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Home insurance: Save money with our insider's top tips

Someone being interviewedHave you ever come to make a home insurance claim and found that something isn’t covered, or realised your claim is void because of something you've done?

We spoke to an anonymous claims handler from south Wales to give you the inside line on how insurers operate.

Here, our anonymous home insurance insider details the common mistakes that home insurance policyholders make.

Common misconceptions

"Something that many people don't realise is that matching items are usually only covered independently," says our insider.

"So if you lose one earring the insurer will only replace the one or, if a suitable replacement can't be found, cash to its value.

"The same goes for things like kitchen cabinets.

"Roofs are another area where policy holders are often surprised they don't have cover.

"Typically, damage to your roof will only be covered if winds of 47 to 50mph or rain of more than 23mm an hour are involved.

"These are classed as storm conditions. Otherwise, it's just treated as wear and tear and is not covered.

Temporary accomodation

"Many people think that if you have a claim which leaves you without a kitchen, your insurer will put you up.

"This is not the case," our home insurance insider says.

"You will only be provided with alternative accommodation if the house is deemed uninhabitable.

"What is more likely is that you will be asked to stay at home and given a daily food allowance, which is around £10 a day with most insurers."

Top tips from the other end of the phone

"When buying a policy, disclosing previous claims is very important," says our insider. 

"It sounds obvious but you'd be surprised at the amount of people who don't do so.

“If you don't disclose at purchase, you will usually still be able to buy the policy.

"But when you come to claim and the insurer inevitably finds out about previous claims, they have every right to completely void your policy, and they probably will.

Keep receipts

"Always keep your receipts," our anonymous home insurance claims handler says.

"People don't realise how important it is to keep hold of them but if an item is stolen and you want to claim, you'll be required to provide proof of purchase.

"Most big retailers keep sales records for up to six years, but the onus is on the policy holder to chase the retailer themselves for the information.

"So keep the receipts and save yourself the hassle.

"Finally, if you've made or are going to make a claim, don't get any repairs done or remove any damaged goods yourself unless the insurance company has said it's okay to do so."

Making your claim

"When making your claim, just be honest, polite and remain calm, no matter how angry or upset you are.

"The reason for this is that attitude is a fraud indicator, and a bad attitude can mean your claim gets looked at more deeply, making the process last much longer.

"Above all, treat the person on the other end of the phone how you would like to be treated.

"Because the fact is that they can do a lot to make your claim process more difficult."

Quotable customers and dodgy claims

"There are loads of quotes from customer I could relay to you but they're all too rude to publish.

"I did have one memorable gentleman on the phone who was ex-military, and would tell me to 'Stand by!' before every piece of information he gave me.

"We get dodgy sounding claims all the time.

"One which sticks out involved someone accidentally knocking a TV over which then fell on a Playstation containing a game, which then knocked a glass of red wine onto the carpet.

"Needless to say, that one went straight to the special investigations team."

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Paul Drury

Paul Drury

Paul was a contributor and techy person at Confused.com between 2011 and 2013.

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