Tag Archives: contents insurance

Definition of valuables

The definition of valuables under home contents insuranceUnder home contents insurances valuables are usually defined as jewellery, watches, gold, silver, precious metals, gemstones, furs, pictures, curios and other works of art, stamp, coin and medal collections, televisions, radios, home computers, audio and home computer equipment. The reason for the definition is that valuables are more high risk than other general household goods and are targeted when there is a burglary. Valuables also have a higher cost than most other general contents. An insurer would consider a home to be an increased risk if has a high combination of valuables compared with the other contents, so for that reason they set a valuables limit to ensure that they are not exposed to unbalanced policies without their knowledge.

The total valuables limit is usually one-third of the contents sum insured or £5,000 whichever is the greater, with a single item of valuables £1,500. This will vary from insurer to insurer. Most insurers can cater for higher total valuables and single item worth more than the single limit by specifying on the schedule. Your policy wording will detail the set policy limits applicable.

Home insurance index linking

Home insurance index linking of the buildings and contents sums insuredInsurers index link sums insured to keep pace with rising costs. Although policyholders only see their sums insured increase when the renewal documents are issued, most policies are index linked on a monthly basis, which could have a bearing on claims. Index linked adjustments continue from the date of a claim to the settlement, provided there has not been an unreasonable delay in notifying the insurer of the claim.

The buildings sum insured is index linked with the House Building Cost Index and the contents sum is connected to the Retail Price Index. No charge is made by insurers for index linking, but as premiums are charged on the sums insured, as the figures go up the premium goes up as a consequence. Generally specified personal possessions, such as jewellery and watches are not index linked. Set policy limits and cover extensions, such as personal money and cards are also exempt from the increase. In the event that the Buildings and Retail price indexes record a minus the sums insured would stay the same.

Home insurance contents temporarily removed

Home insurance contents temporarily removedOften included under contents insurance. Usually up to 15% of the contents sum insured for loss of or damage to the contents whilst temporarily removed from your home, but within the territorial limits (Great Britain or the United Kingdom).

Theft also includes from a bank or safe deposit or while in direct transit to and from the insured address to the bank or safe deposit. Cover applies in any building where the insured is employed, carrying out business, in temporary residence or any other building.

As you would expect there are exclusions applying to this cover extension as follows: Storm, flood or malicious damage to the contents which were not kept in a building, loss and damage to contents in your custody or control whilst living away from home for the purpose of education (there may be a provision for cover for this under a separate cover extension), contents for sale, away on exhibition or in a furniture depository. Although not excluded, theft must be as a result of forcible and violent entry or exit from a building.

As always check from home insurance policy wording to see if this extension is included and if so the scope of cover.

Escape of water damage under home insurance

Escape of water damage under home insuranceMore claims arise from escape of water (or oil) than any other under home insurance, making the cover given and the terms applied an important issue when choosing a policy.

A home insurance will cover the damage caused by the escape of water from fixed domestic heating or water installations and domestic appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers. A buildings policy will cover the damage caused to the buildings and a contents insurance will cover the damage to the contents. One area which is not insured is the plumbing works to rectify the leak, as this is considered a maintenance, a general upkeep issue so the responsibility of the homeowner. Some more comprehensive home buildings insurances will cover the cost of tracing and accessing the leak by a tradesman, but not the leak repairs.

As always there are terms and conditions applying, escape of water damage is generally excluded when the home has been unoccupied for a set period detailed in the policy wording, which could be 30 or 60 days. Escape of water resulting in subsidence, ground heave and landslip is excluded. Finally it is common practice with insurers to have an increased compulsory excess for this peril of usually £250, with any voluntary excess on the policy added on top. Please check your insurance schedule and policy wording for details of your cover, terms and conditions.

Home insurance premiums and small claims

Home Insurance Premiums and claims One of the major factors in home insurance premiums is the claims record, with most policies giving a no claims discount or loading for claims. Both methods mean that a claim or claims affect premiums, so having a claims free history over the last 3 or 5 years is the best defence against rising premiums.

Making a claim is part and parcel of home insurance, the reason why people insure is to protect their property and possessions, but when claiming for a small amount it could be advantageous to see do some calculations first. The cost of the claim, verses the combination of the policy excess to be deducted from the settlement and the potential loss of no claims discount. Afterall the latter is important, as it could take 3 years of claim free home insurance to work your way up to a maximum no claims discount again. Therefore an allowance for a higher premium should be factored in for future years, not just at the next renewal date.

