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How to make a home insurance claim

Whether it’s buildings, contents or both, taking out home insurance gives you the peace of mind of knowing that, if the worst happened, you’d be protected. If your home had a fire, flood, or break-in, you wouldn’t be left out of pocket trying to get everything back to normal.

While home insurance eases the financial burden, no one wants to be in a position where they have to make a claim. However, if you do, this guide may help make the process as pain-free as possible.

Step-by-step guide to making a home insurance claim

  1. Find your policy documents and information booklet. These will tell you your policy number and your insurer’s claims helpline.
  2. Unless you’ve been burgled, ring the helpline first and explain what’s happened to the advisor. If you’ve been burgled, or the problem is the result of another crime, you’ll need to contact the police first. They’ll come to your property to collect any evidence and get a statement. Until they give you a crime reference number, you won’t be able to make an insurance claim.
  3. Once you’ve told your insurer what’s happened, you may be asked to fill in a claims form, if the claim can’t be handled over the phone. These can usually be downloaded from the insurer’s website, or you can ask your insurer to send you a paper copy, if you prefer. It’s important you fill out the form as soon as possible, as your insurer will set a deadline for this.
  4. Try to give your insurer as much evidence as you can. Ideally, try to provide your insurer with any purchase receipts, as many photos of the damaged or stolen items as possible. Insurers may or may not require an estimate for the cost of repair/replacement, depending on the circumstances. Make sure you don’t dispose of any damaged items, as your insurer may need to inspect them when assessing your claim.
  5. If your claim’s complex, or for a large amount of money, your insurer may instruct a loss adjuster to come to your property and confirm what’s been damaged and how much it will cost to put right or replace. If you’ve been honest about the details of your claim, this visit should be a formality.
  6. Insurers usually ask for your compulsory excess to be paid, and the voluntary excess if applicable, before they pay-out. Depending on your claim and on your insurer’s procedures, your excess may either be deducted from your settlement or you may be asked to pay it directly to a supplier/contractor. Your insurer will then either provide you the money you need to repair or replace the damaged or stolen items, or arrange for one of their approved repair companies to fix the problem for you.

Top tips

  • If the damaged item is inexpensive, or your excess means you’ll receive little back to fix or replace it, you may decide not to make a claim, so you can keep your no claims discount going forward. This is completely your choice, but bear in mind that you’re still required to disclose incidents or losses to your insurer.
  • Read your policy documents thoroughly to make sure you’re fully aware of what your policy covers. This will also help you determine if you can use any of your optional cover when you make your claim.
  • When your current home insurance policy is due to expire, it’s worth shopping around to find the best possible deal. You shouldn’t risk not being covered, should the unforeseeable happen.

Find out more about making a home insurance claim with Rias here >>