Making a home insurance claim

No one likes making a claim on their home insurance but it is an option when owning a property to financially protect yourself in case of the unforeseen. 

When buying your policy check that the policy you’re purchasing covers your needs. Whether you want to know how to help prevent the most common claims from occurring, or you’d like to know how to make a home insurance claim, this guide will offer some guidance.

How to claim on home insurance

If you need to make a claim on your home insurance policy, whether that be for contents or for buildings, you should first check your policy to check that you’re covered for what you need to claim for. 

Some insurance companies will have a preferred contractor that they trust to complete the job to a sufficient standard. This will usually be the case in instances of damage to the actual building, such as in the event of a flood or a storm affecting your roof. 

In non-emergency situations, you should always ring your insurance claim number first to organise the call out to assess and fix the problem. If the contractor is not preferred, check with your provider if you will be covered to use a tradesperson you trust to fix the problem. Make sure you provide as much evidence as you can and keep all the corresponding receipts from the tradesperson when the job is complete.

What’s included in a home insurance policy?

Before you make a claim the first thing you should do is check your policy, or check with your provider to see exactly what you’re covered for. Policies will differ depending on the provider, so consider what is covered under your buildings insurance policy, and your contents insurance policy.

For example, RAC Home Insurance includes, as standard, cover for these eventualities on its buildings and contents insurance: 

  • Fire and explosions
  • Natural disasters
  • Burglary and vandalism
  • Damage to fixtures, fittings and furniture
  • Damage or loss to electrical items, clothing and jewellery 

When should you claim on home insurance?

If you’ve never claimed before and have a good no-claims bonus on your policy, you may choose not to risk losing your discount by making a claim. However, if you don’t make a claim you should still notify your insurance company, in line with the terms and conditions of your policy agreement. This may be listed on the policy and could potentially affect the renewal price.

The decision to claim could depend on what you want to make the claim for. If you’re up against thousands of pounds in building damages, then it’ll certainly save you money to claim in the long run. But, if you’re claiming for smaller items with a lower value, such as a small piece of furniture damaged by the unexpected escape of water, it may be worth paying for the repairs or replacement yourself. This is because it could cause your premium to rise in the future.

You should weigh up the amount you’re claiming for against the voluntary excess you’ll need to pay and the increase it may have on your premium. 

Most common claims

Unfortunately, accidents can happen, so it’s important to be prepared. In some cases, these incidents can be prevented or show some telling signs and be caught early enough, to not cause further damage.

Frozen pipes

This can be prevented by servicing your boiler regularly and maintaining a low level of heating during the coldest of the winter months.

Escape of water

Flooding due to burst pipes can cause extensive damage to everything from flooring to furniture and electronics. Escape of water can be hard to predict, but usually, if your water bill has seen a dramatic increase or mould and damp patches start to appear, it could be a sign of escape of water. Do not panic: if it’s safe to do so, you should turn off the primary water supply before calling your provider to prevent further damage.

House fires

House fires can be extremely damaging to property but there are precautions you can take to reduce the risk of one occurring in your home. For example, when in the kitchen, be diligent when cooking and keep the area clean. Keep potentially dangerous items like matches out of reach of children and be careful when lighting candles. Make sure you turn off electronic items such as hair straighteners, irons and electric blankets and regularly clean the washing and tumble dryer filters to keep them free from dust and flint. You could also consider keeping a fire extinguisher or fire blanket in or near the kitchen, so if a small fire breaks out and if it’s safe for you to do so, you can stop it before it spreads.

Accidental damage

This part of the policy allows you to make a claim for the little accidents that happen, such as dropping your laptop or tablet while in the home, or breaking a family heirloom.  However, remember that making a claim is likely to increase your premium.  

How long does a home insurance claim take?

The amount of time a home insurance claim will take to process will depend on the type of claim. If the claim is more complex, for example, in the event of a flood, it may take several months to complete the claim as the property would have to be dried and repaired before being habitable again. If the claim is simpler, such as for a like for like repair or replacement, the claim can be solved in a shorter amount of time.

There are things that can delay a claim, which you may want to bear in mind in order to successfully solve all future claims as soon as possible. Poor communication from either yourself, the tradesperson or your provider can slow things down. So, do make sure you provide thorough details when you provide accompanying documentation and evidence.

Depending on the claim, you’ll need to provide evidence which can include:

  • Photos of items when bought/moved in, compared to photos of damage sustained
  • Proof of purchase. Either receipts or bank statements will suffice
  • Your policy breakdown, to know exactly what you’re covered for

Before making a claim, do make sure you check your policy to make sure you know exactly what you’re covered for. Our extensive RAC Home Insurance will ensure you peace of mind in knowing that your building and contents are covered. Click here to get a quote today.

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