A number of small claims could also have a disastrous effect, going beyond premium increases. An insurer might impose a higher excess, restrict the cover especially if claims are made resulting from the same cause of damage or loss. In certain circumstances an insurer might decline cover, which then makes it difficult to obtain insurance elsewhere, as having home insurance declined or cancelled by an insurer is a material fact which must be disclosed to other cover providers.

Bottom line its a policyholders right to seek indemnity under the terms of a home insurance policy, when there is insured damage or loss, but sometimes consideration is needed before claiming for small amounts as to whether you’d be worse off.

Tenants liability insurance

tenants liability cover under home contents insuranceWhen renting there’s always the possibility of accidentally causing damage to the landlord’s buildings and then being liable for the costs. If as a tenant you have a home contents insurance in force covering your possessions, then you may have tenants liability cover for damage to the building. This policy extension usually comes with a limit, often 20% of your contents sum insured including additional costs and expenses, such as architects and surveyors fees, clearing debris, shoring or propping up and the cost of complying with any government or local authority requirements. Sounds heavy stuff, most of which may not be required, but the basic provision of cover gives the tenant assurance and peace of mind.

Please check in your policy wording to see whether cover is in force or if you are looking for a tenants contents insurance quote including this extension we would be pleased to help.

Business contents under home insurance

business contents included under home contents insuranceInsurers are usually good at keeping up with changes in lifestyles and are willing in adapt home insurance accordingly, provided the change is in keeping with a domestic policy and the risk isn’t significantly increased. Most standard policies now come with automatic cover for office contents owned or the legal responsibility of the policyholder. Limits generally apply, maybe £5,000 or 10% of the overall home contents sum insured, whichever is the lessor. Cover applies for own use and in connection with the policyholder’s business or occupation, although it is worth mentioning that any liabilities arising from business activities would be excluded. Office contents more specifically insured elsewhere, such as a business office policy, would also be excluded. If you need a wider scope of cover then a homeworkers insurance may be suitable, especially if you run your own business from home. Homeworkers policies are a combination of home and office insurance, where you can insure a full range of office equipment at home, cover laptops, cameras and mobile phones whilst away on business, employers and public liability, business interruption and business money. For details try searching online for homeworkers insurance or contact an insurance broker for advice.

As always the devil is in the detail. The policy wording relating to your home insurance will tell you if there is cover and if so the limits, terms, conditions and exclusions.

Amlin home insurance review

Amlin home insurance reviewA review of the home insurance policy from Amlin, designed to cover the policyholders’ home buildings and/or contents at their main residence. The majority of UK standard home policies cover the same causes of damage and loss, regardless of the provider, so it’s the range of additional benefits that set insurers apart.

First the overall benefits included free of charge, whether you have building or contents. Family legal expenses tops the list, most insurers charge around £20 for this so it’s a useful add-on. The exceptions are policies covering more than one residence such as flats or shared homes with a number of co-policyholders. Helplines also come as standard as long as you have a policy in force, including domestic emergencies, medical information and counselling and legal and tax advice.

Additional covers under buildings included free of charge

The definition of buildings includes solar panels and fitted carpets in common parts of blocks of flats belonging to the insured. Useful extensions not usually included by other providers.

A range of accidental damage covers is included under the standard perils for fixed glass (windows), sanitary ware, ceramic hobs, underground services, septic tanks and drain inspection covers the responsibility of the homeowner. The full accidental damage extension can also be included for an extra premium, in case you put your foot through an unboarded loft or drill a hole in the wall and go through a water pipe. A brief list of the other extra benefits within the buildings policy are as follows:

  • Loss of rent payable to you and the cost of your temporary accommodation including domestic pets of up to 25% of the sum insured if the insured home becomes uninhabitable following insured damage, such as a fire or flood.
  • Additional costs and expenses in the event of a claim, such as architects and surveyors fees, shoring up, demolition and the removal of debris and the cost of compliance with government or local authority requirements.
  • Transfer of interest, available to the new purchaser of the home insured by Amlin from the date of exchange until the completion provided no other insurance is in force.
  • Emergency access, the damage caused by forced access into the home due to a medical emergency or to prevent damage to the home.
  • Up to £1,000 for the cost of restoring the gardens and clearing drains caused by the emergency services whilst attending the home due to insured damage, such as a fire.
  • The trace and access cover under the buildings section of up to £5,000, in the event of an internal water leak from a pipe and a tradesman has to search for the source of the leak by removing bathroom tiles or taking down part of a ceiling.

