With the Autumn fast approaching, it’s time to start taking a serious look at your home insurance to check you’re covered for the sort of damage wet, cold and stormy weather can cause.
Burst pipes, collapsing roofs, flooding, falling trees and broken down boilers are all problems which occur far more frequently from October onwards and, if you’re not prepared, you could lose out financially in a major way.
Check your home cover in time for bad weather
But what are the most common problems associated with the home and the possessions you have in it? What types of common home insurance claims are most often made and does your existing home insurance cover you for them?
Well-known insurer Aviva recently revealed the 10 most common claims their customers make on their home cover.
It’s a list which is well worth considering when checking the terms and conditions of your own insurance as different policies from different providers may not fully cover you unless you upgrade or change the scope and type of cover you have.
Here are the top ten, and what the likelihood is of your current insurance policy covering you for them in the event your home suffered one or more.
This is usually caused by water pipes in the home freezing during very cold weather and bursting, causing water to escape.
Are you covered? Nearly all standard home insurance policies cover for the escape of water. Just make sure you have your central heating system checked fairly regularly though, otherwise the insurer might decide it’s your fault.
Storm damage is, of course, a very common claim in the autumn and winter months. In recent years a number of big storms have hit the UK causing it to leap to number two in the claim chart.
Are you covered? Yes, but a lot depends on the severity of the storm. If wind speeds aren’t quite deemed to be high enough, for example, then the damage might not be covered. Again, home maintenance comes into it as claims are often rejected because poor home maintenance has made the home less secure.
Knocking over a valuable antique and smashing it or having a party and ruining your carpets are both examples of ‘accidental damage’. However, many, if not most, policies don’t include accidental damage as standard and it has to be requested and bought as an ‘add on’.
Are you covered? Check with your insurer if you don’t know whether you have cover for accidental damage included in your policy. You can usually have it added quickly included for a small extra fee.
Theft from residential property has fallen significantly over the last decade or so, but Britain remains the European capital for burglaries. Taking extra security measures can reduce the risk of it happening and the chance of having to make a claim, which could potentially ruin your no claims discount and put up your premiums in the future.
Are you covered? All standard home insurance policies will cover you for theft. Claim limits vary hugely though, and if you get the estimated sum insured wrong for your possessions it can reduce your claim amount and even invalidate a claim.
Fire is still a major cause of claims. Having smoke alarms fitted should be something every homeowner does as soon as possible, and not having them can also put up the cost of your cover as it makes your home more of a ‘risk’ to insurers.
Are you covered? As with theft, cover for fire damage comes as standard with all home insurance policies.
Subsidence is when the land around or beneath your home shifts and causes your property to sink into the ground or move. The resulting damage can run into tens of thousands of pounds or more.
Are you covered? Most standard home cover will financially protect you against subsidence, but make sure you indicate to any new insurer if this has happened before if you change cover providers. Also, be aware that the excess you have to pay on any claim is usually much more for subsidence claims, often £1,000 or even higher.
Flooding is a fast growing problem in the UK as climate change appears to be making the country a wetter, windier place. Make sure you’ve indicated to your insurer if you live on a flood plain or if your home has suffered flooding before. If unsure, check with your local council.
Are you covered? Nearly all home insurance covers a property for flooding, but, as stated above, you must be clear as to whether you live in an area at risk of flooding when you take out your home cover or the policy could be invalid in the event of a flooding claim.
Vandalism and other acts which cause deliberate damage to a property are considered ‘malicious damage’.
Are you covered? Most standard home cover policies will cover you for malicious damage.
If you drive into your garage wall, or a plane crashes on top of your home, for example, you will suffer ‘impact damage’.
Are you covered? The terms for what type of impact damage you can claim for may be limited, depending on the scope of your cover. However, reasonably good home insurance should cover most eventualities.
Freezing conditions can impact on a building’s structure, such as brick and roofing work, as well as causing problems where plumbing and guttering is concerned. Your central heating system may also pack in due to freezing temperatures.
Are you covered? Most home insurance policies will cover you for the effects of cold weather. However, some may not cover boilers over a certain age (10 or more years is common) or poorly maintained properties where, for example, the pointing work on walls has been allowed to deteriorate, letting in frost and freezing water.
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