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Getting the most from your home insurance if disaster strikes this winter

With winter storms bringing the increased risk of property damage, the ABI reminds homeowners what to make sure they have the right cover to protect their home.

The ABI advises homeowners to:

  • Understand what you are insured for. Make sure you have read your policy so that the cover meets your needs. Home insurance policies can vary, including if you are covered for accidental damage, or for damage to possessions away from your home.
  • Check your excess. The excess is the first part of a claim which you have to pay yourself. Different sections of your policy may have different levels of excess, so make sure you know what these are as it may help you decide whether to claim.
  • Know who your insurer is. Many people shop around at renewal, so if you have changed your insurer recently make sure you have their details. Be aware that you may have a different insurer for your buildings and your contents cover.

And if the worst happens and you need to claim:

  • Have your claim contact details handy. Bad weather can strike unexpectedly and you may need to contact your insurer quickly. Most insurers have 24-hour emergency helplines, for speedy advice.
  • If necessary arrange temporary repairs to stop any damage getting worse. If you can, call your insurer emergency helpline first for advice. Keep any receipts as these will form part of your claim.
  • Do not rush to any throw damaged items away, unless they are a health hazard, (such as rotting food) as your insurer may want to inspect them. Your insurer can quickly advise you on this.
  • Remember that home insurance is not a maintenance contract. It is designed to cover a range of risks such as flood, storm damage, fire, theft as set out in the policy. It will not cover problems from wear and tear or poor maintenance. Follow ABI’s ‘winter fit’ advice for more information.

Mark Shepherd, Manager, General Insurance, ABI, said:

Mark Shepherd"Insurers know that making a claim can come at a very stressful time. Every day home insurers pay out £8 million to customers and are always looking at how to make claiming as simple, speedy and smooth as possible.

"Your home is likely to be your biggest asset yet few of us actually take the time to consider what insurance cover best suits our needs. While we cannot control events like bad weather, making sure you know what you are covered for will ensure that should the worst happens your insurer can help you recover as quickly as possible."

Further information and advice on what home insurance covers and how to claim can be found in our Home Insurance section.

Last updated 01/07/2016