Should I Claim on My Building or Contents Insurance?

If your home or business property has suffered from fire, flood, criminal or accidental damage, shouldn’t it be covered by the insurance policy you’ve taken out? Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple.

There are two types of property insurance — building insurance and contents insurance. If you’re fully insured, you should have both, but you have to make an insurance claim under the correct policy. If you get it wrong, the insurer’s Loss Adjuster will turn down your claim.

It should be easy. Building insurance is for the building itself, while contents insurance is for anything you might put into it. There are grey areas, though, and the Loss Adjuster may have their own interpretation.

What Problems Might I Encounter?

The building insurance is normally interpreted as including fixtures, such as doors or water pipes, while contents insurance would include furniture, along with other movable possession. Some items, though, could come under either category, depending on how the Loss Adjuster interprets them.

Carpets, for instance, are fixed to the floor and should therefore be fixtures. However, this could depend on whether they were in place when you bought the house, or whether you’ve had them laid yourself. Even laminate flooring can in some circumstances be interpreted as a movable item, despite being glued and fixed under the skirting board.

This applies all over the house. If you have fitted units in your rooms, they would normally be regarded as fixtures, but you can’t count on it. Again, this may depend on whether you’ve installed them yourself.

So what can you do about it? Well, you could check with your Insurer, who should be up front about their interpretation of your policy. Allied Claims would recommend, though, that you arrange your policy through an insurance broker, who’ll clarify everything, rather than try to do it yourself.

And, of course, use a Loss Assessor when you need to make an insurance claim.