You might assume that, if you take out home insurance and keep the payments up, you’ll get a pay-out if something unfortunate happens. That’s mostly true, as long as it’s something covered in the policy — but there are exceptions.
The culprit is all that small print — the lines you have to strain to make out even with your glasses on. It all seems too much trouble to plough your way through it all, and it doesn’t really matter, anyway.
What to Avoid (or Notify Your Insurer About)
- Leaving Doors and Windows Open — You may feel safe enough to leave windows open or doors unlocked if you pop out for a few minutes. Unfortunately, your insurer won’t agree, and if you should be burgled, they’re likely to refuse to pay.
- Leaving Your Home Empty — If you leave your home unoccupied for an extended period (usually either over 30 days or over 60 days) your policy could be invalidated. You may need to arrange unoccupied home insurance.
- Major Alterations — If you make major alterations, such as an extension or loft conversion, your insurance may not cover damage during the work, and the policy may need to be adjusted to reflect the changes. Make sure you contact your insurer well before the work starts.
- Poor Home Maintenance — The policy will almost certainly require you to keep the property in reasonable condition. Failure to clear out the guttering or take action on signs of pest infection, for instance, could have far-reaching consequences for your home — and your insurer may not pay out if you haven’t taken action.
- Dog or Cat Flaps — It wouldn’t be easy for a burglar to get in through a pet flap, but your insurer may regard it as possible and treat it as making your home insecure. Ideally, talk to your insurer before you install the flap, but let them know anyway.
- Working from Home — Many home policies specifically exclude work-related claims. If you work from home, even if only occasionally, you need to inform your insurer. It may mean slightly higher premiums, but you’ll be covered.
- An Insecure Key-Safe — There’s nothing wrong with having a key-safe to allow a trusted person (e.g. for a cleaner or pet-sitter) to get in, but make sure it’s high enough quality to be secure, otherwise your policy could be compromised.
- Taking in a Lodger — Renting out a spare room can be a good way to boost your income, but your insurer needs to know if someone else is living in your home. You may need to adjust your policy, or even take out a new one.
Failure to be careful or to inform your insurer about a change could well mean that the loss adjuster would turn down any insurance claim you make on your property, declaring that you’ve invalidated the policy. Of course, you might get lucky and having nothing to claim on — but at Allied Claims we wouldn’t advise anyone to rely on luck where insurance is concerned.
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