As a BMA member, you are entitled to free and impartial advice from our insurance partners Lloyd & Whyte.
If you don’t already have a professional insurance adviser, it is worth making the most of this benefit and get in touch with them to discuss your circumstances.
The mini-guide from Lloyd and Whyte below will give you tips on how to make the most of your home insurance.
Before you buy
Understand your policy
Not all policies are created equal. Comparison websites make it easy to compare premiums, but aside from headline features such as sums insured, accidental damage and legal expenses, they don’t all offer the same services. Be sure to read the small print because the terms and conditions will dictate whether you can actually claim or not.
Look out for phrases like:
- 'average/underinsurance' - your insurer may be able to apply a penalty to any claim settlement if your sums insured is insufficient to rebuild the entire house and/or replace everything in it
- 'minimum security' - a specific type of lock may be required or you may have to lock doors and windows at night, including those upstairs, even if you’re in the house
- 'alarm clause' - you may be required to set your alarm every time you leave the house, even if it's just for five minutes.
Avoid common mistakes
The insurance world can seem amazingly contradictory, so it’s easy to make mistakes.
- For example, 'unlimited cover' doesn’t actually mean unlimited - nor will a 'blanket cover' (with very high sums insured) always pay up to the figure it states. 'Inner limits' will apply to certain sections of the policy - e.g. single item limits, limits on the total value of jewellery or 'high risk' items, which might include possessions such as mobiles, tablets and computers. Before you buy 'unlimited cover', check the policy documents. You could be under-insured or the policy could be invalid.
- Underestimating the value of your contents is another mistake made by many. Most of us buy our belongings over long periods of time and if we don’t keep an up-to-date record, we might forget how much everything is worth. Inheritance also makes it difficult to keep track of the value of contents. Underestimation can lead to under-insurance, which means receiving less from a claim than you originally anticipated. There could also be penalties applied even when the value of the claim is below the total sums insured on the policy. Use our easy contents calculator to help you work out the overall worth of your possessions.
If you’re in any doubt, you may wish to use a broker to place your insurance, as they will be there to assist you in the event of a claim, as well as ensure you have the right policy in the first instance.
Making a claim
Making a claim is a time to appreciate the fact that you bought your insurance in the first place. You hope it’ll never happen but if it does, it’s helpful to know how to make the best out of a bad situation.
In an emergency: contact your insurer as soon as you can. This is crucial, as they will be able to guide you through what to do next.
In a non-emergency: check your policy schedule and policy wording or contact your broker to see if your claim is valid. If it is, then you can contact your insurer to get the process started. Keep in mind that a claim may affect your future premiums. It's not advisable to claim for small amounts.
Make the claims process easier on yourself by being honest with your insurer and be sure to give them as much information as you possibly can.
New insurance legislation introduced on 1 October 2018 encourages people to shop around before they renew their insurance. The rules also affirm that your insurer should explain why your policy is relevant to you.
Understand what is most important to you; is it premium, cover or the service you receive, particularly in the event of a claim? Aside from the obvious fire, theft and accidental damage, what events are you most concerned about?
When you have decided on this and the various features of cover you want included, make sure to compare these values both in the various policies available and the companies that provide them.
Receive advice and service
A comparison website can be a great place to get a quote, but nothing beats speaking to a person who knows what they’re talking about. Insurance brokers can help save you time and provide peace of mind, using their market knowledge and experience to guide you to a policy that best meets your specific requirements. They will also be able to help you arrange the right cover if you have specialist needs like a thatched house, art or jewellery collections.
We can assist you whether you’re shopping for your home insurance, claiming on it, or renewing it.