Protecting what’s important to us is essential, and after our family members our home and its contents is top of the list. But it’s important to understand the policy you have taken out.
If you haven’t read the small print, you may not be aware of the terms and conditions that could leave you unable to claim is he unexpected should happen. Here are a few of the common areas we think you should consider, but as every policy is different, mane sure you check your own policy so you know what affects you.
Working from home
Figures from the ONS reveal that 16% of us worked solely from home between September 2022 and January 2023, and 28% are hybrid working, so splitting their time between working from home and the office. Some home insurance policies exclude all items used for business or professional purposes, so you might not be able to claim if your work device is damaged or stolen. If you work from home regularly, it’s essential to let your home insurance provider know. Your premiums may increase slightly – but not informing them could invalidate your policy altogether. If you work remotely and carry your personal laptop around, it could also be worth securing a contents insurance policy in case of damage outside the home.
Leaving your home unoccupied
Leaving your home unoccupied for a prolonged period could invalidate your policy. Most policies cover an unoccupied home for either 30 or 60 days, but longer than this could mean any claim you make may be rejected. Should you need to leave your home unoccupied for longer than your policy states, talk to your insurer as they have various ways they can help keep you insured, dependent on your individual policy and circumstances.
Despite rising building and materials costs, many home owners are choosing to extend or refurbish their properties rather than move to add both space and value. However, major works of this kind are likely to impact your home insurance – failing to let your insurer know in advance could invalidate your policy. Ensure your insurer knows about your plans in the planning stages, they’ll be able to advise you on any changes needed on your policy to ensure you have the right level of cover in place, should you cause any damage whilst undertaking the project.
Installing a cat or dog flap technically provides easier access into your home, meaning some insurers may deem them as unsecure. This doesn’t mean you can’t install one, but it’s worth checking with your insurer– otherwise, you risk voiding your policy if someone were to gain entry via the cat or dog flap.
Installing a key-safe
A key safe is a convenient way to give trusted people access to your home, but if you install a poorly designed key safe and a burglar uses the key to enter your home, your house insurance claim will most likely be void. If you are choosing a key safe, ensure it’s police-approved and features the ‘Secured by Design’ label, as these can better withstand physical attack. You should also install the key safe away from your front door and remember to let your insurer know you’re using one.
Getting a lodger
Getting a lodger can be a savvy way to earn some extra cash to help combat rising interest rates and the ongoing cost of living crisis. But you must check the terms of your policy, as you could find your policy invalid should you need to make a claim. Insurers typically consider a lodger as an extra risk, so you’re likely to see an increase in your premium or a move to a different policy or even a different insurer.
Not maintaining your property
Your insurer will need evidence to ensure that any damage you claim for isn’t a result of poor maintenance. The only solution here is to keep up with the general wear and tear of your home – as well as well as keeping your property well maintained, it’ll also make it a much nicer place to live and could potentially save you thousands down the line.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your Home Insurance please call us on 01159 420 111