“Home is where the heart is,” reads a lit-up hanger found in many Hong Kong hotels and resorts. As corny as it sounds, we all would admit that our lives are, in fact, significantly shaped by our homes. Recent research has suggested that the quality of a family’s house can have a significant impact on a child’s upbringing and couples’ relationships.
No wonder there is nothing sadder than losing your home to a flood or fire while also having to pay for all the damage you didn’t even cause. For this reason, many have opted to get home insurance so that their house-related risks are covered.
In this Kwiksure article, we will explore 6 home insurance claims do’s and don’ts so that you get the most out of your home insurance plan.
Getting home insurance is only half the battle, the other half is knowing how to best utilize your home insurance package so that the insurance claims you make are accepted by your insurer. Here are 3 things you should do to make sure that your home insurance claims do not get rejected.
1. Know the limits of your policy
Firstly, you need to know the limits of your home insurance package so that you are able to file claims that are covered by your plan when an incident occurs.
Most home insurance policies would cover for damage caused by burglary, electronic appliances breakdown, and property loss when moving houses. Nevertheless, as we will see later in this article, there are exceptions to all these conditions that could get your insurance claims rejected.
Additionally, home insurance plans typically have a list of “exclusions” which are considered to be too risky to cover, including:
- Natural disasters: If you live in a flood- or earthquake-prone area, your insurer may exclude coverage for flood or earthquake damages unless you pay more for your premium.
- Ongoing pollution: Suppose a nearby company has been dumping harmful chemicals into the river, which has caused damage to your house over time. In this case, your insurer will not cover any damages caused by the ongoing pollution. Instead, you may have to take legal action against the company so that it is charged for the damage caused to your property.
- Accidental damage: Most standard policies will not cover any accidental damage you cause to your own property. For instance, if you forget to turn off the stove and set fire to your kitchen, your insurer is unlikely to provide any coverage for the damage caused.
- Intentional damage: If your uncle has a bad temper, make sure he doesn’t lash out at your housewarming party and snap your dining table in half. Insurers typically do not cover for any intentional damage done by you or any member of your family.
- High-risk personal belongings: While most of the contents in your house should be covered as part of the home insurance plan, the insurer would often have exceptions to items that are expensive and can easily break, such as an old (and very expensive) painting or your son’s high-end gaming computer. To get these items covered, there may be extra charges.
2. Get home security
Secondly, getting home security, such as an automated fire sprinkler system or a burglar alarm, can help you secure your insurance claims in the event of a fire or a burglary. Furthermore, they can help you get premium discounts from your insurers.
Once purchased, you should also make sure that these security systems are installed properly. If your security devices are left turned-off or are not set up properly, insurers may still reject your claims.
3. Keep your property well-maintained
Finally, it is important to make sure that you maintain your property and fix any small issues that occur as soon as possible. Occasional minor water leakages in your ceiling may not bother you, but if left unaddressed, it can lead to a ceiling tear-down.
In this case, your insurer will not cover the cost of replacing your ceiling as the damage is caused by a lack of maintenance.
Now that you know what you need to do, here are 3 things you need to avoid doing in order to get your insurance claims accepted by your insurer.
1. Don’t leave your home unlocked
As mentioned, there are conditional exceptions to what your home insurance will cover, such as loss of possessions caused by burglary. Some insurers will only cover for burglary damage if there are signs of a ‘forced-entry’. This means that leaving your doors or windows unlocked can make the difference between getting your burglary claims accepted or rejected.
The same principle applies to any outbuildings you may have, such as storage sheds and guesthouses.
2. Don’t use faulty electrical appliances
Luckily, the days of exploding Samsung phones are over. However, there are also other electrical appliances that may pose a risk to your property, such as overheated lamps, loosely plugged battery chargers, or defective phone wires.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, between 2014 and 2016, electrical fires accounted for 6.3% of all residential fires, with approximately 24,000 fires being reported each year.
If any damage occurs from these faulty electrical appliances, your insurer may reject your claims on the basis that you have neglected to replace your faulty electrical appliances. For this reason, to get the most out of your home insurance package, make sure that you are not currently using any faulty or old electrical appliances that may set your living room ablaze as you’re reading this blog post.
3. Don’t sublet your property without letting your insurer know
As finding a place to live becomes harder in this day and age, subletting your property can be a great way to earn a stable income. Unfortunately, doing so increases the risk of property damage by third-party.
These are risks that your insurers will not cover under a regular home insurance plan. Hence, it is advisable to let your insurer know if you are subletting your property so that any necessary adjustments to your current home insurance package can be made.
Do some window shopping before you purchase a home insurance plan
Before purchasing a home insurance plan, it is always beneficial to survey through all the plans available and see which ones best fit your budget while also covering most of your risks.
However, doing a market survey all by yourself can be both daunting and time-consuming, as these home insurance plans often come with their own list of exclusions and special conditions. A faster way to find the best insurance for you is to contact insurance brokers, such as Kwiksure.
At Kwiksure, we are able to offer you free price comparisons from the best home insurance plans available in the market. With almost 20 years of experience, we work with the world’s top insurers to offer our clients a customized plan that meets their individual needs.