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A Guide to Home Insurance & Saving with Online House Insurance Quotes

Problems, Difficulties & Issues

Home insurance is fine when it works as it is supposed and presumed to and gives us all a great deal of peace of mind. However its worth being aware of the potential difficulties in order to lessen the possibility of them occuring.

From the moment you take out house insurance you enter into a contract with the insurer. The details of the insurance contract come from the proposal form. This is the form that you complete either over the telephone with a sales representative, online electronically, or by filling out a written form yourself. As the proposal form is the basis of the insurance contract it is absolutely vital that the details you supply are 100% accurate. If this is not the case, then potentially the insurance company can deny any claim on the basis that the policy was null and void from its inception.

To avoid any problems, make sure that the details you supply on the proposal form are correct. The insurance schedule and policy document must be very closely checked for accuracy. Always notify your insurer whenever there is a change in your circumstances, however seemingly insignificant.

For the avoidance of doubt, always read and make sure you understand the small print of each and every clause of the policy document. Its important to think not just about what the policy includes, but what is excluded. A budget price policy may have several important exclusions. Policy extensions can easily be arranged to cover all eventualities. Watch out for limits on the cover of individual items as well as the total sum insured values for contents and rebuilding.

The best way to avoid the thorny issues of subsidence and flooding is not to buy a house in an area which is known to be affected by these difficulties. Existing homeowners will have their own insurance arrangements in place; problems can arise when new purchasers seek to arrange new insurance cover on a house affected by flooding or subsidence. At the very least, the available insurance options may well be severely limited. The surest way to ensure continuity of cover is to arrange it with the prior insurer of the property.

Always think ahead to avoid any difficulties with your home insurance company arising. When moving house it is important to maintain an appropriate level of insurance cover. Some policies offer full protection for contents during house removals. In addition, members of the British Association of Removers should have special insurance to cover your household contents whilst they are being moved from your old house to your new one.

Be aware of and avoid situations or scenarios which could render your house insurance invalid.

  • Always tell your insurer in advance of any changes of your circumstances. These include changes in the occupants of the property, changes or additions to the value of household contents; or changes in the use of the property, eg working from home or leaving the house unoccupied for longer than the period of time specified in the schedule of the policy document.
  • Carrying out diy jobs on the house for which you are not qualified, for example to the electrics, could invalidate any subsequent claim. In addition accidents arising from diy work may not be covered; check beforehand. Accidental damage may be non-standard and subject to an additional premium; home insurance policies vary, check yours carefully.
  • Where window, door, garage and outbuilding locks are fitted they must be used and be maintained in good working order. Do not forget to lock windows and doors when you leave the house for any period of time.

A relatively recent potential problem of mis-selling home insurance policies has arisen with the phenomenal growth of online house insurance comparison websites. More and more people use them as a quick and easy way to compare a range of quotes since by filling out a single brief proposal form you get access to many insurers quotes without having to laboriously approach each one individually.

Used appropriately these sites are a great help in making a decision. However the British Insurance Brokers' Association (Biba) have raised concerns, supported by survey results, that suggest that some people using insurance comparison websites may have purchased unsuitable policies. One difficulty may be that the cover is insufficiently explained, another problem BIBA highlights is that sometimes quotes offered are based on assumptions.

Therefore, as ever, when using insurance comparison websites avoid potential problems by doing some research into the policies and not necessarily simply accepting the cheapest level of cover on offer.

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