Get the correct Cover
There are loads of insurance companies out there and loads of insurance broker to choose from. Today it is easy to go online and search them out. Competing insurers will often give fantastic offers at discounted prices. The temptation, of course, is to go for the ‘cheapest’ one – especially when you are trying to make savings at times of relative hardship!
For example, let’s say you own a 4 storey Victorian Town House. You go online and fill in their online form, and there is a fantastic premium quoted. It halves your current insurer’s renewal price and provides all the best cover available. BUT, there is one problem – you filled the form in incorrectly by mistake. You have confirmed there are only 3 floors at the property. You think, “No big thing, right?” Wrong! How do you know the insurer covers properties with 4 floors? They might only insure properties with 3 floors as an underwriting approach and their own company policy. Such a simple error, that you may not think is important, can result in a future claim being declined. So let’s say there is a fire and the property burns to the ground, do you think that insurer will be racing to pay £300,000 to get your property built back to its former glory? Or they might argue, you have misled them. Such a simple thing as answering all questions correctly will help protect you, your home and most importantly protect your family by getting the correct insurance cover.
Make sure you are covered for Full Accidental Damage
Accidental Damage cover is greatly misunderstood by many people. People assume, due to the confusing terminology by which it is named, that they are in fact covered for every ‘accident’ anyway. This is NOT the case. Insurance provides cover for certain ‘perils.’ What do we mean by ‘perils’? Perils are event such as, Storms, flooding, theft, malicious damage and so on. Your insurer will provide a list of certain perils that they cover in their policy wording & referred to with the Certificate or Schedule. So what about certain things that can happen that aren’t expressly considered in the policy wording? There can always be ‘grey areas’. This is where full accidental damage cover can play a vital role, and make sure you get paid out on a claim that is not precisely expressed in the policy wording. This can be a sudden or unforeseen event, that the other perils won’t provide the cover for, that full accidental damage will cover.
A simple example of an accidental damage claim – Let’s say you are insulating your roof space, and fall through the ceiling. You are OK, but let’s face it, the ceiling will need to be re-plastered. Without full accidental damage cover, this would not be covered. So always select full accidental damage cover when taking out a policy. The extra cost is minimal, and worth it if you need to make a claim and avoid having to pay for that ceiling out of your own pocket!
If your home is empty make sure you tell the insurer – very important
One of the biggest mistakes people consistently make is not telling the insurance company or the broker, that the property has become empty. There are various reasons why the home can become empty, such as the renovation of the home for example. There is nothing wrong with this. However, if you don’t tell your insurer of the change of circumstances, how do you know what conditions they would have placed on you to keep the property covered? Unoccupied home insurance policies are different! If you don’t know what conditions they might have put on the policy, then how can you comply with them? Again, this is simple – tell your insurer if the property has become empty.
They may want to know the duration of unoccupancy and the scope and cost of any work being undertaken if it is due to an extension for example. “What does it matter?”, you might ask. Well let’s say you are doing a £150,000 double story extension and the property will be empty for 18 months, and you did not tell the insurance company. First, as the work would take 18 months, the work would overlap your renewal date. The insurer may argue (in the event of a claim), that they would not have offered a renewal due to the time the property had been empty, and try to void your policy and avoid paying a potential fire claim. They may also say they only can allow works up to £100,000, which you will have well surpassed. They often argue that you haven’t the correct policy and should have taken out an unoccupied building insurance policy instead.
Make sure you advise of any previous claims
Believe it or not, this is the big one! Do not fill in an online form, and tell the insurer you have had no claims during the last 3 or 5 years (depending on the wording of their question) if you have. Yes, you will pay less short-term, but again if you claim, it might be argued that you were deliberate or reckless in doing so in order to get cover, that may have been not offered by the insurer had they known about your claims history. This can lead to a whole cycle of problems. You can have cover voided, premium already paid kept by the insurer, be left with nothing more than a shell of a building if there has been a fire or flood and not to mention the added stress! Add to an already horrible position, you will struggle to get insurance again. Anywhere!
Make sure you tell the insurer about any Convictions or CCJs under your name
Insurers will assess the risk when quoting for you. This is fundamental to insurance cover. Let’s say you have a CCJ 20 years ago since settled but are too ashamed to tell the insurer about it all these years later. Well, don’t be! Insurers have heard all before – it’s like a GP in the medical profession dealing with an embarrassing illness. If you tell them, most likely your minor CCJ or conviction will be forgiven and you will be given a quote. Don’t tell them, and you are being dishonest & therefore you may be a ‘moral hazard’ in the world of insurance. A moral hazard is higher risk, and maybe not something the insurer would have accepted had they known about. Now we are not saying all CCJs or convictions are the same, but why run the risk? Tell them and get it agreed before you accept cover – no one will ever know and you can sleep soundly knowing you and your family are protected PROPERLY in the event of a flood, storm of Fire, which can potentially cause financial ruin!
Add Legal Expenses Cover
This can cost as little as £15.00 extra. You can get family legal expenses cover also. It can include Free legal advise line, Criminal prosecution defence, personal injury, employment disputes and so on. This article is about how to protect your family, and by spending a little extra, you are providing safety and security for them.
These are simple things but often missed. To keep yourself right, to protect your most important asset and not to mention to protect your family, keep in touch with your insurance provider and tell them everything – it doesn’t matter how small or insignificant you think it is, the fact is, it may matter. These are our Top Tips on how to protect you, your asset and how to protect your family with insurance.
If you own other properties and need landlord insurance, we can also help with that. Go here for Landlord Insurance Northern Ireland and here for other areas of Great Britain – landlord insurance.