What you can’t claim for, but you may have thought you could

Many people are caught unawares when making a claim on their Home Insurance, assuming that no matter what the circumstances surrounding the claim, or the items or parts of their property involved, they will be covered.

So it can come as a shock to find that your home cover will only provide protection to a certain extent.

Take into account exclusions

While policies will generally include protection against fire, theft and loss, storms, flooding and accidental damage (all known as ‘definable events’ by insurers), there are often a good number of exclusions. You should bear this in mind when taking out cover, and also when looking after your property and possessions.

Here are a number of key elements that, in all likelihood, you won’t be able to claim for on your home insurance:

Structural maintenance

There’s an assumption among many homeowners that no matter what work is needed on their property, and the reason for needing it, their insurance will cover it. This is simply not the case as insurers do not count standard wear and tear to a property as claimable.

If, for example, your roof has slowly degraded over the years due to general weather conditions and age, you will have to pay up if it needs replacing or any work doing, as your insurer won’t.

Of course, if lighting strikes, or high winds rip off roof tiles and damage the structure, that’s a different matter. This would be seen as a ‘definable event’ by insurers.

If you think of things which ‘definable events’ might cause, compared to what are simply home maintenance issues, you’ll be along the right lines when it comes to what you can and can’t claim for if your property is damaged.

Damp

Another common mistake people make is to assume that if they find damp in their home they will automatically have the cost of treatment covered by their home cover. But this won’t necessarily be the case. If flooding or a major storm has caused water damage you will be entitled to ask to your insurer for compensation, but generally not for everyday damp issues.

Leaking pipes

A major consumer assumption is that insurers will shell out for any leaking pipes which need mending. Pipes, especially in older homes, can degrade and begin to leak over time, making this a maintenance issue, rather than being caused by any ‘definable event’.

Blocked drains

As blocked drains are most commonly caused by people putting the wrong things down toilets and sinks, they are nearly always maintenance issues for which you won’t be able to claim. But if a drain has been blocked by a landslip, or subsidence, for example, then you most likely would be able to claim.

Other common exclusions which you should be aware of include:

  • Mechanical breakdown, such as for your TV, the cooker, a washing machine, phone.
  • Wear and tear on sofas, chairs, tables and other home furnishings.
  • Faulty workmanship.
  • Damage to gates, fences and hedges. You might also be able to claim for garden walls if the main building was damaged at the same time.
  • Immediate notification is required of any incident which you want to claim for, or you might invalidate the claim.
  • Renters should notify landlords of any problems as soon as possible. Again, any delay might mean the landlord’s insurance won’t cover it, and your own insurance, if you have it, might not provide the right protection.
  • Missing information from an application, such as the position of trees in relation to your property, or if you live on a flood plain, may also invalidate future claims.

Read the small print

Consumers should always read and absorb what it says in the small print of policy documents to avoid any nasty shocks when it comes to making a claim.

Policy Expert 

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The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Policy Expert.