Additional covers under contents included free of charge

Again an element of accidental damage cover is included free of charge under the standard perils cover, such as televisions and home computers. The full accidental damage extension can be included for an extra premium to cover mishaps around the home, such as spilling things on carpets or dropping a vase. The other extensions under the contents section are as follows:

  • Up to 15% of the sum insured for contents temporarily removed from the home, but kept within the UK.
  • Up to £2,500 for contents at boarding school, college or university with a family member who resides at the insured home outside term time.
  • Cover for household removal within the UK whilst in transit, with conditions applied to china and other brittle items and scratching and bruising.
  • Like the buildings cover loss of rent payable to you and the cost of your temporary accommodation following major insured damage comes with the policy, up to 25% of the sum insured.
  • Tenants liability, a useful extension for those living in rented accommodation of up to 20% of the contents sum insured if you as a tenant are legally liable for damage to the building.
  • Loss of home keys and the replacement of locks of up to £500.
  • Spoilt freezer contents cover of up to £500 due to malfunction or a rise in the heat.
  • Loss of metred water and oil of up to £2,500 as a result of accidental damage to the water or heating system in the home.
  • Fatal death benefit of £10,000 for the policyholder and spouse caused by fire or thieves in the home.
  • Office contents of up to £5,000 or 10% of the contents sum insured, whatever is the lesser.
  • Emergency access, damage caused by forced access due to a medical emergency or to prevent damage to the contents.
  • visitors and domestic employees personal effects insured up to £1,000, unless already insured elsewhere.
  • Wedding, birthday, anniversary or religious celebration gifts of up to £5,000 in the home.

Overall the Amlin Home Insurance policy rates highly with us. If you would like a quote from us as an Amlin approved home insurance broker please visit our homepage to submit an online quote request or call us on 020 8941 2204 during office hours.

★ The review was based on the Amlin policy used by Ember JD Insurance Brokers, which offers enhanced cover in addition to the standard wording.

Remember home insurance on bonfire night

remember your home insurance on bonfire nightBonfire night is one of my favourite times of year, whether attending an organised firework display or a DIY job in the back garden. The latter being particularly hazardous as according to NHS statistics there are around 1,000 firework related injures a year on 5 November, with more than 50% happening at private parties at home.

If you decide to invite a few friends around to put on a show, then it is important that you check your home insurance includes personal liability cover, in the event that one of your guests is injured.

Home insurance claims increase by 25% on bonfire night compared with the daily average. Not only the odd stray firework causing havoc and liability incurred, the number of burglaries also goes up as more homes are left empty at night.

A few straight forward measures should be taken before the big night, prevention always being the best cure:

  • Check your home cover includes personal liability insurance and read the wording.
  • If going out make sure all the doors and windows are locked with keys removed.
  • Only buy fireworks from a legitimate retailer, check for damage before lighting.
  • Buy fireworks suitable for your size of garden to keep matters under control.
  • Fireworks should be stored in a safe place under the supervision of an adult.
  • Read the instructions carefully during daylight or with a torch.
  • Move fireworks well away from people and property.
  • Dispose of sparklers safely in a bucket of sand or water.
  • Keep pets indoors.

Take on board all the do’s and don’ts and above all have a good time.

Home contents insurance new for old

Home Contents Insurance new for old coverModern policies usually come with ‘new for old’ settlement as standard for contents and personal possessions, with no deduction for wear and tear and depreciation. The only exception being clothing and linen, which generally have a short life span. Great for the insuring public and beneficial for insurers, who don’t want to waste time and resources haggling over claim settlements.

To make the ‘new for old’ agreement between insurers and policyholders a fair one, the contents should be insured for the new replacement cost. Therefore when you are calculating a sum insured that is right for you, think of the new price for your contents. For guidance with your home contents sum insured try the home contents calculator