24th October 2022

How long does a home insurance claim take?

If it’s the first time you’ve made an insurance claim, you may be wondering just how long the process will take, and when you can expect your payout. You may also be unsure how soon you can make an insurance claim after taking out your policy.

Home insurance claim form

As no two insurance claims are the same, it’s impossible to say just how long a claim will take. Basically, the more complex the claim, the longer it will take to complete. A simple insurance claim could take as little as two days, but if structural damage has occurred, for example, assessing your claim will take longer.

You also have to factor in the complexity involved in restoring the parts of your property that have been affected and the repair or replacement of your home’s contents. In the case of extensive damage, complicated claims can take up to 12 months.


  • How soon can you claim on home insurance?
  • How long do you have to make an insurance claim?
  • What happens when you make a claim?
  • Why is my insurance claim taking so long?
  • Why do insurance companies delay claims?
  • How much will my home insurance go up after a claim?
  • Frequently Asked Questions


How soon can you claim on home insurance?

Generally, you can make a claim any time after the start date of your policy. It may be worth checking when the official start date is, as it may not always be the same date that you actually paid for your insurance.

There’s no set amount of time you have to wait before making a claim, so you should contact your insurer as soon as an incident has occurred, especially if it’s one which will cause further damage over time, such as a leaking water pipe or flooding. Some insurance companies even stipulate that you must get in touch within 24 hours of an incident occurring.


How long do you have to make an insurance claim?

If you are making a claim, you should get in touch with your insurer as soon as possible after an incident has occurred. As a claim may be invalid after a set period of time, you should carefully check your policy to see how long you have to make a claim.


What happens when you make a claim?

If you’re claiming a relatively small amount on your insurance, the process is fairly simple, just requiring you to complete and submit an insurance claim form.

However, if you are claiming a significant amount following extensive damage, the process is rather more involved, starting with at least one visit from a loss adjuster who will assess any loss or damage and the cost of replacement or repair. After this assessment, surveyors, builders or a removal firm may be needed to help with your claim or begin repairing the damage. This can, of course, increase how long it will take to complete your claim.

In some cases, repair work will be done by a partner company chosen by your insurer. Alternatively, your insurer may just pay the amount you are claiming into your bank account.


Why is my insurance claim taking so long?

If you’ve filled out your insurance claim form correctly and truthfully, and your policy covers what you are claiming for, you should not come across any problems.

As we’ve mentioned, the complexity of your claim and the severity of damage incurred may very well be the reason for a delay. As insurance companies often deal with many claims simultaneously, they may also have to prioritise depending on customer needs. It may also take significantly longer if you’re claiming for multiple items; for instance, flood damage may involve claiming for many items of furniture.


Why do insurance companies delay claims?

Let’s face it, the primary focus of most insurance companies is to increase profits and protect their bottom line. Which means they aren’t that keen on paying out money, and the interests of claimants isn’t always their first priority. Some insurers will even go so far as to delay claims and make sure settlements are as small as possible.

Delays can occur at any point of the claim process, and you may find your insurer is slow to respond to any queries you may have. Some may also ask for information they really don’t need to process your claim, knowing it will delay things even further.


How much will my home insurance go up after a claim?

As insurers assess your level of risk after you make a claim, they may adjust the cost of your policy accordingly at the next renewal date. This potential increase in insurance premiums is a major reason why some people hesitate to make an insurance claim at all.

Relatively small and isolated claims, such as the lost or broken laptop, are less likely to have a negative impact. However, a more complex or serious incident, such as extensive damage to your home, will most likely cause your premium to increase.

The amount your premium will rise following a claim depends on a few factors, including the type of claim you’re making, where you live and the number of previous claims you’ve made.

The frequency of claims in your area could also conceivably increase the cost of your home insurance. For example, there may be a significant increase if there has been a major weather incident in your area causing extensive damage.

If your insurance premium does increase significantly at the next renewal date, you should perhaps consider switching to a new insurer, or at least try to negotiate better terms from your current insurance company.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does a fire insurance claim take?
    As smoke and fire can result in unseen structural damage, submitting a fire insurance claim can be a complex process, sometimes taking up to several months. If you’ve had a house fire, most insurance companies will prioritise your claim and work as fast as they can to resolve it.
  • How long does a storm insurance claim take?
    According to the Financial Ombudsman, a storm “generally involves violent winds, usually accompanied by rain, hail or snow”. Insurance policies relating to buildings and contents usually cover against storm damage. As damage can range from a blown-down fence to homes left uninhabitable, it is difficult to say how long a storm insurance claim will take.
  • How do home insurance companies pay out claims?
    Your insurer may offer you a cash settlement, while some homeowners opt for the insurance company to pay directly for the replacement of damaged contents or property repairs. However, more often than not, a claim will be settled by a combination of building repairs, some contents replacements and a final cash settlement.
  • What happens if a home insurance claim is denied?
    There are instances when insurers refuse a claim or do not pay out the full amount asked for. If you think your insurer is acting unreasonably, your first step should be to negotiate with them to try and reach an agreement. If things remain unresolved, you should then follow your insurer’s complaints process. You also have the option to appoint an independent loss assessor. While loss adjusters are employed by an insurance company, loss assessors work on your behalf to ensure your interests are protected, and that you receive the best settlement possible.
  • How to deal with home insurance claim adjusters?
    Having to deal with an insurance claim adjuster is a normal part of making an insurance claim. You should prepare by reviewing your policy and in your dealings be polite, honest and helpful, while still remaining cautious. To avoid losing out, always let the claim adjuster make the first offer, but if you consider this too low, be ready to negotiate.


Final thoughts

While straightforward claims can be resolved and paid out within a couple of days, more complex claims can certainly take much longer. However, once you’ve made your initial claim and provided your insurer with all relevant information, they should be able to give you an approximate time frame for how long the whole process will take.

If you have any questions or want to know more about making a claim on your home insurance, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Call our 24/7 helpline on 0330 022 9179 for a free no obligations assessment

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