How can I make sure this doesn’t happen to me?
Well, the key to maintaining any relationship is communication – and your relationship with your insurance provider is no different. You should include them at the planning stages, and let them know well before you make any substantial changes to your home. This includes additions, renovations and even substantial maintenance projects. You may even need to ensure that your contractor is also covered.
This is because properties that are undergoing building work can be considered more risky to insurers. They’ll want to know if the number of bedrooms and bathrooms is changing, particularly bathrooms as escape of water is a major cause of damage. They will also need to know if there are changes to security features like locks on windows and doors – this could help to reduce your premium as you could lower the risk of a break-in.
There might be circumstances where your insurer could no longer cover you, but at least if you keep them in the loop you would know about it well in advance. You’ll want to find an alternative provider before you lose your cover.
In fact, most home owners among us would benefit from reassessing our insurance cover from time to time, even if you’re not making any big changes. The value of your home may have changed over time for a number of reasons, and you might discover that you are no longer insured for its full value. Equally, you might find that you are paying too much if something has caused its value to decrease. So make sure you compare insurers and see if switching could help save you money.
The Association of British Insurers published a guide called Common questions About Home Insurance which goes a long way towards explaining what you can expect from insurers in general, but your best resource is your own insurance company. If you aren’t sure, ask them – you don’t want to be left without cover.