Home Insurance – Things you need to know

14 Jan, 2020

Home Insurance – Things you need to know

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Many of our homeowners on HouseSitMatch manage their home insurance automatically and almost by remote control, as a way to cover a major asset in their financial portfolio. However, there are many small standard rules to home insurance that you need to be aware of.

In some countries home insurance is a legal requirement, but not in all. However ensuring your property is covered for every eventuality is advisable on the grounds that it is likely a very valuable asset.

In fact experts advise that you actually proactively manage your tiny house insurance policy in order to ensure that you and your property are covered.

Are you unknowingly invalidating your home insurance?

Home insurance protects us financially should any disaster occur at our property.

Hopefully, you will never have to make a claim against it, but if you do, are you aware of the stipulations in your policy which could cause your provider to refuse a claim? Whether you have housesitters coming in or you are planning an extension to your house, you need to be mindful of the terms of your home insurance. Not paying attention to these details can actually invalidate your policy, so it is really worth paying attention to the minor details. Here is a handy blog to help you maintain your home insurance policy correctly.

home insurance

Lawsure want to save consumers from the sting of invalidated insurance claims by making you aware of 8 Things That Could Invalidate Your Home Insurance.

You can see more information here: https://www.lawsureinsurance.co.uk/8-things-that-could-invalidate-your-home-insurance/.

Where you aware of these? Perhaps you have already been refused a claim or you are looking for a new provider? These are all things to be aware of to protect you and your home in the future.

1.   Home insurance – When getting the builders In

2-in-5 Brits are now opting to renovate their homes instead of moving house, to make the most of their building footprint. Ever-growing families and an increasing need for space mean this is an incredibly popular choice for homeowners. But did you know you should always notify your home insurance provider if doing so?

home insurance
Many homeowners build an extension to make the most of their property footprint

If you are simply replacing carpets or painting walls, you will not need to declare this, but should you be making any structural changes like an extension, your provider should be made aware. The reasons for this are logical:

Firstly, the value of your property will most likely increase and your policy and premium need to reflect this.

Secondly, your property may be deemed at risk while works are being carried out. Unknown workmen with access to your property could be seen as a danger to your home and contents, also your structure may not be as secure as walls, doors and windows are demolished and awaiting new installation.

Lastly, if your neighbours have enjoyed natural light in their property for a certain period of time, they may have obtained ‘Right To Light’. And if your new building works blocks this, they may be entitled to compensation. By having insurance against this, you can cover yourself from a nasty court bill. For more information on the right to light insurance visit here: https://www.lawsureinsurance.co.uk/our-products/title-protection/rights-light/.

You should always make your insurance provider aware of any changes before work commences to ensure you are fully protected should something happen.

Take care of the details in your policy to ensure your property is insured

2.   Lock shock and home insurance

It may seem obvious, but you should always lock your doors and windows when leaving your property. Burglars are opportunists and can enter an unlocked window and be out again within minutes.

15% of burglaries occur from thieves gaining access from an unlocked window, so it is not worth taking the risk.

If you do not lock up and become a victim of burglary, your claim may be denied. This is due to most policies stating you must ‘take reasonable care’ when protecting your home and failing to lock your windows and doors is seen as you not doing so.

Even if you are just popping to the shop for some milk or even into your garden to enjoy the sunshine, make sure your home is secure to prevent intruders.

3.   Leaving an empty property

Everybody needs a holiday now and then and your insurance provider understands this. If you are going away for a few weeks, you will not need to declare this, especially if you have housesitters in to keep your home occupied and protected. However, if your property will be empty for longer than say 4 weeks, you should notify them. Typically the period is 30+ days but this can vary between policies, so it is best to check the fine print in your own policy.

You may be required to take out unoccupied property insurance for this period, although this will cost extra, it will be far cheaper than having to cover the costs of an unpaid claim.

Ensuring you have a checked housesitter present during your absence usually helps and reduces the risk.

Rural properties standing vacant are especially vulnerable

Similarly, if you are having a house-sitter, even if it is a close friend, you should make your insurance company aware of this so it can be noted and won’t come as an unwanted surprise if you need to make a claim.

4.   Fabricating your items

The average UK home’s contents are worth around £35,000, but this does not mean it definitely applies to you. When taking out your policy, you will be asked how much your contents are worth should you need to replace them.

Over exaggerating this value, even by accident, could leave you out-of-pocket as your insurer may refuse your claim. Really take the time to evaluate your contents, remember high-value items such as jewellery and technology may need to be declared separately.

Take into account exactly what would need replacing should the worst happen, such as a fire or a flood. Include furniture, clothing, toys and even toiletries.

5.   Sharing Holiday Selfies

This is one more people are becoming aware of but it is still a common mistake with policyholders. Showing off your holiday selfies in real-time is an advert to potential burglars, showing that your home is empty. Location tagging via social media lets others know exactly where you are. So they’ll have an idea of how long it will take you to get home which exposes your home to risk.

As you are putting your home security at risk on social media, your claim could be refused. Take the proper precautions to secure your property.

1 in 12 Brits were burgled while placing their location on social media in 2018. We aren’t saying you can’t post your holiday snaps. It is just best to wait until you’ve returned home before doing so.

6.   In the Dog House

As a nation of dog lovers, we all want to ensure our furry friends have the best life we can offer. For many of us, this includes installing a dog flap. This way our pets can enjoy our gardens when we are out.

However, a dog flap can be seen to compromise the integrity of your doors. Nimble burglars can fit through many of of today’s dog flap designs.

Large unlockable dog flap designs can leave your doors vulnerable

Before installing one, notify your provider. It is unlikely to cause any major changes to your policy. However, letting them know will save a lot of hassle in the future should anything happen.

7.   Getting a House Mate

Renting out a spare room is a great way to make some extra income. Around 3% of us are now doing just that. Before you do welcome someone into your home, check the fine print of your policy.

Even if you have a friend come to live with you, your insurance provider will see this as an unknown adult with keys and access to your property. It could be classed as a risk that was undeclared.

It is also best to notify your provider before moving anyone into your property, including a housesitter.

And when you make an arrangement with a housesitter ensure they have been checked and they come from a reputable and managed housesitting network like HouseSitMatch.com.

8.   Sprucing Your Doors

When you took out your policy, you would have been asked numerous questions about your security measures. This would have included details about windows, door and locks.

If you have decided to modernised these and have new ones installed, let your provider know. This will change security. It is most likely that these new additions will add heighten security and could even cause your premium to go down.

To join HouseSitMatch as either a homeowner or a housesitter join our network as a member. We’ll offer guides and support at every stage to help you ensure secure housesitting collaborations.

As a Homeowner you’ll benefit from access to a wide range of checked housesitters, and support from our Admin.

As a housesitter you’ll benefit from a vast range of housesitting assignments in a range of countries across the world.

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Founder and Director of HouseSitMatch - I'm a hands-on Admin on the site. Please ask any questions and as soon as I can I'll happily answer and assist where I can.

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