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Is Your Home At Risk From Being Underinsured?

Apr 1, 2008
Do you have enough buildings and contents insurance on your home? The worst time to find out that you're underinsured is when you've made a claim and discover that the amount you are covered for doesn't match the cost of repairs or replacement of valued items.

Whilst insurance may not bring everything back exactly the way it was, having enough cover to fully compensate you for damage or lost contents can help you to return to some sense of normality.

Having the right level of cover for your home and its contents is a matter of making sure you start with appropriate cover and updating your policy when necessary. Here's a checklist of six key questions you need to ask to be sure that you're fully covered.

1. Are your property and belongings under-insured?

The total sum insured on your policy is the maximum amount that your insurer will pay out on a claim. If the value of your home has increased since you took out your policy, be sure to update it. You should also be certain to insure for replacement or rebuild cost rather than the property's market value. Your contents insurance should also be for the cost of replacement and should include everything that you own, including outdoor furniture and barbecues etc.

2. Is the single item limit on your policy high enough?

Most insurers set a maximum of about of about 1,500 for any single item in your home. If you have individual items in your home that are worth more than this limit, notify your insurer that you want to include them on your policy. You may need to pay a higher premium, or include an excess on your policy to cover items like electronic or audio equipment.

3. What is excluded from my cover?

Check the policy terms and conditions to find out what exclusions might exist - preferably before you buy. The cheaper the insurance quote, the more likely there are exclusions. The most common exclusions are for damage from floods, or for items that are most likely to be stolen or damaged.

4. Do you have new for old cover?

You'll want enough of a benefit to replace your belongings. New for old cover means that your insurer will pay out for the cost to buy the damaged or lost items new. Insurers generally won't provide this cover for clothing, household linen, bicycles and audio or computer equipment that is more than five years old.

5. Are you using approved security measures?

Make sure that you always lock doors and windows, and arm alarms when you leave your property. Check with your insurer for suggestions for further security steps you can take. Alarms and approved locks can lower your insurance premiums.

6. Do you need special insurance for flooding or subsidence?

If you live in a flood area, it's important to inform your insurer of the fact if they are not already aware. Likewise, you should disclose any knowledge of subsidence risk to your insurer. If you don't, your claims may be rejected. Knowing that you may face an additional risk of flooding or subsidence, you can opt for additional insurance to cover these eventualities.
About the Author
Discover how your insurer compares with other UK home insurance companies at http://www.uk-insurance-index.co.uk where you can read reviews submitted by real customers and browse a comprehensive directory of policies and providers.
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