Home insurance. Have you really got it all covered?
10 popular pitfalls and how to avoid them…
Confused about contents cover? You’re not alone. According to Swinton Insurance, half of home owners are unsure if their policy details are 100% accurate and 1 in 10 make a blind guess about contents’ value. Underestimating is common, as the average family of 4 estimates their contents to be worth £25,000, while the true value is closer to £55,000.
While we hope you never have to make an insurance claim for fire, flood or even accidental damage, making sure you have the right cover ensures everything is protected if you do come to make a claim. Anything that’s not covered can usually be fixed with a simple policy add on.
Whether you’re a first-time buyer, moving home or simply want to renew your home insurance, there’s much more to consider than price alone.
- How to calculate the value of contents
Value your contents room-by-room, creating an inventory and marking down the cost of each item. In addition to high-value goods, include clothing, furniture, soft furnishings, carpets, electricals and boring things like crockery and kitchen gadgets. Don’t forget the contents of your shed too!
- Common exclusions that catch people out
Always read the fine print before taking out any insurance policy, but common exclusions may include damage caused by wear and tear, acts of vandalism, loss or theft of house keys and contents of the freezer. If you are making a garage or loft conversion that will alter the structure of your property, or storing large amounts of items for family or friends, you will also need to notify your insurer.
- Top tip – review your cover
As your family grows, so will your inventory of possessions, and it’s easy to forget to update your contents insurance. The value should always be accurate, but there are some major milestones, that can act as a reminder:
- When you move in or out with a partner
- If you receive lots of gifts – weddings, birthdays, Christmas etc
- When your children leave home for university
- After decorating or renovating your property
For accidental food and beverage spillages, or stains caused by pets and children, BioSweep North East offer a range of affordable cleaning services for carpets, upholstery and hard flooring. Using the latest technology and cleaning solutions, our technicians can treat stains, sanitise and deodorise and provide carpet protection, which will make it more resistant to staining in the future.
Don’t forget to check whether your policy includes accidental damage cover, for instances where the damage is not treatable or irreparable.
- ‘New for old’ cover
Most policies now offer ‘new for old’ cover, which will allow you to buy new replacements without factoring in depreciation over time. To double check, make sure your policy doesn’t have an indemnity policy that considers wear and tear of goods.
- Insuring an empty property
Many policies become invalid when a property is left empty for more than 30 days at a time – whether this is due to holidays, a deceased relative, or the process of moving home. This can usually be solved by taking out vacant property insurance or a continuation of your existing insurance. If you’re going on holiday during winter, follow these tips to protect your home from frozen or burst pipes.
Many people also forget to give their insurer authority to speak to a family or friend while they are away, which can make any damage mitigation or restoration works difficult while the policy holder is unavailable.
Single item limits may be capped capped at £1,500 unless you specify otherwise, and you should make sure your valuable item cover is high enough to cover everything – jewellery, watches, photography equipment, sports equipment, musical instruments etc. List valuable items individually and check whether they are covered away from home.
- Alternative accommodation
While BioSweep North East often carries out restoration works when home owners are still residing in the property, for severe fire, flood, storm or subsidence damage, where the building is unsafe or uninhabitable, alternative accommodation may be necessary. This is included in most policies.
- Home insurance excess
You may be able to save a few pounds on your annual premium by increasing the voluntary excess. This can vary depending on the type of claim. For example, the excess for an accidental damage claim is likely to be different to that of a water damage claim. Always make sure the sum of excess is affordable.
- Risk of flooding
If you live in a ‘high flood risk’ area, your insurer may ask you to take some defensive measures such as installing flood boards. You may also want to check which disaster recovery or damage management specialists your insurer has appointed. Making a water damage or fire claim can be extremely stressful and the choice of restoration specialist can have a huge impact on this. BioSweep North East is proud to work with leading insurers, assisting policy holders throughout the disaster restoration process.