What ifs

It is important that you understand what is and what isn’t covered by your home insurance. Different insurers have different terms regarding excesses, cover limits and what is excluded, but most operate in a similar way for the following scenarios.
What if my pipe burst whilst I was on holiday?
Escape of water:
If you are on holiday and you come back to a leak, the damage could be quite substantial if not caught in time
Typically you would be covered for a burst pipe. If it was to be considered to be caused by wear and tear, because you had not maintained your property in a good condition, the claim may not be paid out (repudiated), but each claim is taken on an individual basis
Try to locate the source of the leak and turn off the water at the mains, if necessary. Contact your insurers. Your insurers will either appoint a plumber, or advise you to source one yourself. The quicker you stop the leak the less
What if a storm damaged my property?
Storm:
If for example Storm Doris had ripped the roof off your house, this 'act of god' could cause immense damage to your home
Typically you would be covered if your roof was damaged or if a large proportion was removed in a storm, including any damage this may have caused to your contents. You may be offered alternative accommodation by your insurer. If part of the reason for the damage was that your roof was not in a good state of repair, then your claim may be investigated, but all details are taken on an individual basis
Contact your insurer immediately. If your property is still habitable, take every precaution to ensure you and the boundaries of your property are safe. For example if a tree from your property has fallen into the road, this could become a potential liability risk, so ensure your insurers are aware of the extent of the damage and the severity
What if I accidently damage my buildings or contents?
Accidental Damage:
If you have put your foot through the ceiling, or dropped coffee on your laptop for example
Typically you would be covered if you caused accidental damage to your buildings and your ceiling would be mended, as long as it wasn't due to your home being in a bad state of repair. Typically you would be covered for your laptop to be repaired or replaced, as long as you have accidental damage cover noted on your policy and it wasn't deemed suspicious, for example if this was the fifth laptop within one policy year that you had spilt coffee on. Each claim will be taken on an individual basis
Check your insurance schedule to confirm that you have accidental damage included in your cover. Then contact your insurer. The insurer's claims department will then appoint appropriate contractors for the buildings damage or advise of a cash pay out for you to get quotes for the damage to be mended. A laptop will either be replaced, depending on what cover you have re 'new for old' or it will be repaired
What if my phone and purse are stolen when I'm out?
Theft:
If you are in a bar and your purse and phone are stolen this is distressing and of course very inconvenient
Typically, as long as you have adequate cover for your phone away from the home then your phone should be covered, the value of the phone and your excess may determine whether you believe it is worth making a claim, each claim will be taken on an individual basis and cover for money and credit cards would depend on the level of cover you have purchased
Contact the police, get a crime reference number, contact your phone company and get your phone blocked, contact your card company and cancel your cards. Contact your insurance company and advise of the incident and provide them with the crime reference number
What if a fire started at my home?
Fire:
If for example faulty electrics caused a fire, this could cause extensive fire and smoke damage to your buildings and contents
Typically fire damage results in large claims and therefore a loss adjustor would need to assess the extent of the damage. Your claims department will then advise what you will be paid out and you may receive alternative accommodation if necessary, but each claim will be taken on an individual basis
The fire brigade would have already been contacted and potentially the police also, so you may have been given a crime reference number. Contact your insurer as soon as possible, advise them of the cause of the fire and the damage, they will then be able to assess the extent of the damage and act accordingly and appoint loss adjustors and contractors to repair damage
What if cracks are starting to show at my property?
Subsidence:
If you have a large tree that is close to your property it is possible that the cracking could be due to movement of the tree's roots
Typically new signs of subsidence will require a report to be completed by a structural engineer. This will enable your insurer to assess the reason for cracking and if in fact the cracking is due to subsidence being caused by trees, it is unlikely that an insurer would not cover you under these circumstances, unless you were aware of the cracking prior to purchasing your policy and you did not advise your insurer, or if the claim is not deemed subsidence. Each claim is taken on an individual basis
Contact your insurer as soon as possible. Be aware that you may be asked to describe the cracks, for example the length and angle and how deep the crack is, as well as go through details such as describing the trees in the vicinity of your home. Your insurer's claims department will then advise you how to proceed and whether they require a structural engineer's report
What if my property was flooded?
Flood:
If a nearby river has burst its banks due to heavy rainfall for example, this could cause extensive damage to your property and your area
Typically this should be covered and insurers have provisions in place for localised flooding, but the claim will be taken on an individual basis
Before and during the flood SAFETY SHOULD BE YOUR FIRST PRIORITY. If you are able to enter your property do everything you can to reduce the damage, put sand bags where the water is entering your home, raise all items, particularly any electrical equipment above the water level. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible, advise them of the reason for flooding and the damage that it has caused. The next time you buy home insurance, your insurer will be looking for signs of preventative measures from yourself and the Local Authority so keep this in mind
What if malicious damage was caused to my property?
Malicious damage:
If a brick is thrown through your window for example, this could be a distressing time as well as an increased risk to your property
Typically this should be covered as standard and any damage rectified, but all claims will be taken on an individual basis
Ensure that your property is secured and contact your insurance company as soon as possible, their claims department should appoint a loss adjustor to assess the damage and contractors to repair the damage. The next time you buy home insurance you may be required or it may be suggested for you to increase your security and to confirm whether you would have known the culprits or any motives behind the malicious damage to determine whether the risk is likely to occur again
What if a car crashed into my garden wall?
Impact:
If a car drove into your boundary wall for example, any impact claim can vary on how much damage it can cause
Typically this should be covered, with a view for your insurer to attempt to recover any costs from the culprit's car insurance, but each claim is taken on an individual basis
Ensure your safety and the boundaries of your home to reduce any liability risk and contact your insurer as soon as possible, the insurers will appoint a loss adjustor who will assess the damage
What if flooding was caused by asparagus?
Flood:
If a farmer started farming asparagus and due to heavy rainfall it caused the asparagus to lift from their beds, travel down the road and block the drains, causing an overflow which flooded nearby properties
Typically, although a more unusual incident, this should be covered under the flood section of your home insurance policy. Each claim will be taken on an individual basis
The next time you buy home insurance, it is likely you will be asked about any preventative measures that you, the farmer and/or the local authority have put in place and in this instance if the drains have been cleared and regularly maintained
What if my dog chews my cushions?
Accidental Damage:
If my dog has damaged my cushions on my sofa
Typically this should be covered if you have accidental damage cover included on your policy. Most insurers would only look to replace the cushions in this instance not the whole suite, but each claim will be taken on an individual basis
Check your insurance schedule to confirm that you have accidental damage included in your cover. Then contact your insurer. Your insurer will look for you to get an estimate or advise how much they will be paying to replace the cushions. If this is the first accidental damage claim you have made, it is likely no terms will be applied but the more regular the same type of claim is made, the more likely your insurer will ask you to make efforts to prevent the damage happening again