Making a claim on your home insurance policy can be an unfamiliar experience; it’s not something you are likely to do too regularly.
Thankfully there are some simple steps you can follow to keep the process as straightforward as possible and improve your chances of making a successful claim.
Keep your receipts
The first stage takes place long before you need to make a claim. It’s a really good idea to keep the receipts for any large purchases you make, whether that’s for a sofa or an expensive electronics system, and store them somewhere safe. That goes for online receipts too - you can print them off, or keep them somewhere that you will be able to access even if you no longer have your computer to hand, such as a special folder in your email.
Should these items be damaged or stolen and you need to claim for them on your policy, your case will be greatly helped if you can prove you actually owned them in the first place. Bank and credit card statements are also acceptable as well as any photos you have taken of items before and after the event.
Bear in mind that your policy will have a single item limit too, which is the maximum amount the insurer will pay out to replace a single item. This will typically be around £1,000-£1,500.
If you have possessions worth more than that - high-end jewellery for example - then it’s a smart move to have those items named separately, with valuations, on the policy as they will then not be subject to this single item limit.
Deal with the emergency at hand
If a pipe has burst and is flooding your home, or there is another emergency that needs to be dealt with, then bringing in expert help needs to be the immediate step to stop any further damage or loss. In the event of a burglary or malicious damage, the police should be your first port of call and your insurer will ask for a crime reference number.
Just remember to keep the receipts for any immediate work that you need to pay for as well as a repairer’s report including the cause of the damage and whether it’s beyond repair..
Speak to your insurer
Once any emergencies are dealt with, call your insurer to discuss your situation. Most policies have quite a sizeable window in which you can make a claim, but it’s generally a good idea to involve your insurer as early as possible.
You’ll be able to find the number to call, as well as your policy number, on your policy documents or your insurer’s website, so keep them in a safe place, so you can get your hands on them quickly if need be.
At this point, you’ll need to talk them through exactly what has happened. You might want to write down a few bullet points before making the call, to ensure you don’t leave out any important information.
Usually the insurer needs to inspect the damage and approve any repair work before agreeing to meet the costs, so remember to keep hold of any damaged items as your insurer may need to see them.
While your priority will be to ensure your property is safe and secure, also be aware that you’ll need to provide some evidence of exactly what happened if your claim is going to be successful.
If it is a fairly small claim, then the evidence your insurer will look for will likely be quite small - photos of the damage, for example.
However, if the situation is more severe - extensive flood damage for example - then the insurer will look to appoint and send out a loss adjuster to see exactly what has happened.
Any photos you can provide of your home or the possessions before and after the accident will help with your case too.