Contents insurance is essential for every homeowner, and with a UK home burglary every 106 seconds1, it’s vital you’re protected should the worst happen. However, it’s good to know that certain things can invalidate your policy and push you outside the guidelines of your insurance policy.
Insurance provider SO-SURE, has compiled a list of seemingly small actions to be aware of that can void your contents insurance. Check out the tips below for the top nine things that could cost you more money and invalidate your insurance.
- Keeping quiet about an accident
Even if it’s something small that’s happened, keep your contents insurer in the know even if you don’t intend on making a claim. Anything from a chipped sink to a dint in the wall should be made apparent to your insurer. Not declaring accidents could impact any future claims you try to make.
- Installing pet doors
Whilst it may be a lot easier for you and your pet to have a door flap installed, this can affect or even void an insurance claim. Some insurers say it can make your door less secure and more prone to damage, so just make sure to inform them if you have a pet door installed. In some cases, it could mean you have to pay a slightly higher premium.
- Over-exaggerating the value of items
While the exact cost of the contents of your home isn’t necessary, an accurate valuation of your items is needed when getting contents insurance. You should be careful not to over-exaggerate the value of items in your home, this is fraud and can risk invalidating your entire claim. For example, if you say that an old TV is worth thousands rather than hundreds, you may end up with a much larger bill should the worst happen!
It’s important to add details of valuable personal belongings and any high-risk items over a certain value to ensure that they are included within your contents policy, such as:
- Tech (computers, laptops and tablets)
- Rare/collectable items
- Dodgy locks
Keeping your home as secure as possible is every homeowner’s goal, so be sure to keep your locks in good working condition, or it may cost you money.
Each insurer will expect a minimum level of security to keep you covered, depending on where you live and the level of cover you opt for. Similarly, the types of locks you have should be considered to meet the standard that your policy indicates you need. If these are poorly maintained or faulty, insurers may reject any claims you make.
For most cases, insurers will look favourably on those who have high quality and well-maintained locks, and sometimes favour additional security such as burglar alarms when deciding your premiums.
- Not updating us when something changes
You should update your provider when any personal circumstances change, such as changing jobs or moving address. This is to avoid successful claims being changed and could lead to you having to pay a premium, or worse, being void altogether. Have any DIY projects in mind? This also applies to any home changes, such as building work and renovations, as contents are at risk of being damaged throughout this period.
- Sharing holiday selfies
An innocent selfie of your family on holiday may seem harmless, but it could attract burglars by letting them know that your home is empty, offering a prime time for them to take advantage of your vacant property.
It may invalidate your contents insurance if you are seen to publicly show that the residents of your home are away, so be careful what to share and when to share it. Perhaps share your holiday snaps when you get home and are flicking through the camera roll!
- Using your home for business
The pandemic has changed the way we work, with many more of us being able to work from home and having more flexible hours, so how does this affect content insurance? Some insurers may need you to update your cover to include office equipment and tech, like printers and laptops. However, if your business already has these items insured, there’s no reason to add this to your personal contents insurance, but it is always worth checking should you need to make a claim in the future.
- Having building work done
Building work can increase the risk of damage to your home’s structure and contents, so be sure to notify your insurer of the work that you are planning on undertaking, or you could risk invalidating any future claims.
Once you’ve told your insurer, you may have to pay more for the duration of the project, however, this is standard as your property is more at risk of damage throughout this time – it may be a one-off payment or an increase in premiums to cover the additional risk.
- Having a lodger
Since 2009, the total value of relief declared as a result of the government’s Rent-a-Room Scheme has increased by 187%, with more people than ever taking in tenants. To many insurance providers, a lodger can be considered an extra risk, for example, they may pose as an extra security risk or cause damage. You may have to change your policy to account for any additional people living in your home. Get a quote today to find out how we can cover your contents insurance needs.