Home Insurance Claims – Your Questions Answered
There is often much confusion amongst policyholders regarding settling home insurance claims. One of the most common questions we get asked is; am I covered for xyz situation? Of course every situation varies and each claim can be affected by the policy exclusions provided by a huge range of home insurance policies. However the claims process for most home insurance companies follows similar procedures and principles. Most notably, claims are settled on the principle of ‘indemnity’. The principle of indemnity is that the policyholder should be no financially better off or worse off after the event. The financial position should be the same. In the United Kingdom common types of home insurance claims are for burst pipes in freezing weather, fire related damage, theft or accidental loss.
If you have never submitted a home insurance claim before, you will not have the experience of going through the claims process. If you want to submit a home insurance claim, you should always contact your insurance company before you do anything else. In your policy documentation you will have a Claims Helpline telephone number. Most operate an out of hours service, to help you deal with more urgent claims (such as getting a tradesman out to fix a leaking pipe). When you ring this number one of the first things they want to establish, is whether or not you are actually covered under your existing policy for the claim in question. If there are specific policy exclusions – you may not have a valid claim. Some times this is not apparent on the first call and you may find your insurance company start to deal with your claim without actually admitting liability for it.. However, assuming the policyholder is covered, the telephone operator will then give them specific instructions as to what to do next. As it is highly likely you will need to call back at some point in the future, you will normally be assigned a claims number. All details of telephone calls and correspondence are logged against this number. A typical home insurance claim can take from between one week to six weeks, depending on the complexity and the potential repair work involved. More serious events such as flooding, can take a good deal longer. If you have to be re-housed during the restoration work, you will usually find that you are covered for ” Alternative Accommodation” . You insurance company or their appointed loss adjuster will help sort this out.
When dealing with home emergencies, it is only natural that home owners would like to rectify the problem as soon as possible. For instance a leaking pipe that is causing damage to the room below, needs urgent attention, to minimise the impact on other areas of the house. Another example would be when a roof blows off in a storm. Some people’s instant reaction would be to grab the Yellow Pages and ring up they closest emergency tradesman to come and fix the problem. If you choose to initiate a temporary repair yourself, to minimise the short term immediate damage, this is usually perfectly reasonable and is unlikely to invalidate the future home insurance claim….
However, if you take it upon yourself to employ tradesmen, to come up with a permanent solution to a damaged home – then at a later date submit a repair bill to the insurance company – it is possible that claim will be questioned or even rejected. This is because the insurer has no means of knowing whether the damage was even covered in the first place, or whether the contractors’ repair to it was professional and cost-effective. So before any permanent solutions are implemented, you must get approval from the insurer. For most building repair scenarios, you’re insurer is likely to want to get a number of different estimates from local suppliers or they may even have their own list of approved contractors. For most items of high value that have been lost or stolen, they may ask for proof of ownership. For this reason it is always a good idea to keep purchase receipts or valuations in a sdafe place, being able to produce these items after a loss can really help expedite a claims settlement. Likewise many insurance companies prefer to supply a replacement for lost contents items, by dealing with the original manufacturer direct to supply replacement. They can normally obtain a discount over retail prices and money saved on claims can help keep everyone’s premiums down In all situations their priority is to substantiate the loss. and during the process, they may need to appoint either their own or an independent loss adjuster to ensure that the proposed works or amounts are both reasonably priced and ( in the case of works) are carried out to a satisfactory standard.
A loss adjuster is often assigned to the home insurance claim, to make sure it is correct and the insurance company receives value for money. The threshold varies regarding when an adjuster is appointed can vary. For smaller claims (in the hundreds of pounds for single lost or stolen or broken items) – there is no real need to involve a loss adjuster. For example, a lost camera can be fairly easily replaced with identical, or very similar model of equivalent value. For larger more complex claims, that require the expert contribution of contractors, a loss adjuster may need to be involved. Although home insurance companies have vast experience in the nature and cost of building repairs, it is not until an adjuster actually goes to the policyholder’s home to view the damage in person, can a fair assessment of the repair bill be estimated. Building estimates from third party contractors can vary wildly. So an objective opinion of the loss adjuster can help determine that the claim itself is valid, and the work required to rectify the damage is fair and reasonable.
For a Home Insurance Quote contact Assetsure. We are able to offer insurance for a wide range of UK property types including nonstandard construction