Does your home insurance really cover you?
Home insurance is big business. If you have a mortgage on your property, it will be a term of that mortgage that you have sufficient buildings insurance cover in place.
Even if there is no mortgage on the property you will be well advised to keep your property fully insured up to its rebuild value, and to check the policy you take out properly covers your situation.
You are insuring your most expensive possession against damage, but how often are you reading and reviewing the policy to ensure it provides adequate cover?
Insurance provision is a business and naturally the more claims that a provider can exclude or reject the better the provider’s profit margins. I will not be so cynical as to say insurance providers try to catch you out when offering you a policy, but if you fail to provide accurate information, you can very quickly find yourself without cover. For example, most insurance policies will exclude any damage caused during the course of construction or building works. This means that if a fire breaks out whilst construction works are ongoing, it is likely that your insurer will not cover you for the damaged caused.
Other common reasons for rejecting a claim
Where a property is unoccupied for over 28 consecutive days (a real problem with rental properties and holiday lets)
Accidental damage and damage caused by pets.
Failure to disclose that a lodger is residing at the property
Running a business from the property
Damage to gates and fences is also usually excluded from home insurance policies
Negligence and poor maintenance
Wear and tear
Failing to correctly advise insurers about what types of locks and alarms and other security features the property has.
Cover for the above can be available but you will have to speak to your insurance provider. In some circumstances you may need to obtain specialist insurance.
We all know it's best to be honest with insurance providers when taking out a new policy. The law in this area has recently changed and generally insurance companies are not now allowed to reject insurance claims on the basis that incorrect information was provided, if the incorrect information is entirely unrelated to the claim.
There are numerous home insurance comparison sites and obtaining insurance is not only simple but also relatively cheap. My advice to you is read the policy exclusions and if the cover does not fit your circumstances, speak to the provider and obtain a bespoke policy.
The above is for general information only and should not be read as legal advice. You may need to seek independent advice in respect of your specific matter.
Saranjit K. Minhas
Cox Minhas Solicitors - Brixworth