This article was written by AXA home insurance providers.
Everyone who has ever bought a home insurance policy has done so on the basis that they fervently and passionately hope that they will never have to use it. Not making a claim on your home insurance means that you’re paying every month for something you never use, but then again you are building up no-claims bonus years for future discounts, and who on earth would want to go through the trauma of a house fire, burglary or flood?
But if you did have the misfortune of suffering from an event such as those, having home insurance would certainly make it easier to pick up the pieces again.
If you have to make a relatively minor claim against your insurance (e.g. for damage to a carpet, or fairly minor water damage), the first thing that you’ll need to do is phone your insurance company. They will send out some forms, by post or email, for you to complete. If it’s a straightforward matter, they may simply pay the claim. Or they may ask you to get three quotes for the necessary work to be carried out, then you’d have to send those quotes to the insurer and they would select the one they were prepared to pay for.
That can be very hard, though, because getting quotes from tradesmen usually involves paying a call-out fee as few will visit your home to give a free quote if they’re not sure that they will get any work out of it. When taking out a policy, it’s always worth asking how your insurer would process a claim where work was needed – would they arrange for a suitably-qualified tradesman to visit and assess the necessary work?
It’s a little different if you suffer a fire or other massive damage, or a burglary. In those circumstances an assessor employed by the insurers would visit your home to work out the value of what you have lost and report back to the insurers. They would look at evidence from the police and fire service, too, to establish whether or not you had a valid claim (for instance, if there was no sign of forced entry, you may not be covered for a burglary).
Your insurance company will then check that the damage you’re claiming for is covered by your policy and doesn’t fall under any of its standard exclusion clauses. Accidental damage will normally only be covered if you have taken out cover specifically for such events.
If during the course of their investigations it becomes clear to the assessor or your insurer that you have not been truthful in whatever information you gave when taking out your policy, they could refuse to pay your claim.
Making a claim against your insurance can sometimes be a lengthy process and it is made harder if your insurer is only contactable through a website, or if they do not return calls. Choosing a reputable insurer, which has a good track record for customer service, is often just as important as getting a good price for your premium. Go online and search customer reviews of companies to be sure of choosing one that will pay out and deal with your claim quickly and without fuss (AXA insurance is one such company, for example, and they allow you to make and track a claim online, day or night, so you can always see what’s happening).