According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), just 79% of home insurance claims are successful. In fact, home insurance claims are the most likely to be rejected. That’s compared to the 99% of motor insurance claims and 87% of travel claims that are successful.
In an analysis of 6.9 million claims made between 2013 and 2014, the ABI found that the most common reasons for failed home insurance claims were: wear and tear or damage caused by a lack of maintenance which are not insurable, the claim value being below the policy excess, and not having bought the right cover.
Taking out the correct level of buildings insurance and contents insurance will improve your likelihood of making a successful home insurance claim. Understanding how this process works, and how to submit a claim, will only bolster your case.
How do I claim on my home insurance?
If you’ve been burgled, you should always call the police first. Not only will they have to come and take forensics as soon as possible, they will also issue you with a crime reference number that you will need before you can proceed with a claim on your home insurance.
In most other cases, the very first step of a home insurance claim is to dig out your policy documents and booklet (it's worth keeping these in a handy place that you will remember from year to year).
Within these papers you will find your own personal policy number as well as a claims helpline phone number – the two things you need to kick of your claim.
Call the designated helpline and explain what's happened to the advisor. If it's an expensive premium rate number, such as 0870 or 0845, don't be afraid to ask them to call you straight back.
What evidence will I need to make a claim?
For small and standard home insurance claims, you’ll need to fill out the required claims form (this is usually sent to you or available to download from your insurer’s website) and return it within the stated maximum number of days.
You’ll also need to enclose receipts as proof of purchase for the items you are claiming for. If you can't lay your hands on the receipts, try digging out credit or debit card statements as these can prove the purchases instead. If you don't have copies of these, call your bank or credit card provider and ask to be sent the relevant months' statements.
Photographs are also accepted as evidence in home insurance claims, so take a look to see if you can send any images to support your claim.
The golden rule is that the more documentary evidence you can produce, the smoother and quicker your home insurance claim will be.
What happens next?
If the home insurance claim is for a larger amount, your insurer is likely to inspect further by sending an investigator (or loss adjuster) to your home. They will confirm the loss or damage you state in your claim and assess how much it would cost to replace or repair.
So long as you have filled out your home insurance application form honestly and accurately, you have taken out a policy robust enough for your claim, and you haven’t invalidated your home cover, you should not encounter any problems.
The insurer will then organise and send its own partner company or companies to carry out repairs and works where necessary, or pay you the amount you are claiming for into your bank account or by cheque through the post.
What’s my home insurance claims excess?
Remember, however, that you will need to pay an excess which is the first part of any claim. You will always have to contribute the compulsory excess, though the voluntary excess will vary according to what you agreed when you took out the policy. The higher the voluntary excess, the cheaper your policy.
Bear in mind that once you have made a claim, the cost of your policy could rise when you come to renew and will also scupper any no claims discounts you have built up.
Nevertheless, the point of home insurance is to claim on it when you need it, so don't let that put you off. Just make sure, when it comes to your annual renewal, you shop around for the next best deal.