How to avoid invalidating your home insurance policy

You’ve tried to make a claim on your home insurance but it’s been rejected, at this point, several words might spring to mind – none of them very polite. But what can you do? How can you avoid such a setback? And how can you avoid invalidating your policy in the first place.  Here are some common methods of unwittingly invalidating your insurance.

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Taking extended breaks from home

We all love a holiday but getting a taste for being away is bad news when it comes to your insurance. Many providers will stipulate that you can’t be away for a certain length of time – usually for more than 30 days – and if you do, you could invalidate your policy.

But if you’re going on an extra-long break then get someone you trust to stay just one night during your absence so your home isn’t empty for 30 consecutive days (or whatever time your policy states). 

Damage made by vermin

Some insurance providers won’t pay out for damage that has occurred as a result of rats or mice. Although a few mice and rats might seem innocuous, they don’t make for good housemates – they can chew through wires which could cause a fire – and you may not be covered for it.

Doing It Yourself – badly

Doing a bit of DIY makes us feel good – like we’ve achieved something really worthwhile, but botch it up and you might not be able to claim on your insurance. Most policies won’t cover you for accidental damage without an additional charge, so if you saw through a water pipe and soak the carpets, you might find yourself coughing up for it.

If you are going to carry out any building work – either yourself or professionally, then give your insurance provider a call. They may offer you temporary accidental damage cover, which you might have to pay a bit extra for but it could save you a lot more in the long run.

 

home keys

Losing or leaving your keys lying around

Some insurance providers will only pay out for a burglary claim if your home shows signs of forced entry. If you’ve lent your keys to someone or left them underneath that rock by the front door (that you’re convinced no one will look under) and your home ends up ransacked, then your insurance provider may refuse to cover the costs. If you lose your keys, ensure you replace the locks as soon as you can.

 

Deliberate damage

Although most policies cover malicious damage, some insurance providers won’t cover you if you cause any damage deliberately.

So that means, if you get angry and decide to throw something that dents a wall or breaks a window then your insurance provider might decide not to compensate you. Your insurance provider’s clause on deliberate damage may also extend to include anyone in your home (not just you) so you might want to think twice about inviting around volatile friends and family.

Leaving tools out that are used to break in

It sounds obvious and while you probably wouldn’t leave a ladder next to an open window, you might inadvertently leave your shed unlocked with ladders, hammers and all sorts of tools that could be used to break into your home. It might be easier to leave your shed unlocked, but it’s another way of potentially invalidating your home insurance.

tools

Leaving tools out that are used to break in

It sounds obvious and while you probably wouldn’t leave a ladder next to an open window, you might inadvertently leave your shed unlocked with ladders, hammers and all sorts of tools that could be used to break into your home. It might be easier to leave your shed unlocked, but it’s another way of potentially invalidating your home insurance.

Using your home as a business premises

If you run your business from home and have customers visit, then to an insurance provider this means a potential increased risk of theft or damage. To avoid invalidating your home insurance, always make sure you advise your insurance provider and  take out sufficient business insurance.

Forgetting to activate alarms

If you’ve got an alarm system – use it. Failing to activate it especially if you’ve made a point about telling your insurance provider how good it is, could mean you’re not covered if someone breaks in. Similarly, always ensure doors and windows are properly locked.

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It’s not exciting, but it is important to check the wording on your home insurance policy – just to be sure that you’re aren’t unintentionally invalidating it. And of course, when it comes to renewal 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.

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