Your Home - Insurance

Left AlignYou can insure the contents and the buildings of your home which should help give you peace of mind.

Here's a rundown of what you should be looking for.

As well as cover for theft and malicious damage, your contents policy will insure you against fire, flood, storm damage and other such "risks". You can't usually pick and choose which risks are covered as they come as a package. In fact, there are usually many other types of cover thrown in, such as "personal liability" - useful if you damage someone else's property and they sue you, for example. So it's well worth checking the policy wording to see exactly what's covered.

Single items over a certain value may have to be named on your policy, so again, check your policy and tell your insurer if you have anything that's particularly expensive like a computer or particular antique.

Some items, usually called "valuables and portable possessions" by insurance companies, are covered while away from your home. These will include things like jewellery, clothes and electrical equipment. This can be useful if you have children at university, but check out exactly what is and isn't covered, and for how much. Some companies offer special policies for student's possessions.

Insurers expect you to take "reasonable care" of your belongings. If you leave your house unlocked or valuables out in the open they probably won't pay a claim. It's hard to know exactly what is meant by "reasonable care" so ask your insurance broker or representative if you're uncertain. Any unresolved disputes can be taken up with the Financial Ombudsman.

Some insurance companies will also require that your house meets a certain standard of security, sometimes called the "minimum security condition". If your house does not meet the standard they may refuse to pay a claim. This standard will include measures such as the kind of doors and locks you must have and might ask for window locks or other security devices. Check your quote and policy very carefully to ensure you meet the criteria you have agreed upon.

On the other hand, many companies will offer discounts if your house is well secured. Certain types of alarm system could get you a lower premium. Remember to ask.
Although cover is often based on the number of bedrooms in your home, it's worth making sure you insure for the right amount. It's also a good idea to make a property list of everything you own, which will help if you ever make a claim.

If you are unfortunate enough to suffer a burglary, or theft, report it to the police straightaway, they will give you a crime number. You will need the crime number for your insurance claim. Don't delay in contacting your insurer or this could influence any reimbursement.