Apart from a car, a home is one of the most substantial investments many people make. Taking out home insurance is an important part of keeping it safe and ensuring you will be covered in case something happens. However, there are certain things you could be doing that will invalidate your insurance, and you might not know what they are.
Leaving Your Home Unoccupied
Everyone leaves their home unoccupied for some time, typically around the holidays. Insurance companies understand this and allow you to leave your home for 30 or 60 continuous days. You have to inform them if you are going to be away for longer than this. If something should happen to the home while you are away and you have not told the insurance company about it, they may deny your claim.
If you have to be away for extended periods, it is best to ask someone to house-sit for you. Keep in mind that the house needs to be “occupied” so having someone over for one night might not be enough for your insurance provider.
Not Reporting Renovations or Remodels
Remodelling can be a great way of making your home better to live in or increasing its value if you wish to sell. You need to tell your insurer if you decide to do these kinds of projects. The claim amount can increase if the value of the home is high enough to change how much you claim in case of an incident.
Also, there is an increased risk of incidents such as thefts during the completion of these projects. This is because you will have a lot of people coming and going, and it is impossible to verify everyone or know what one might do if you have lots of valuables in the home.
Homeowners also need to notify their insurance provider if they make smaller changes. For example, installing a door flap or replacing an exterior door can lead to the insurance provider saying that the home is less secure because of the change. Even though this can happen, many insurers overlook it if the works were completed by a qualified, experienced, registered and insured contractor.
Exaggerating Your Home’s Contents
Many people get contents insurance as part of their home insurance. When doing so, you will be asked to provide a list of the possessions you would like insured. Most people do not know each item they own off-hand and have to check. What typically happens is someone guesses because they do not want to do the tedious work of checking everything.
If you end up exaggerating the value of your home’s contents, it could come back to hurt you in the future. List down and value your possessions properly and don’t cut corners assuming it doesn’t matter.
Not Understanding What is Covered
While this will not technically invalidate your insurance, it might lead to claims being rejected. You need to know what exactly your insurance policy covers so you know what to claim in case of an incident.
In the same breath, you should pick affordable insurance that covers everything you need it to. For example, you might need buildings insurance with or without contents insurance. Compare different policies to ensure you are getting the best home insurance Northern Ireland that is affordable. Home insurance comparison sites let you compare many different providers and their quotes to ensure you get the right insurance for your home.
Sharing Holiday Photos Online
Many people share almost all parts of their lives online. What they may not realise is that they are providing burglars with all the information they need to break into their homes. If a burglar knows where you live because of your social media content, they only have to wait for you to post that you are on holiday to pounce. With burglars using social media content to target victims, we should all be cognizant of what we post online. Even though some insurance companies might not penalise you for sharing photos online, you should be aware of the risk you are putting your property and insurance policy at.
Renting Out a Room
Many home insurance providers will not insure your home if you are renting some part of it out. Some might cover a partially rented property, but you need to let them know before renting out a part of your property. The issue is that you are likely renting out to someone you might not know fully and thus putting the property at risk. Do not risk invalidating your insurance and instead ask them what their policy is on renting out some of your property.
Every insurance provider is different, but they all want you to keep your risks as low as possible. Increasing your risk as discussed above is likely to cause your claim to be rejected or, worse, lead to your insurance being invalidated.