What invalidates your home insurance?
There are several reasons your insurer may decide not to pay out when you make a home insurance claim, including leaving your house unoccupied for too long, or not making necessary repairs in time.
How long can I leave my home unoccupied before my home insurance is invalid?
Empty houses are more at risk of burglary or damage during bad weather.
Although the period of time you can leave your home unoccupied varies between insurers and policies, as a rule of thumb, if your home is left unoccupied for more than 30 consecutive days, claims relating to that period may be refused.
If you’re planning an extended holiday or selling a second home, it’s therefore worth calling your insurer to see if you can buy additional cover and avoid the ‘vacancy’ exclusion clause.
Can I claim on insurance if I damage my home doing DIY?
You may not be covered by your home insurance if your DIY attempts go wrong, and you puncture a pipe or damage the structure of the building.
Very few home insurance policies include cover for such accidental damage as standard.
If you want it, you’ll generally have to pay extra to have it added to your policy.
Do I have a duty to repair my home?
Yes, it’s important to keep your home in a good state of repair in case you need to make a home insurance claim.
This is particularly true during the colder months, when bad weather is more likely to case problems.
Do I have to tell my home insurer about renovations?
Yes, renovations such as building a roof extension or a conservatory will increase the rebuild cost of your home, and insurers need to be kept informed of how much that is. If you don’t tell them about substantial changes, you will end up underinsured if your home is destroyed.
It’s therefore important to inform your insurer about the improvements ideally before the work starts so that you don’t find yourself underinsured in the event you need to make a claim. And if you employ workmen, ensure they have public liability cover to guard against any damage.
You may have to pay a bit more for your cover, but it will be worth it if you have to make a claim.
Does home insurance cover pests like rats or mice?
You may not be covered if rats or mice cause damage to your home.
So check your policy to see which pests it covers, and act quickly if you become aware of a problem.
Your local council’s pest control department is a good place to start.
Should I tell my insurer if I rent out a room?
Yes, give your insurer a call if you plan to make some extra cash by renting out your home or a room in it.
You may need to pay a bit more for extra cover, but at least you will be covered if your home is damaged during a guest’s stay.
How can I avoid invalidating my home insurance?
There are plenty of simple steps you can take to help reduce the chances of invalidating your home insurance policy. These include:
- Read the small print: Read the terms and conditions carefully so you are aware of any exclusions, and give your insurer a call if you’re unsure about anything
- Check doors and windows: Close and lock your doors and windows before going out
- Avoid leaving spare keys in obvious places: You probably won’t be covered if a burglar uses them to gain entry
- Activate burglar alarms: If you have an alarm, use it
- Report burglaries quickly: Contact the police and get a crime reference number within 24 hours
- Secure garden equipment: Lock valuable items away in a shed or outbuilding where possible
- Tell the truth: Lying to your insurer to get a cheaper quote can backfire, as can exaggerating the value of any claim you do make
Compare home insurance policies
In order to help you get the best quote for your home insurance, we need to know something about your property. For example, roughly when it was built, whether you live close to any tall trees or water, and the type of alarm and locks you use. You will also need to give a sum insured for both buildings and contents.
MoneySuperMarket can find competitive quotes for basic cover, and if you want to add accidental damage and insurance for personal possessions, you simply click the relevant boxes.
Price is an important factor when choosing the best policy, but it is not the only consideration. You should also look at the level of cover and the terms and conditions, paying particular attention to the excess.