4 common home insurance claims – and how you can avoid them

No-one wants to fall victim to theft, fire, or accidental damage. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Wasim Bux, Product Manager at iGO4, a car and home insurance provider. Here, he shares his top tips for keeping your insurance premium affordable and your home safe and secure.

When it comes to protecting your home from fire, theft, and damage, home and contents insurance is an essential safeguard that can help cover the cost of expensive repairs. But, claiming on your home insurance can increase the cost of your premiums, and it’s likely that you’ll still have to pay an excess when you do. So, even if you have a great insurance policy in place, it still makes sense to protect your property with a few sensible precautions against accidents and damage.

Here, I’ve shared four of the most common claims, including advice on what you can do to prevent damage and lessen the chances of needing to claim on your insurance. Just read on to learn more.

Accidental damage

Accidental damage refers to any one-off incident that damages your possessions — like knocking a cup of tea over your computer, or spilling a glass of wine on your new sofa. As the most common type of contents insurance claim (according to this report from confused.com), it’s likely that we’ve all suffered some form of accidental damage in our homes at some point.

These kinds of accidents can happen to anyone, but there are still precautions you can take to limit damage and keep your contents insurance premium to a minimum. Shock resistant cases and covers can help protect phones, laptops, and tablets, and dark coloured, washable rugs are a great way to protect carpets from spills and stains. You can secure fragile items like vases using non-slip mats, and larger items — like televisions, shelving units, and drawers — can all be bracketed to a wall to prevent them from falling or being knocked over.

Water damage

Water damage (sometimes called ‘escape of water’) is typically caused by leaking pipes and radiators, or damaged or faulty appliances like washing machines and dishwashers. This sort of damage can spoil furniture, ruin carpets and even cause severe damage to the structure of your home, resulting in costly repairs that can take a long time to carry out.

Catching a leak early on will mean you can get it fixed before it spreads to other areas of your home, minimising the cost of repairs. Prevention and early detection are the best way to avoid water damage, so be vigilant about checking and maintaining your pipes, radiators, and white goods. Look out for any signs of damage, including: unexplained damp and mould, puddles forming near appliances, and sounds of dripping or running water, which could indicate a leak. Frozen pipes are more susceptible to bursting, so ensure that your home is well-heated during periods of cold weather, including any outbuildings, loft spaces, and garages, as these tend to freeze first.

Burglary

A burglary is every homeowner’s nightmare, and with good reason. Last year, victims of burglaries faced an average bill of £2833 to cover the cost of stolen valuables and repairs, according to Moneyfacts. In addition to the loss of your valuables, you’ll also have to cover the costs of broken locks, forced doors, and broken windows, all of which can be expensive and stressful, especially when you’re trying to cope with the shock of a burglary.

But, there are a few simple ways to deter thieves and keep your home secure. A burglar alarm and security system are a cost-effective solution in the long term, and will give you peace of mind when you’re out of the house. When you leave the house for a long period, leave the radio on, and control the lights using timers to make intruders think the property is still occupied. Don’t forget to properly secure sheds, garages, and other outside structures: thieves will often use ladders and tools to break into your home, so ensure that these are securely locked up.

Fire damage

Cooking appliances were the cause of 49% of domestic fires last year (gov.uk). You can prevent this from happening in your kitchen in your home by carefully monitoring ovens and stovetops during cooking, and never leave ovens and pans unattended. Clean, well-maintained appliances and cookers are much less likely to ignite, so make sure to clean your oven, hob, grill, and hood thoroughly at least once a month, taking care to remove any grease or fat. It’s also a good idea to keep a fire blanket or extinguisher to hand, in case the worst should happen.

Remember that when it comes to house fires, the safety of your family is paramount, so whatever you do, make sure to fit a fire alarm and test them regularly. You should also have an escape route planned, so that everyone in your home knows exactly what to do in the event of a fire: find out more about creating an escape plan for your family in this guide from the Fire Service.

Theft, fire, escaping water, and accidental damage can all increase your insurance premiums, and may take weeks or even months to repair. But, with just a few sensible precautions, you can limit the risk of damage and keep your home and possessions safe and secure.