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13 September 2016

Understanding your Home Insurance Policy 

Changes in season bring with it changes in climate and although we can’t predict just how cold, wet and windy this autumn and winter will be, we can make sure our home insurance policies are firmly in place, protecting us whatever the weather. Here, Naveed Mohamed, Head of Products, offers homeowners advice on getting up to speed with your policies and the measures to take should you need to make a claim this autumn-winter. 

As the summer sun bids us farewell for another year, the inevitable Welsh weather fronts will likely be upon us in no time, making our homes much more vulnerable to cold or stormy conditions that could cause damage or accelerate wear and tear. While autumnal weather is the perfect time for curling up on the sofa with the latest box set series on the TV, it’s important to ensure your home insurance policies are completely up to date first. Then you can rest easy and relax into the changing season.

Check your policy
Let’s start with the basics: do you already have home insurance? And if so, is the policy still in date? Check this as soon as possible; this will give you plenty of time to renew or put a policy in place before the seasons change significantly. There are three types of home insurance: buildings, contents and a policy which combines both. Here’s a quick recap…

Contents insurance
This policy will cover belongings inside your home from damage or if they are stolen. If you’ve recently purchased something really expensive (anything in excess of £3000), let your insurance provider know so they can factor this into your policy. Be aware, The cost of your policy could increase because of this.

Buildings insurance 
This covers the permanent fixtures of your home; especially important during the winter, a building insurance policy will cover your home from damage in storms, lightning, flooding, falling trees and so on.

Understand your policy
Make sure you have a thorough read of your insurance policy sooner rather than later, so that you’re sure it meets your needs as we approach wintery weather. Most importantly, know your excess – that’s the first part of a claim which you will have to pay yourself. Different sections of your policy may have different levels of excess, so make sure you know what these are in the eventuality that you do need to make a claim.

Do what you can to protect your home
Don’t just sit and wait for potential weather fronts to hit. Instead take positive steps yourself to protect your home in the meantime. For instance, make sure your central heating is scheduled to come on at least once a day to avoid pipes freezing and potentially bursting. Or if you live in an area prone to flooding, install anti-flood air bricks that seal shut if water tries to get in. It’s a low-cost measure that could potentially reduce the cost of your monthly policy and avoid any need to make a claim. 

And if you do need to make a claim this winter…
First things first, have your insurance policy details handy. Bad weather can strike unexpectedly and a quick response to potential flooding or falling trees could be necessary. Rather than spending hours searching through hundreds of pieces of paper or scrolling back through months’ worth of emails, get those details to hand now just in case.
Remember, if you do have to make a claim, don’t be too hasty with throwing away damaged items unless they are a health hazard. Your insurer will probably want to inspect the items, but they will advise you on this. 

Your home is likely to be one of your biggest assets and most proud possessions. While we can’t predict the weather, ensuring your house is protected ahead of the season to come could be the difference between a large claim to your insurance provider, or a secure and comfortable end to 2016 in your home.

Published: 13/09/2016