Common claims

Did you know...

We hope you never need to make a home insurance claim so we’ve put together our top tips to protect yourself from what tend to be the most common claims.

Leaking water

It’s really important to check pipe work for damage or leaks before you go away to prevent coming home to a water damage disaster. If you’re going to be away from home for longer than the agreed time, you must tell your insurer.

What do we mean by water damage?

Leaking water damage is typically caused by water from inside the house, such as from a leaking radiator or pipe work.

Common causes can be faulty goods, poor workmanship or wear and tear. Most insurers will cover the damage caused by the water but not the repair to the leak, unless its caused by freezing.

So how can you avoid leaks in your home?

  • Keep an eye out for any possible leaks. If you see a drop in water pressure, a damp patch on walls or ceilings or even small puddles in cupboards or near appliances, investigate why and where it may have started. Do not ignore these issues as they could become significantly worse if not dealt with.
  • Listen out for irregular noises. If you hear dripping noises, this could be a sign that there is a leak hidden under the baths or behind walls.
  • Look out for mould. Maintain grouting and seals around baths, showers and taps to avoid mould which could lead to decay and potential leaks.
  • Maintain your boiler and heating system. Make sure to have both appliances serviced often by a recognised professional to avoid potential water damage.
  • Keep plug holes free from blockages. Unblocking your plug holes regularly will make a big difference in the future and could avoid costly plumbing bills. Have a look at some products in your local shop which are easy to use and keep up regular DIY to avoid calling out a professional unless the issue becomes severe.
  • Don’t let your pipes freeze over. During the winter, set your central heating to at least 10 degrees day and night to avoid the pipes from freezing. In colder parts of the house such as attics, basements and outbuildings, add extra insulation to maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
  • Fit an auto stopcock. This helpful appliance can recognise a leak and shut off the water supply to avoid potential flooding.
  • Test your stopcock in advance. So you can be prepared if the worst was to happen one day, test by running a tap and make sure it completely stops when the main water is switched off.
  • Planning a getaway? If you're going to be away from home for longer than the agreed time, you must tell your insurer.
  • Read your policy documents carefully so you know what you are and aren’t covered for. In case you ever need to make a claim, save your insurer’s number in your phone along with your policy number.

Try these top tips on top of everyday maintenance to your home in order to avoid wear and tear.

Other common claims

  • It’s horrible to think that an unwanted visitor has been in your house and taken your belongings. Unfortunately, break-ins do happen so it’s important to secure your home as much as possible to avoid giving anyone easy access.

    Common situations resulting in a claim for theft occurring could include the home, shed or garage being broken into or personal belongings being stolen from someone whilst they’re away from the home. Always check that you have suitable buildings and contents cover that meet your needs should you ever have to make a claim.

    Our top tips:

    • Before you leave your home, take the time to make sure your property is secure.
    • Always double check that you’ve locked all doors and windows and in summer be more vigilant and avoid leaving windows open if you can as that’s a potential way in for thieves.
    • Keep all sheds, garages and gates locked and the keys out of sight in a safe place.
    • Consider fitting a 5 lever mortice deadlock and an alarm from a reputable company. Some insurers require certain security measures are applied to your policy. It’s important to check whether this applies to your particular policy.
    • If you go on holiday, don’t leave any valuable items on display and put lights on timers. It can be a good idea to ask someone you trust to keep an eye on the property and move your post so it’s not obvious that your home is unoccupied.
    • Don’t advertise on social media that you’re going away and keep calendars out of sight that show your plans.

    Read more about protecting your home from crime.

  • Accidents happen so it’s a good idea to make sure that your precious items are protected by your home insurance. Accidental damage can be defined as an unexpected accident that causes physical damage, for example, spilling wine on the carpet. Accidental damage cover doesn’t usually come as standard so it’s a good idea to check whether you need it and include it as part of your policy if you think you do.

    Common items claimed for under accidental damage could include TV’s, flooring, laptops and tablets.

    Our top tips:

    • When you redecorate, put dust sheets down, cover items and keep pets out of the way so they can’t trample paint through the house.
    • If you decide to put a TV up on the wall, have someone help you or get a professional in.
    • Protect your expensive electric items, for example, with a hardwearing case.
  • It’s not surprising that we see a surge in storm related claims during the winter season but even heavy thunderstorms occur during the summer which can cause damage. You can’t avoid Mother Nature but it’s worthwhile being as prepared as you possibly can be for the harsh weather.

    Common types of storm claims could involve damage to tiled roofs (e.g missing roof tiles or damaged slate), ceilings and walls, conservatories, flat roofs and guttering.

    Our top tips:

    • Keep your eye on the weather forecast.
    • Take any possible precautions to protect your home.
    • Keep your home well maintained and in a good state of repair (most home insurance policies do not cover you for wear and tear and bad weather can often highlight rather than cause existing maintenance issues). Read our top tips for keeping your home in shape.
    • Flat felt roofs normally need replacing about every ten years.
    • Make sure you have adequate buildings cover should the worst happen.

    More advice on how to prepare and protect your home against extreme weather.

* Sources

  • ABI property claims data up to 2015.
  • Common claims information taken from Lloyds Banking Group and its subsidiaries in 2015.

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.