Preparing Your Home Insurance for the Unexpected
Fire, flood, theft, and severe storm damage – these might all sound like things that happen to other people, but the fact is that disaster can strike any home, at any time.
To protect yourself against the unexpected, you need insurance. Contents insurance can protect you against theft, whilst home insurance will give you coverage for your buildings.
What Will Your Home Insurance Cover?
It is estimated that up to 75% of homeowners do not read the small print of their insurance policies. This is understandable, given that some policies are longer than books, and so full of jargon and complex legalese that it’s almost as if they’re intended to be confusing.
However, you need to ensure that you’re adequately prepared for the unexpected, so it’s vital that you take the time to find out just what is included in your policy.
For example, are you covered for the right amount, or have you under-insured your property and your belongings? Also, does your policy stipulate that your insurer will arrange for alternative accommodation should you be required to leave your home in a hurry?
It’s important to know these things in advance – far too many homeowners only find their insurance to be lacking when it’s too late. So speak to your insurer, and request a clear breakdown of just what will happen in the event of an emergency. And if you don’t like the terms of your current policy, a qualified insurance broker will help you to find an alternative policy that works for you.
If you’ve taken out contents insurance, take some pictures of your most valuable belongings, and get into the habit of retaining your receipts. In this way, should you ever be required to provide evidence to back up your claim, you’ll be adequately prepared.
Expect the Best, but Prepare for the Worst
Home insurance is vital, but it’s a safety net. For the best possible peace of mind, you should do all you can to reduce the chances that you’ll even have to make a claim in the first place.
But there’s an additional reason as to why it’s in your best interests to do all you can to reduce the chances of fires, floods, and burglaries in the home.
We’ve unfortunately found that many insurance agencies cannot be trusted to act with their policyholders’ best interests in mind. They’re businesses. Their priority isn’t to help you get back on your feet. They’re more concerned with maximising profits whilst ensuring that, should you ever make a claim, your settlement will be as low as possible.
When you make a claim, your insurer will usually send a loss adjuster to your home. Whilst they’ll ostensibly be there to assess the extent of the damage, really their task is to find evidence that could negate your claim.
Whether they’re ex-detectives or forensics specialists, these loss adjusters are completely unregulated, and their sole purpose seems to be to make homeowners’ lives as difficult as possible.
If they can prove that the incident was, for whatever reason, “your fault”, you may be denied the compensation you deserve. In the event of a theft, they’ll look for evidence that you did not take all necessary steps to secure your home. In the event of a fire, they’ll look for evidence that the fire started as a result of negligence on your part.
A loss adjuster will also be on the lookout for anything that suggests that your policy does not cover the full extent of the damage.
So in order to be fully prepared for the unexpected, not only do you need home insurance. You also need to take steps to ensure that, should worst come to worst, you receive the settlement you need.
How to Plan for the Unexpected – You’re Going to Need Somebody on Your Side
In the event of a fire in your home, a fire alarm can save your life. Make sure you have one on every floor of your house, and commit to testing them at least once a week. Also, ensure that every member of your family knows what to do in the event of a fire – plan an escape route in advance.
In the event of a burglary in your home, there’s a clear sequence of steps you should take, as we covered in this guide.
Floods and storms are not so easy to predict and prepare for, but in every case, one of your initial steps will, of course, be to dial 999.
Also, the sooner you notify your insurers about the incident, the better – so make sure you have their contact details saved alongside any information relating to your policy.
However, so as to ensure that your claim proceeds as smoothly as possible, and so as to safeguard yourself against the unscrupulous behaviour of insurance agencies, there’s a third number you should have saved.
It’s ours! A trained loss assessor from Harris Balcombe will be the only party who can be trusted to act within your best interests in the event of fire, flood, or theft. We have a 24/7 national helpline, and we’ll be on hand to manage your claim on your behalf from the moment you make that initial call.
For more information about how our loss assessors will help you, and for tips on when best to contact us, read our detailed online guide on when to appoint a loss assessor.
Call our 24/7 helpline on 0330 022 9179 for a free no obligations assessment