Are You Accidentally Voiding Your Home Insurance?

One of the most important material possessions in our lives is our home. Not only are they the most expensive purchase in our lifetime, but they can also continuously cost us large sums of cash throughout our time living there.

Thankfully, we can avoid these huge bills with the purchase of home insurance to protect us from any disasters that may arise. Although many of us may never need to claim on these policies, the peace of mind it brings is invaluable.

But have you ever taken the time to scrutinize the small print of your home insurance policy? Most policyholders are unaware of stipulations hidden away in the fine print that could mean you have inadvertently voided your home insurance and your provider may be able to refuse a payout when you try to make a claim.

Lawsure Insurance have created a list of 8 Things That Could Invalidate Your Home Insurance, click here for more information. Knowing these things could help protect you and your family from financial struggles later on.

Renovations & Building Work

Instead of buying a new property, many homeowners are now opting to renovate and extend their current home. If you do this, you will need to tell your insurer what is going on.

If you are changing a few cabinets or installing a new carpet, you will not need to notify them of this but if you are making any structural changes then they need to be informed.

It is most likely your house will increase in value due to these changes and your policy will need to reflect this.

Also, with unknown builders having access to your property and belongings, your provider will see this as a risk and will want to know about it. Similarly, whilst renovation work is being carried out, the structural security of your home may be compromised from potential thieves with open walls and doors not yet been secured or fitted.

Neighbouring properties may have acquired the right to light and your new extension may have disrupted this. Adding right to light insurance to your policy will protect you from any consequence of this. You can read more about it here.

Having an Empty Property

All providers will understand that we all need a holiday now and then and your property will be vacant for a few weeks at a time. These short periods do not need to be declared, however, if you are planning to leave your home empty for extended periods of time you will need to notify your insurer.

Most policies state any periods longer than 30 days need to be declared, although this can vary. You may be required to obtain unoccupied property insurance but this will cover any kind of loss should something happen to your home or belongings.

Holiday Photos

We are all guilty of showing off our holiday snaps on social media, but this is a big ‘no’ for insurers.

Your policy is highly likely to state that you must take ‘reasonable care’ in ensuring the security of your property and posting holiday photos can compromise this.

This is due to you publicly sharing you are away from your property and it is vacant, letting burglars see you as an easy target.

There is a strong link between holiday social media posts and a rise in break-ins. One study showed 1 in 12 burglaries happen when the homeowner is on holiday. You can still share your holiday photos online, we just suggest you do this when you have returned home to avoid your provider refusing a claim.

Changes to Security

When taking out your initial policy, you will be asked numerous questions about your home security, including your doors, windows and any alarms fitted. Your premium will be based on these answers.

If you make any changes to this, such as having new windows and doors fitted, you will need to alert your provider. These changes will typically increase your home’s security and so your premium may go down.

Not notifying your provider of these changes could risk you being refused a claim in the future.

Renting Out a Spare Room

Renting out a spare room is a great way to make some extra income, but it can come with consequences. Your insurance provider will see another person having access to your property as a security risk, even if they are your best friend!

If you do not notify them before your lodger moves in, you may not be covered should something happen, even if it is not related to your new roommate. 

Getting a Doggy Door

We all love our pets and endeavour to provide them with the best life possible. Unfortunately, we do have to leave them alone from time to time and getting a doggy door installed is the perfect way for them to enjoy our yards while we are gone.

But these do come with added risks. As these doors not only compromise the integrity of our door’s structure, they can also be large enough for nimble burglars to fit through.

Always notify your policy provider that you are planning on installing one so they can alter your policy to protect you.

Exaggerating Your Contents Value

It is unlikely you know the exact value of your contents but this doesn’t mean you should guess when taking out your policy. If you accidentally, or deliberately exaggerate the value of your contents, this could cause problems in the future.

You should always take the time to really evaluate your contents, don’t just look at high-priced items such as computers, jewellery and furniture. Think about how much you would require to restart your life if the worst should happen, such as a fire or flood. Don’t forget clothes, toys, bedding and even toiletries. 

Not Locking Doors and Windows

It can be easy to forget to lock your doors and windows, especially if you are just popping down the street to say hi to a neighbour or meet your children at the bus stop. Remember, burglars are opportunists and if they spot an unlocked access point, they can be in and out in minutes.

Statistics show 15% of burglars enter properties through unlocked windows and if you are not using your locks, your provider is likely to refuse a payout.

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