Before the weather takes a turn for the worse, make sure you get yourself insurance savvy.
The weather events of recent years have seen an increase in property claims and this has shown many policyholders the limits of their policies. For some it has meant they are left wondering why they paid any premiums at all.
Many of you reading this will have policies already in place so let’s begin by trying to help you make the most of the cover you have.
Photographs are a must, take photographs of your home at least once every 6 months, especially high value items. Anything you have inherited or been given as a gift, so therefore have no receipt or proof of ownership, take a photograph, preferably of you wearing or using said item if possible to prove you possessed it.
Photographs of electrical items should include make and model where possible as this is the information insurance companies will be looking for if they are to replace.
For large pieces of furniture make sure you have the base of the item included in the photograph in case of flood. The depth of the water and how far it affected items will be very important when the insurance company decides whether to repair or replace these items.
Keep receipts, guarantees etc. for as long as you still have the items, preferably in an easily accessible folder that is watertight. If you have received emails confirming purchases, keep these in a folder which will be accessible via internet access. It may be an idea to take photographs or scan your paper receipts, just in case something happens to your folder, at least then you know you have them to hand.
Don’t just keep receipts for large purchases of household items, what about clothing, footwear etc.? Did you get that coat from Primark or John Lewis? What about those boots are they Timberland or Deichman? Did that fancy dress costume for you child come from the Disney Store or Asda? Can you prove it? If you can’t then the insurance company will be within their rights to offer the lowest replacement value whether they replace the item or offer cash.
Many policies have in the wording that the insurance company has the final say in how things are dealt with. Whether the contractors are chosen by them or you, whether items are replaced or a cash amount offered.
You can ask for a local contractor to be appointed, however the insurance company may decide they want their contractors to do the work as they have preferential rates.
You can ask for a cash settlement to replace items; however, the insurance company may only offer the amount it would cost them to replace the items.
This amount could be less than it would cost you as the insurance companies may have arranged discounted costs with some suppliers. So, what may cost you £500 to replace from a High-Street Store could cost an insurance company £400 with discounts from suppliers. Therefore, they will only offer you £400 cash as that is all it would cost them to replace the damaged item.
This is just a snippet of what it takes to be even a little insurance savvy, something we should all be as the insurance companies try to cut costs after the recent weather events.
More to follow, until then, go take those photographs and find those receipts.