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Domestic Claims: Are You Insured?

Apr 4, 2008
Whether you owe on your property or own outright it is vital that you have domestic insurance. This insurance covers damage to your home, as you might expect, but it may also cover damage or theft of your possessions, loss of use of your home, damage or theft of items outside your home (such as the contents of your van), and even injuries that take place at your home.

If you don't have domestic insurance, here are six good reasons to get it NOW:

1. If you have a mortgage on your home, your bank requires insurance or private collateral in the same amount as the mortgage.

2. Good domestic insurance covers losses in case of standard catastrophes - fire, flood, storm damage - and may provide living expenses when you can't stay in your home.

3. It will cover your possessions as well as your home. (Ask your agent exactly what possessions are covered, and which ones are not. You may need a rider for things like jewellery.)

4. You may be covered for the contents of your car or van if it is stolen or damaged in an accident.

5. Most importantly it will cover lawsuits if someone is injured on your property due to circumstances judged your fault.

6. Your insurance company will help you find ways to make your home resistant to damage from natural disasters, fires, etc.

What Your Insurance Should Cover

This should always cover your home structure. Beyond that, it depends on what is of real value to you. Most domestic insurance policies cover your possessions, and all cover lawsuits brought against your house if someone is injured. In addition, you should look at specific hazards that your insurance may not cover. Do you live in a flood-prone area? You'll need to get flood insurance, or find some way to protect yourself from it. Ask your insurance agent about other special hazards you may want to insure against.

Also, check your possessions. While most cover basic possessions, like furnishings and clothing, there are luxury items that may be specifically excluded. Have a fine wine cellar? It will almost certainly need additional coverage. How about fine jewellery? Most insurance policies have a cap on claims like this, and you'll need additional coverage to protect your precious gems fully.

What about a Loss Assessor?

If disaster strikes, your insurance company will send a claims adjuster, a person who will be able to look at your damages and offer an appropriate settlement to cover the damage. This person works for the insurance company, not for you, so their interests lie with the insurer.

A loss assessor is similar to a claims adjuster, but they work for you. They also assess damages, as well as help you navigate the often convoluted path from making your initial claim to receiving a satisfactory settlement. The loss assessor is in your corner, ensuring that you get everything that you are entitled to. While a claims adjuster ensures the insurer does not pay too much, a loss assessor ensures you get all that is coming to you. In most cases, a loss assessor gains you more money than he costs you in wages. If the worst happens, he is your ally, and he's there at a time when you most need help and advice.
About the Author
Derek Rogers is a freelance writer who represents a number of UK businesses. For Loss Assessors and Domestic Insurance claim services, he recommends Morgan Clark.
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