Making a claim on your home insurance policy is not something you are likely to do regularly. Thankfully there are some simple steps you can take to keep the process as easy 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 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 folder in your email.

If these items are damaged or stolen and you need to claim for them on your policy, things can be easier if you can prove you owned them.

Bear in mind that most insurance policies have a single item limit, too, which is the maximum amount the insurer will pay out to replace a single item[1].

If you have possessions that are worth more than that - jewellery, for example - then it’s important to tell your insurer about them so they can be specified separately. If you don’t do this, you risk being underinsured, and you may receive a reduced payment if you need to make a claim. In some cases of underinsurance, your insurer may void your policy and you won’t receive any payment.

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 often ask for a crime reference number[2].

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.

If your insurance policy includes home emergency cover or you have purchased it as an optional add-on, then you can call your insurer directly, as emergency call-outs are usually included.

Speak to your insurer

Once any emergencies are dealt with, call your insurer to discuss your situation. It’s generally a good idea to involve your insurer as early as possible.

You’ll be able to find your insurer’s claims team contact details, as well as your policy number, on your policy booklet or on your insurer’s website.

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 contacting them, to ensure you don’t leave out any important information.

The insurer may need to inspect the damage and approve any repair work before agreeing to meet the costs, so remember to keep hold of any damaged items.

Take photos

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 it is a fairly low-value claim, then the evidence your insurer will look for may be small, too - 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 a loss adjuster[3] to come and assess the damage and help calculate the cost of the claim.

Any photos you can provide of your home or the possessions before and after the accident will help, too. 

Go to Solved  to find out more about how to protect your home.