Before you make a claim, if there is a risk to anyone’s safety, or if you think a crime has been committed, call the emergency services. Your insurer will need a Crime Reference Number provided by the police if a crime has been committed.
Check your cover
Do you want to claim under your home insurance cover, your home emergency cover or your legal expenses cover?
Check that you are covered for what you want to claim for in the Key Facts and Policy Documents.
Check what level of excess you set. It is recorded in your Schedule.
Making a claim
Have your insurance policy number to hand. It is contained in your Schedule.
Be prepared to explain:
1. What has happened – take photos if possible
2. When it happened
3. How it happened
4. What has been damaged or stolen – take photos if possible
5. The value of items damaged or stolen – if possible, find receipts, bank statements or valuation statements that show the values
Have your contact details to hand
Telephone your insurer’s claims company
Home insurance claims, call Direct Group Property Services on 0344 412 4258
Home emergency claims, call Local Assist on 0800 157 1211
Legal expenses claims, call Motor Plus on 0333 241 9833
What happens next?
Your insurer will want to establish what has happened, and if appropriate will require information from the policy, surveyors and loss adjusters. As a matter of routine, insurers will check third party databases to prevent fraud.
If a crime has been committed, your insurer will need the crime report from the police. This can take several weeks. If you have a copy of the crime report, or can get a copy from the police, it may make the process faster if you send it to your insurer.
Your insurer will then tell you if your claim is covered by your policy and has been accepted or, if not covered, rejected. If your claim is rejected, you should receive a clear explanation of why it has been rejected.
Fixing the problem
You will need to pay the excess to your insurer. They will tell you how much this is, it is also on your Schedule.
In most cases, your insurer will try to replace your contents first. They will replace items with like for like products, and on a “New for Old” basis – you will receive a new item. If they can’t find a replacement item, you will receive cash. You can request cash instead of a replacement, but your insurer will give you cash equal to the cost to them of replacing your item – this is usually below the retail value.
For repairs under Buildings cover, your insurer will appoint one of their approved contractors. If you want to use your own contractor, you will need to agree this with your insurer.
How long will it take?
The time taken depends on the type of claim. Replacing stolen electrical goods may take only a few days, but repairs to buildings make take months if good weather is required before the works can start. Insurers try to move quickly – to keep the admin costs down for them, as well as helping you.
Will my premium increase next year if I make a claim?
It depends. You will reduce your no claims discount for the policy you claimed under, and some insurers do increase premiums for customers who have recently made a claim. But a claim under one policy won’t affect your no claims discount on a separate policy.
It is worth considering not claiming for a small amount under your home insurance policy, since your no claims discount covering all your buildings and contents may have more value over time than your claim.