• Frequently Asked Questions

Am I covered?

For an additional cost you can choose to protect your home (buildings) and its contents against accidental damage.

The choices available are usually:

  • no accidental damage cover
  • limited accidental damage cover – This usually covers you for accidental damage to glass, sanitaryware and fixed glass.
  • extra accidental damage cover – This covers you for any other accidental damage

Examples of accidental damage to the building include: drilling into a pipe or cable, damage to a kitchen worktop caused by a hot pan or children drawing on the walls.

Examples of accidental damage to contents include: damage caused by spilling food or drink on your carpet or accidentally knocking over an ornament.

If your glasses were stolen or damaged due to an insured event in the home, such as a fire or a theft (check your policy wording for further details) then cover would be provided under the contents section.

To provide cover for accidental damage to your glasses within your home you would need full accidental damage cover. 

If you lose your glasses in the home you usually need personal belongings cover for this.  Contents cover is there for the main insured events such as fire, theft, escape of water.  A loss is not usually classed as one of the main events.

Glasses are usually covered under Personal Belongings/Personal Possessions cover.  This usually provides cover for loss, theft or damage anywhere in the world.

Usually, items are only covered away from home if you have chosen personal belongings/personal possessions cover.  This cover usually covers the items for loss, theft or accidental damage anywhere in the world.

Policies protect your home against the effects of storms and floods.  A buildings policy covers damage to buildings, garages and sheds and your contents policy will protect the items within your home and garden. Damage to hedges, gates and fences are usually not covered for damage caused by a storm.

You will need to check with your insurer. Some insurers will cover this within the home if it is stolen. If it is accidentally damaged they might cover it if you have the correct accidental damage cover.

Away from the home it may be covered under personal belongings/possessions cover or you might need to add gadget cover (where available).

Adding solar panels should not affect your insurance.  However, it is always advisable to check with your insurer.  Damage to solar panels would be covered under the buildings section of your policy so it is important that you ensure that the buildings sums insured is adequate to include the replacement cost of such items.  If they become accidentally damage then you would need the correct accidental damage to cover this event.

Bicycles

On most policies bicycles are covered under Contents cover as standard, but only while inside your home or its boundaries (loss of bicycles in the garden is usually excluded and limits apply for theft from outbuildings).
If you need cover outside of your home then you will need to select cycle cover which includes cover for bicycles when outside of the home.

A limit will apply so ensure you select the right limit for your bicycle(s).

Business Use

This will depend on the insurer.  They make cover certain things such as office furniture, computers and printers.  If you check your policy booklet there may be a definition which contains this information.

Tools which are used for business purposes and also those bought from a business account are not usually covered under home insurance.

It is advisable to seek advice and take out business insurance to cover these items.

 

Some insurers are happy to insure your home and its contents if the business use is confined to routine paperwork, telephone calls,  and computer work and childminding.  You will need to speak to your insurer to check what they cover.  You may need to contact a broker to find out which insurers will cover this.

Cancelling a policy

Usually, your insurer will want you to phone them.  If your policy is approaching the renewal date then you could let your policy lapse at this date.  Insurers do not normally charge if you lapse your policy.

If you want to cancel your policy part way through the year which you have purchased cover for (known as mid-term cancellation) the insurer may charge you a cancellation fee.

Claims

For an additional cost you can choose to protect your home (buildings) and its contents against accidental damage.

The choices available are usually:

  • no accidental damage cover
  • limited accidental damage cover – This usually covers you for accidental damage to glass, sanitaryware and fixed glass.
  • extra accidental damage cover – This covers you for any other accidental damage

Examples of accidental damage to the building include: drilling into a pipe or cable, damage to a kitchen worktop caused by a hot pan or children drawing on the walls.

Examples of accidental damage to contents include: damage caused by spilling food or drink on your carpet or accidentally knocking over an ornament.

If you have selected home emergency cover on your policy then you may be covered for the repair of the leak.

Some policies offer cover for tracing and accessing the leak and will pay reasonable costs.  For this to come into force there has to be damage to your buildings caused by the water, otherwise the cover will not apply.  In this instance you could contact a local plumber to find and repair the leak.  Ask them to show the cost of the repair on the invoice and the cost of tracing and accessing the leak separately.

Under Buildings cover is usually provided for loss of, or damage to the building caused by an escape of water.  Likewise under Contents cover, your contents would be insured against the same cause of damage.

You need to ensure that your property has not been left unoccupied for longer than the term specified on your policy.  If you are going to leave the property for more than the specified time you need to contact your insurer to check they will still provide cover.  If they still offer cover they may add endorsements to your policy.  Please ensure you read and understand these.

