Insurance ClaimsIf you’re unfortunate enough to suffer damage to your home because of fire or flood, or lose items because of theft, it may well be you make a claim on your insurance to cover the cost of the losses or damage.

In the case of theft it’s important to know that your policy may be subject to minimum security arrangements. This means you are responsible for ensuring everything possible is done to make your home as secure as possible. Leaving a door or window open where a thief can enter, leaving your door unlocked or with keys in the lock or even leaving keys where they can be found (under a mat etc) could lead to your claim being invalid, so read your policy carefully, to make sure you know in which situations you are covered.

Most insurance companies will ask for a crime number which you will get from the police when they come to investigate your theft. The insurance company will contact the police for details of the incident to make sure your claim is valid.

So What do You Need to do if You Suffer a Loss or Damage?

You should inform your insurance company as soon as possible after the incident occurred. This can be done by phone during office hours, although some insurance companies do offer a 24 hour telephone claims line as well. When phoning have your policy documents in front of you, as you’ll need to know details like policy number and be prepared to give a description of what happened and the likely amount of the claim.

Emergency Repairs

In the case of a burglary you may have to make your home secure immediately, or you may need to phone a plumber if you have a flood or leak. You can go ahead and get this work done before making your claim as long as you only get emergency repairs carried out and the are done at a reasonable cost.

You will be responsible for paying for these repairs, not the insurance company. You should also be aware that your policy may not cover these repairs or only cover part of the costs incurred. It’s a good idea to have evidence of any damage that has been repaired by taking photographs before and after the work has been carried out. Any replacement parts or fittings should also be retained as proof of the work that has been carried out. This will help your insurance company assess and confirm the cause of the damage.

How Long Will it be Before a Claim is Settled?

This will vary depending on the damage or value of the losses, as all claims are different. Most contents claims or minor damage claims are made within a few days, but any claims involving major structural damage to a building can take a lot longer and may take up to three months or longer before being settled.

Will I Receive Cash or Replacement Goods When my Claim is Settled?

Most household policies are worded so the decision on how a settlement is made lies solely with the insurers. If you have valid reasons why you do not want replacement services or goods as the means of settlement, then you should discuss this with your insurers.

Try and be aware of what your current policy actually covers. If you are unsure, or don’t think it gives you adequate cover, you should discuss it with your insurance company, or maybe think about changing to a policy that covers all your needs.