work, make sure that the insurer is informed of this. Your premium may rise as a result but at least you will be covered for any accidental damage.
If you try to save money by under-insuring your home, remember that in the event of any damage, the insurer will only pay a percentage of the sum insured. Insurers always stipulate that jewellery and other personal valuables are securely stored. Use a home safe that is recommended by an insurance organisation.
Home insurance policies may become invalid if the property is unoccupied for a period of 30 days or more. If you are planning to be away for a long period of time, make sure that a friend or family member stays at least one night in your home during any 30-day period of absence.
If your home insurance policy is up for renewal soon, buy your home insurance online at SO Switch.