Churchill Home Insurance

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How to Avoid Having to Make Claims on Your UK Home Insurance

Insurance cover can help you enjoy peace of mind about your property but should not substitute for common sense. Some personal items are irreplaceable if they are unique or have great sentimental value. When you file a claim, your premiums will increase in the future, so it is important to discourage accidents and intruders from causing the kind of mischief that would require you to file a claim. When your home is reduced to ashes from a fire, insurance is not really very comforting. Your entire life has gone up in smoke and could have been avoided by installing smoke detectors and keeping a fire extinguisher handy.

General Security

There are a number of general security steps to take to reduce the likelihood of accidents or home intrusions. They include the following.

  • Fire prevention. Have you boiler and appliances inspected each year. Make sure flammable material is not stored near the boiler. Fit each room with a smoke and carbon monoxide detector and check the batteries frequently. Home fire extinguishers can stop most small fires from escalating and are a cheap investment.
  • Keep your oven and grill clean to avoid possible grease fires. Fill pans for frying only one-third full. Never place toasters near drapers or curtains.
  • Keep home heaters away from soft furnishings. Never leave candles unattended and always extinguish them before sleeping.
  • Protect your home with an alarm system. Perimeter lighting on timers can discourage would-be criminals.
  • Lay gravel on your driveway so you can hear approaching traffic on foot or by vehicle.
  • Cancel milk, newspapers and postal service when away on business or holiday. When these papers accumulate, they are an open invitation to thieves. You may also choose to have a neighbour look in on the property and remove items, but make sure the person you select is trustworthy. If the neighbour is covered in tattoos and body piercings and appears strung out on drugs, they may not be the best choice.
  • Invest in a wall safe for valuable jewellery and critical deeds and documents. For items that you seldom need, consider placing them in your safety deposit box for added protection. Do not write down the combination to your safe and leave it your desk drawer. Protect your computer and accounts by requiring a password for access.
  • Do not place valuable items where they can be viewed by passers-by, especially near Christmas.
  • Make sure all outbuilding such as garages or sheds are kept locked when not being used. Most crimes are acts of opportunity, so anything you can do to minimise opportunity will discourage potential problems.

Insurance Cover Must be Accurate

  • Too much insurance will just result in you paying far more than necessary. Insurance companies are delighted to write these policies because they only need provide replacement value. However, If you choose cover that is insufficient, then you may not be able to cover your losses should an accident take place. The following tips will help ensure you are insured properly.

    Keep an accurate list of your property with photographic evidence to support any possible claim that may arise. Make sure the items are appraised and your insurance cover is sufficient to provide replacement value. This will change over the years and must be updated.
  • Insurance may have exclusions that could invalidate your policy. Have your insurance agent explain the terms of your policy and check your it personally to verify that all particulars are spelled out in writing.
  • Buy an invisible UV security pen and mark all your property.
  • Carefully check your flood insurance policy because if you are in a flood plain, it may be required that you take certain preventative measures. These common sense precautions can protect property or minimise damage. When severe weather threatens, keep sandbags on hand to place at entrances. Move as much furniture as possible to the second floor.
  • If you live in a Neighbourhood watch area, inform your insurance agent. This fact could reduce your premium, unless you enjoy supporting struggling multi-million pound companies.

Essential Maintenance

If you own a  home, you should understand that insurance is not a maintenance contract. You may consider a pre-winter checkup by a competent local builder if you are unable to attend to routine service yourself. You can minimise potential damages or insurance claims by understanding that routine maintenance is important.

  • Your home is highly susceptible to home invasion and winter damage if unchecked during the season. Storms and high winds can cause damages that can escalate.
  • Damaged chimneys and roofs can cause water damage inside that is far more extensive than the exterior damage, which can go unnoticed.
  • Gardens should be monitored for potential hazard. Trees should be kept free of dead wood and should not be near your home or power lines.
  • Windows, gates and shutters should be latched to prevent damage.
  • Pipes can burst and cause severe flooding if the damage remains undiscovered. A minimum amount of heat should be maintained throughout the winter months to protect against this development.
  • Blocked gutters and drains can cause leaks and water damage. They should be regularly cleaned, or you should consider installing gutters that are covered to prevent debris from accumulating.
  • You could be liable for walkways that are not kept clear in winter, if someone slips on ice and sustains an injury. You should arrange with a friend, relative, neighbour or local contractor to keep your walkways shovelled and salted during winter months if you are unable to see to the task yourself.
  • Most criminals choose to commit crime when opportunity arises. Minimise the risk by providing secure locks on doors and windows. An alarm may help deter invasions, but if the property is located in a rural area, that may be insufficient. Grills and shutters may be more effective for deterring criminals in this case.

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