If you need to make a claim on your home insurance policy because of theft or damage, our guide explains the steps you need to take.
If you need to make a home insurance claim the first step is to find your policy documents and contact your home insurer. Often insurance documents are emailed to you when you take out a policy, although some insurers still send physical documents and policy schedules out in the post.
When you have located your policy documents you will be able to see what you are covered for, and what is excluded from your policy. There will also be a telephone number on your policy documents for the home insurance policy claims line.
This is the number to ring to get in touch with your insurer and explain that you would like to make a claim. You will need your policy number and some details about what you are claiming for. You may also be able to submit a claim online.
Your insurer's claims handler will ask you some questions about the incident which led to you needing to make your home insurance claim.
If it was a theft or break in, you will need a police crime reference number to show you have reported the crime. If it's storm or flood damage, you will need to give details of when the incident occurred and the damage that has been done - photos are helpful.
Your insurer will need to know when and how the incident occurred, any policy reference and police crime numbers and will ask to see photographs of the items that are missing or damaged. They may require additional evidence. For example , if you claim for an expensive camera, they may want to see photos taken with that camera.
It's important to find and show receipts for as many of the items that you are claiming for as possible. Your insurer will want to see their real value and how much you paid for them.
Make sure you explain clearly what has happened, and don’t try to exaggerate or embellish your claim, as that could be considered fraudulent.
Do not go out and buy replacement items without getting the go-ahead from your insurer, as they may have a preferred supplier or specific replacement terms. They may ask you get quotes from local suppliers.
Don’t organise repairs without the authority of your insurer, and don’t throw away damaged items until the claim has been settled. Some polices will allow you to use your trusted provider after the insurer has approved the quote.
If there has been a lot of damage, then the insurer may send a loss adjuster to your home to look in detail at the claim.
If there has only been a small amount of damage it may not be worth claiming on your insurance as most policies carry an excess of at least £100. The excess is the amount you have to be before the claim is settled.
Don't take the insurer's first offer if it looks unacceptable. They may try to replace your stolen or damaged items with inferior models or carry out repairs using different materials. You have the right to insist on like-for-like replacements.
Another trick they sometimes use is to look at the best quote you have and tell you they could get it 15% cheaper so they are only paying you the lower price - tell them to either pay in full or get their provider to do it at the lower price (if they really do have someone that cheap).
Your insurer should put you in no worse position than you were before the claim. And no better off either (you should not profit from an insurance claim).
Read our guide below on the best step by step way to claim on your home insurance policy:
Your home insurance schedule will list the sections under which your home is insured
Refer to the appropriate section in your home insurance policy booklet - in it you will find details of the insurance cover which applies, including any exceptions
Check whether you specified Accidental Damage cover when you took out the policy - this is optional
Check if you took out optional HomeCALL Legal Protection or Home Emergency Cover with your home insurance
Contact your home insurance company using the appropriate telephone number or online contact.
Have the following information to hand:
Your home insurance policy number (this will be on your schedule)
Why you need to claim
The date the claim arose
Once your home insurance claim details are logged with your insurance company they will contact you directly to progress to settlement
Emergencies aside, you should refrain from purchasing replacements or authorising repairs without prior approval. In the event of an emergency, contact the relevant emergency helpline for advice.
If storm debris and flooding has damaged your home, including the garden, then your home insurance provider is more than likely to be prepared for your call.
Such events are a regularly handled by insurers and it's quite common for a 24-hour emergency helpline to be available to customers, especially when severe weather is expected.
This could come in handy if you have any immediate concerns or serious damage caused by the weather.
In most cases, you should not start any repairs before you have the go-ahead from your insurer.
If there are any repairs that you need to make immediately, then be sure to take photos before work begins and keep all the receipts.
Most home insurance policies will cover you in the event of weather damage and possibly cover part of the cost of staying in alternative accommodation if your home has been badly damaged.
See our guide to flood insurance if you're looking for help on what to do after severe wet weather.
The cost of home insurance varies between each provider, so to ensure you have the best value home insurance for your needs, shop around.