Wednesday 9 April 2014

How comprehensive is your home insurance?

Can you imagine how devastated my twins were when the storms hit last November, Thank goodness for good home insurance!

If you're protective of your property, you will probably already have arranged a home insurance policy. But what many people forget to check is whether there are any exclusions to their policy. In other words, just how comprehensive is it? Policies can differ from home to home, but there are several elements that often aren't covered as standard, which can come as a surprise to many.

Storm damage
With the recent spate of awful weather, people across the UK are rightly worried about the damage that storms can cause to their property. However, a lot of them assume that even if the worst does happen, their home insurance policy will cover the cost of any repairs.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. It's advisable to check with your insurer whether you are covered for storm damage. If your property is already damaged, collect local press references to the storm and take lots of pictures of the damaged area from various angles. If you are covered this evidence will be crucial in proving that the damage was caused by the storm, and not by general wear and tear on your property.

Personal injury
This is another area in which insurance claims can get a little complicated depending on who is injured and where the fault lies. It's wise to check through your homeowners' insurance policy to be certain of the extent to which you are covered. Accidents can be surprisingly costly to pay for if you are not sufficiently covered. 

If you aren't sure whether personal injury is covered by your home insurance, call up your insurance provider and ask them for clarification.

Party damage
When you've moved into a brand new home, it's very tempting to throw a large housewarming party to show off your new digs. But before you do, have you considered what would happen if someone ruined your new carpet with spilt red wine, or if a fire started by accident?

Most home insurance policies will state quite clearly that damage through irresponsibility will not be covered. If damage has occurred at a party, you'll need to go to great lengths to show that you tried to avoid such damage as much as you could. Even then you might not be able to recover the repair costs.

If you have teenage children, this area of insurance is particularly important: if you leave them alone in the house and they throw a party during which damage occurs, you can be fairly certain that you'll get nothing from your insurance company.

Another problem that we've seen more of recently is flooding, which can cause huge amounts of damage to your property. But are you sufficiently covered? Most home insurance policies won't pay out on flooding damage as standard. However, if you live in an area where flooding is a regular problem, it's wise to think about bolting on specific flooding cover to your policy.

Other water damage, such as rain coming through a hole in the roof, may be included in your policy, but that's usually only if you can prove the hole was caused by storm damage. The same applies to broken windows and subsequent water damage.

Reading up on the ins and outs of insurance policies isn't many people's idea of a good time, but it can't be disputed that it's time well spent. No one expects the worst to happen, but when it does, knowing exactly what you are and aren't covered for can save you endless time and energy, and possibly quite a lot of money.

If you're concerned about any areas for which you're not covered, talk to More Than about buying specific protection as part of your home insurance policy.

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