How to make an insurance claim

If you’ve suffered a property-related incident, like a break-in, a burst pipe or similar, you’ll more than likely need to raise a claim on your home insurance. Here’s how to go about it.

If you’ve suffered a property-related incident, like a break-in, a burst pipe or similar, you’ll more than likely need to raise a claim on your home insurance. Here’s how to go about it.

Chris King
Head of Home Insurance
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Posted 10 JANUARY 2020

How do I make an insurance claim?

Claiming on home insurance is something we’d all rather avoid. But if you’ve suffered damage to your home, or you’ve lost or damaged something precious, your insurance provider’s there to help. So here’s a step-by-step process to make things that bit easier.

If there’s been a crime, report it

If you’ve suffered a theft, or your home or belongings have been vandalised, you’ll need to tell the police so they can raise a crime reference number for your claim.

If you need an emergency response, call 999. For everything else, it’s 101.

Even if you think it’s unlikely the police will ever catch the perpetrator, your claim won’t be valid without a crime reference number, so give them a call.

Have your documents at the ready

To make things easier, keep your insurance documents somewhere safe and within easy reach. Having your policy documents in one place, along with photos plus receipts for any big-ticket items, makes any claim situation a whole lot simpler.

If you’re claiming for valuable items such as jewellery, tech or furniture, photos that show them in their original condition can be a real help. If you don’t have receipts or photos, you may be able to find proof of purchase on your credit or debit card statements.

Check you’re covered

Make sure your policy does indeed cover you for the issue you’ve experienced. Not all insurance policies will cover you if you drop or lose your laptop, for instance. So it’s worth checking what’s included as standard and what needs to be added as an optional extra – for example, accidental damage cover.

Most insurance providers have a single-item limit – meaning there’s a maximum they’ll pay out for any one item. So, if your single-item limit is £1,500 and you lose a £2,000 camera, you’ll only be reimbursed £1,500.

Hang on to damaged items

Your insurance provider may want to see evidence of what’s happened. So don’t redecorate or throw away damaged items before your provider has had a chance to assess the situation.  

In any claim scenario, taking photos or videos of the immediate aftermath can help smooth the process along.

Contact your insurance provider

Do this as soon as possible, particularly if you’re making a large claim for a flood or house fire, for example. Most insurance providers have a 24-hour helpline, so you can get the ball rolling straight away. You’ll find the number on their website or your policy paperwork.

Talk to a loss assessor

If your home needs extensive repair work because of a fire, flood or burst pipe, for example, your provider will most likely send a loss adjuster to assess the damage and organise the works on your behalf. You can make your own arrangements with an independent loss assessor, but you’d need to cover the cost yourself. The loss assessor will negotiate with the insurance provider’s loss adjuster on your behalf.

How long do I have to make a claim on my home insurance?

Insurance providers usually allow up to 180 days to make a claim (although this isn’t the case for all providers, so check your policy documents), but it’s best to get started as soon as you can. Otherwise, there’s a risk that you’ll forget important details that could help your claim.


Will my home insurance premium go up if I make a claim?

Your home insurance premium is likely to go up if you make a claim. That’s because your insurance provider will view you as a higher risk, compared with someone who’s never claimed on their policy. For that reason, it’s worth weighing up the reimbursement value of a claim, versus the potential premium increase. Large claims will generally outweigh next year’s price hike.

Is it worth making an insurance claim?

That depends. If you’ve suffered massive losses, your insurance is there to help you recoup the costs. But if it’s a relatively minor incident, it might be less worthwhile.

If you decide not to make a claim, you still might need to inform your insurance provider of your losses – check your policy documents to see if this is the case.

Your excess also comes into it. If you have a large excess – the amount you pay towards the cost of any claim you make – on a relatively small claim, you’ll want to weigh up whether you’re going to see any real benefit.

How long will my insurance claim take to process?

This depends on the nature of the claim and how complicated it is. Many claims are processed within a few days, but a particularly complex case could take over a year. Your insurance provider should keep you in the loop, from start to finish.

How can I get a good deal on my home insurance?

By using Compare the Market’s handy insurance comparison tool. We can help you compare insurance policies from a range of UK home insurance providers in minutes. So make sure you’ve got the cover you need and see if you could get a great deal today.

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