top 10 home insurance mistakes

When you buy a home, it’s not always easy choosing the right level of cover to protect you if things go wrong. Here we’ve put together a list of the most common home insurance mistakes. By getting things right from the start, you can avoid costly errors further down the line.

Step 1

Not making the most of your cover.

Many people pay out of their own pocket to replace or repair things that may be covered by their insurance, such as garden furniture or a broken laptop. Always read your policy documents carefully so you know exactly what you can and can’t claim for.

Step 2

Doubling up your cover.

Got a current account? It might come with Home Emergency Cover. Check if you’re already covered by another financial product before you buy more insurance.

Step 3

Assuming you’re covered for accidents.

If you accidentally knock a tin of paint over or put your foot through a floorboard while doing some DIY, you might assume you can make a claim on your insurance. But most home insurance policies have Accidental Damage only as an optional extra. It’s important to be clear on exactly what you’re covered for.

Step 4

Not insuring your home for its rebuild value.

In the event of a disaster that requires a full rebuild, your buildings insurance cover might not be enough. The rebuild value is how much it would cost to completely rebuild the property from scratch. If you’ve had a homebuyer’s survey done, you can find the rebuild cost in the report.

Step 5

Over or undervaluing your possessions.

If you undervalue how much things cost to replace, you might not be fully covered for them. If you overvalue them, you could be paying too much to insure them. This is particularly important for jewellery or specialist items like musical instruments and works of art, so make sure you get your items valued regularly. Each policy is different so check for limits that may apply.

Step 6

Misunderstanding exclusions.

A home insurance claim may be rejected on the grounds of wear and tear or poor maintenance. Say your roof starts leaking, if you’ve never cleaned the guttering, your insurer may refuse to pay for repairs.

Step 7

Setting your excess too high/low.

Excess is an amount you agree to put towards an insurance claim. If it’s too low, you could end up with a large premium. Too high and you’ll pay more if something goes wrong and you need to claim – which may not always be cost-effective.

Step 8

Not dealing with problems or claiming quickly enough.

If you need to make a claim, you should always do so as soon as possible. If you wait too long, your claim may become void.

Step 9

Not updating your insurance company about life changes.

Started a home-based business? Had an extension built or you’ve decided to rent out your spare room? Any change in the property use could mean a change in your premium. If in doubt, check with your insurer.

Step 10

Inadequate Liability Insurance.

We hope it never happens, but what if your tree falls on to your neighbour’s fence? Most home insurance policies include liability insurance to cover those named on the policy so check how much your policy covers you for.

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Important information

Halifax is a division of Bank of Scotland plc. Registered in Scotland No. SC327000. Registered Office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ. Bank of Scotland plc is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 169628.