Policies protect your home against the effects of storms and floods.  A buildings policy covers damage to buildings, garages and sheds and your contents policy will protect the items within your home and garden. Damage to hedges, gates and fences are usually not covered for damage caused by a storm.

You do not need to provide proof of ownership for all of your possessions.  However, in the event of a claim, you may be asked to provide evidence of the value and ownership, such as purchase receipts and instruction manuals. It is essential to provide such documentation for any high-risk items specified on the policy, such as jewellery, watches or works of art.

You should contact the company or companies the insurer has assigned your claim to for any queries or issues you have.

If they are unable to help then contact your insurer directly.

Remove as much excess water as possible.  Do not use a household vacuum cleaner to suck up the water.

Remove portable furniture from the affected area.   or tin foil can be placed under wooden legs of furniture to help prevent water being absorbed.

Remove coloured rugs from fitted carpets as these may run.

Open windows and doors to ventilate the property.

If the floor under carpets is polished wood or parquet, carpets should be taken up (but kept for inspection). Please beware of gripper rods when removing carpets, especially where young children are present, as they can be very sharp.

There is no limit to the number of times you can make a claim in a year, however you must take all reasonable care to prevent loss, injury or liability, damage or accidents and to maintain all property covered under the policy in good condition.  Any claim that you make could affect your No Claims Discount when your policy renews.

This is entirely your own decision.  A loss assessor will charge a fee for their service or deduct their fee from any cash settlement the insurance company may offer.  It may be easier to deal with the insurance company yourself.

It makes sense to have both buildings and contents cover with the same insurer because if you need to make a claim you will usually only have to pay one excess.  If your cover is split then you will have to pay an excess to each insurer.

If you need to make a claim which damages your home and contents it is a lot easier to deal with one company rather than two.

This answer assumes your policy covers you for alternative accommodation.

If the flood damage to your home is so extensive that you can’t stay there, your insurer will usually arrange to put you and your family into temporary emergency accommodation while repairs are being carried out.  All reasonable costs are usually covered by your home insurance policy up to the policy limits.

For a claim to be covered an insured event has to have happened.

An example of this – There is some heavy rain and water has come in through your roof and damaged the ceilings inside the property.  Rain can just highlight a maintenance issue.  It may be that your roof is showing signs of wear and tear.  Insurance does not provide cover to maintain a property.

 

Check with your insurer about how they settle the claims.  The majority of insurers settle claims on a ‘new for old’ basis.  You might find they make a deduction for wear and tear on certain items, such as clothes.

Settlement is based on the item you had and not the price you paid for the item.

An example:  You had a 55 inch television purchased for £1,300 about ten years ago.  The replacement model is based on the specifications of the television and not the price.  There might be a suitable replacement available which is £1,000 less than the original price and this is what your insurer would offer you.  If you would prefer a cash settlement you might be offered a lower amount because the insurer will receive a discount from their supplier if they were to provide you with a television.

Cover limits

You need to tell your insurer about individual items with a replacement cost of more than the Single Article Limit and which fall under the definition of valuables or personal belongings.  Valuables usually include jewellery, watches, furs, items or sets or collections of gold, silver or other precious metals, works of art, sets of stamps or coins or medals all belonging to you or any member of your family.

Endorsements

An Endorsement is a term used to describe an amendment to a policy document.  An endorsement is sometimes referred to as an Addendum.

Its purpose is to record any change to the original terms of the insurance so as to reflect the negotiated agreement between the parties.  An endorsement may either be attached to the policy or included in the policy document, usually towards the back.  It may be used to vary the terms of a standard policy in which case it will be attached from the inception of the cover or it may be added to the policy during the term of the policy to reflect a mid-term change in the cover.

Endorsements are usually used to

  • Extend cover
  • Restrict cover
  • Exclude cover
  • Clarify intentions

Endorsements are part of the contract of insurance and are governed in the same way; by contract law.

If a policy has been amended by endorsement at inception then it will override the original terms of the policy, as applicable, to reflect the true intention of the parties to the contract. It will be assumed (in law) that the amendment was a deliberate act and the effects of the change had been considered and were intended.

Flooding

During periods of heavy prolonged rain, listen to local radio or television for flood warnings.  You can also call the Environment Agency’s Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or check the Environment Agencies website.

Insurers provide quotes for homeowners in all parts of the country.  If your home is in an area with a known history of flooding or subsidence, insurers will require further details from you to assess what cover they may be able to offer.

This answer assumes your policy covers you for alternative accommodation.

