How to avoid invalidating your home insurance policy

Imagine how upsetting it would be to claim on your home insurance only to find out that your insurance provider refuses to pay out. To help avoid that situation, we’ve detailed some common methods of unwittingly invalidating your insurance.

Changes in circumstance

Generally speaking, home insurance policies are invalidated by a provider after new information comes to light, which had the provider known about when you originally purchased your policy would have meant they weren’t willing to insure you. That’s why it’s important to give the most accurate information possible when you take out a policy. And it’s vital you make your provider aware of any changes in your circumstances when the policy is in place.

Unfortunately, it’s often only when you make a claim that any new information comes to light, sometimes as a result of your insurance provider searching the CUE (the Claims and Underwriting Exchange) database or claims advisors visiting to discuss your details.

Taking extended breaks from home

If your property is empty for 30 days or more, your policy might be invalidated and your insurance provider could refuse to pay out. So, if you’re intending to go on holiday for a few weeks, it’s advisable to tell your insurance provider. 

Home improvements

If you’re having any work done to your property, whether that’s a bathroom or new kitchen fitted or you’re having an extension built, you’ll need to inform your insurance provider. The work could involve builders coming in and out of your property and areas of your house may be less secure, so an insurance provider could consider this an increased risk. Your provider may place endorsements or special conditions on your policy during the time the work is being carried out to cover for the increased risk.

If you’re making significant alterations to your home, you may need to consider whether the rebuild cost of your home has increased. And it’s important that you make your provider aware of major changes to your home, such as an additional bedroom or bathroom, as it may affect your insurance premium.

It’s also worth mentioning that poor or faulty workmanship is unlikely to be covered under any insurance policy.

home keys

Poorly maintained property

Keep your house well maintained. If you’re deemed to have contributed to a loss by poor maintenance, you could invalidate your claim. And be aware that general wear and tear is not typically covered by your buildings insurance.

 

Unsecured property

Some insurance providers will only pay out for a burglary claim if your home shows signs of forced entry. So, if you leave windows or doors open or unlocked – or you hide your keys underneath a rock by the front door – you could invalidate your claim.

Insurance providers will often ask for descriptions of locks on doors and windows. Be honest and accurate when you describe them; failure to declare you have no locks could invalidate your policy. And if you lose your keys, ensure you change the locks as soon as possible – check your policy as you may have cover for replacement locks and keys.

Forgetting to activate alarms

If you’ve got an alarm system, use it. If you don’t turn it on, you might not be covered by your home insurance if someone breaks in. 

tools

Deliberate damage

Although most policies cover malicious damage, insurance providers won’t cover you for deliberate damage caused by you or a family member insured under the policy.

That means should you lose your temper and throw something that dents a wall or breaks a window, then your insurance provider will most likely decide not to compensate you. Your insurance provider’s clause on deliberate damage is likely to extend to include anyone in your home (not just you), so you might want to think twice about inviting around volatile friends and family.

Unsecured outbuildings

Make sure you lock your garage or shed, especially if you have valuable tools inside. A claim for stolen tools could be invalidated unless there are signs of forced entry. It’s also worth checking whether your policy has a monetary limit for theft from outbuildings.

Using your home as business premises

If you run your business from home and customers visit, then your insurance provider could see this as an increased risk of theft or damage. To avoid invalidating your insurance, make sure you declare you have a home business when you start a quote. You might want to consider taking out sufficient business insurance if your home policy doesn’t give you the cover you need. 

Check your level of cover

Always read your policy documents. Not only do they explain the levels of cover, they explain the obligations placed upon you. Ensuring you meet those obligations will help keep you covered in the event that you need to make a claim.

Compare home insurance

When it comes to renewing your home insurance, don’t just stick with what you know – there could be a wealth of savings to be made. Use our home insurance comparison service to see how much you could save.

Compare home insurance

Get a quote in seconds and start saving

Get a quote