Home insurance claims are something that, ideally, we would all like to avoid. Even though you will be paying a monthly premium for buildings insurance, which protects the bricks and mortar of your property, and contents insurance, which protects your belongings within it, claiming will usually mean something unsavoury has happened.
This could be anything from a flood, fire or burglary – although a claim could also arise from a more minor event such as smashed window, or even a red wine spill on the white sofa providing your policy covers accidental damage.
But, whatever has happened, how do you go about actually making a claim on your house insurance?
How do you claim on your home insurance?
In most cases, the very first step is to dig out your policy documents and booklet (so it's worth keeping these in a handy place that you will remember from year to year).
Within these papers you will find your own personal policy number as well as a claims helpline phone number – the two things you need to kick of your home insurance claim.
Call the designated helpline and explain what's happened to the advisor. If it's an expensive premium rate number, such as 0870 or 0845, don't be afraid to ask them to call you straight back.
If it's a burglary you have suffered however, the first step will always be to call the Police. Not only will they need to come and take forensics as soon as possible, they will also need to issue you with a crime reference number which you will need before you can proceed with a claim on your home insurance.
What evidence will I need to claim?
For small and standard claims, you will need to fill out the required claims form (which will be sent to you or you can download from its website) and return it within the stated maximum number of days.
With this you will also need to include receipts as proof of purchase for the items you are claiming on. If you can't lay your hands on the receipts, try digging out credit or debit card statements which can prove the purchases instead.
If you don't have copies of these, call your bank or credit card provider and ask to be sent the relevant months' statements.
Photographs are also accepted as evidence. Basically, the more documentary evidence you can produce, the smoother and quicker your home insurance claim will be.
What happens then in my home insurance claim?
However, if the home insurance claim is for a larger amount, your insurer is likely to investigate further by sending an investigator (or loss adjuster) to your home to confirm the loss or damage you state in your claim and how much it would cost to replace or repair.
But, so long as you have filled out your home insurance application form honestly and accurately, and the policy is robust enough for your claim, you should not encounter any problems.
The insurer will then organise and send its own partner company or companies to carry out repairs and works where necessary, or pay you the amount you are claiming for into your bank account or by cheque through the post.
Home insurance claims excess
Remember however, you will need to pay an excess which is the first part of any claim. You will always have to contribute the compulsory excess, though the voluntary excess will vary according to what you agreed when you took out the policy. The higher the voluntary excess, the cheaper your policy.
Bear in mind that once you have made a claim, the cost of your policy could rise when you come to renew and will also scupper any no claims discounts you have built up.
Nevertheless, the point of home insurance is to claim on it when you need it, so don't let that put you off. Just make sure, when it comes to your annual renewal, you shop around for the next best deal.