If the flood damage to your home is so extensive that you can’t stay there, your insurer will usually arrange to put you and your family into temporary emergency accommodation while repairs are being carried out.  All reasonable costs are usually covered by your home insurance policy up to the policy limits.

General Advice

  • Make sure all pipes and tanks in the loft space are fully lagged.
  • Find your main stopcock and make sure you can turn it off and on.  If you have a water meter, the ‘off’ switch is on the meter.  The meter is usually outside your house.
  • Repair any dripping taps.
  • Check your loft insulation is thick enough and is in good condition.
  • Leave your heating on to maintain an air temperature of at least 5c (40F) especially if you are away for more than a day or two during the winter months.
  • Open the loft trap door to allow warm air to reach the loft.

Landlord cover

Some insurers will provide limited cover if you let your property.  Another option is to choose a landlord policy.

You could either contact a local insurance broker who could look for this type of cover for you or contact an insurer such as Direct Line who provide landlord cover.

Moving home

This depends on your insurer.  You will need to check with your insurer.

Moving home can affect your premium because of the change of postcode and the associated risks which are taken into account when setting a premium.

Personal Items Cover

Some policies such as Barclays You Shaped and TSB Pick and Protect offer cover to meet your requirements.  This might be for personal items, gadget, etc.

You will need to check with your insurer. Some insurers will cover this within the home if it is stolen. If it is accidentally damaged they might cover it if you have the correct accidental damage cover.

Away from the home it may be covered under personal belongings/possessions cover or you might need to add gadget cover (where available).

Policy amendments

Some insurers allow you to do this online.  If you are unable to do this then you can phone your insurer who will make the amendment for you.  Some insurers charge you to make amendments to your policy.

Policy assumptions

You might your insurer will assume the following details.  If you get a quote over the phone the advisor will check this with you and if you obtain a quote online then you need to check the assumptions.  Please ensure you read and understand the assumptions before agreeing to them.  If you cannot agree to them you will need to advise your insurer.  If you are in a claim situation and it becomes apparent that one of the assumptions is incorrect then your insurer could refuse to pay the claim.

Policy cover

For an additional cost you can choose to protect your home (buildings) and its contents against accidental damage.

The choices available are usually:

  • no accidental damage cover
  • limited accidental damage cover – This usually covers you for accidental damage to glass, sanitaryware and fixed glass.
  • extra accidental damage cover – This covers you for any other accidental damage

Examples of accidental damage to the building include: drilling into a pipe or cable, damage to a kitchen worktop caused by a hot pan or children drawing on the walls.

Examples of accidental damage to contents include: damage caused by spilling food or drink on your carpet or accidentally knocking over an ornament.

If you have selected home emergency cover on your policy then you may be covered for the repair of the leak.

Some policies offer cover for tracing and accessing the leak and will pay reasonable costs.  For this to come into force there has to be damage to your buildings caused by the water, otherwise the cover will not apply.  In this instance you could contact a local plumber to find and repair the leak.  Ask them to show the cost of the repair on the invoice and the cost of tracing and accessing the leak separately.

Under Buildings cover is usually provided for loss of, or damage to the building caused by an escape of water.  Likewise under Contents cover, your contents would be insured against the same cause of damage.

You need to ensure that your property has not been left unoccupied for longer than the term specified on your policy.  If you are going to leave the property for more than the specified time you need to contact your insurer to check they will still provide cover.  If they still offer cover they may add endorsements to your policy.  Please ensure you read and understand these.

The majority of insurers will offer this cover.  This is an addon and you will have to pay extra for this cover in addition to your main cover.

Loss or damage to satellite dishes due to an insured event such as fire, theft or storm is usually covered under the contents section of your policy.

On most policies bicycles are covered under Contents cover as standard, but only while inside your home or its boundaries (loss of bicycles in the garden is usually excluded and limits apply for theft from outbuildings).
If you need cover outside of your home then you will need to select cycle cover which includes cover for bicycles when outside of the home.

A limit will apply so ensure you select the right limit for your bicycle(s).

Some policies such as Barclays You Shaped and TSB Pick and Protect offer cover to meet your requirements.  This might be for personal items, gadget, etc.

Some insurers offer this facility but some have a standard amount they cover.  Check direct with the insurer.

You can take out contents and buildings policies separately if you wish, simply select the cover required when obtaining a quote. Please see our other question 

Claims

It makes sense to have both buildings and contents cover with the same insurer because if you need to make a claim you will usually only have to pay one excess.  If your cover is split then you will have to pay an excess to each insurer.

If you need to make a claim which damages your home and contents it is a lot easier to deal with one company rather than two.