8th January 2020

New year, new insurance?

By Steve Moores, Dip CII
Account Executive
Young couple reviewing paperwork

Make a New Year’s resolution with a difference this year and resolve to sort out your home insurance, properly.

It’s not fun, but it could be useful.

Start by checking the small print of your policy wording. A sentence here or there can make all the difference – you might find that you aren’t covered for things you previously thought you were. Some cheaper policies may have one or more of the following terms in their policy wordings which could reduce your cover:

  • A deduction for wear and tear. The insurer will only pay part of the cost of a new carpet, for example, reducing the payout by a set percentage for every year of the age of carpet. Look instead for a policy which is “New for Old”.
  • An “Average Clause”. This states that if you are not insuring for the proper value, the insurer could reduce the amount paid out proportionately.
  • Restricted or no cover at all, away from the home. If you have a “Personal Possessions” section in your schedule, then only the items in this section will be insured outside of the house. This means many policies restrict theft from cars.
  • A security clause. This may require that you lock every door and window before you leave the house. Forget and there may be no theft cover.
  • A theft limitation clause. Unless there is a sign of a break-in, your theft claim may not be paid at all.
  • Restricted cover when the house is unoccupied. Most insurers will restrict cover when the house is unoccupied. But the definition of unoccupied can vary from 48 hours to 60 days, or more, depending on the policy wording. Cheaper policies will exclude cover for burst pipes and theft if the house is deemed unoccupied

You should also check your schedule for any additional endorsements your insurer might have added. These can both extend and restrict cover, so it’s important you understand their meaning.

Better policies don’t usually have so many restrictions, so are more likely to pay out for a claim. Of course, you get what you pay for and the better policies will naturally give better cover. If you have checked the small print at least you’ll know in advance whether a particular claim might be settled in full.

Of course, if all of this is just too much to think about, call Aston Lark. We will check the small print for you and if requested, provide a quote on a policy that’s tailored to your needs. Call us on 0207 543 2800.

What’s a schedule and a policy wording?

Your schedule is tailored to you and shows the cover you have under your policy, including your sums insured and any specific changes to the policy wording, known as endorsements. Your copy is unique to you, and you will have received it on renewal or following the last change you made.

The policy wording is more generic and is produced by an insurer to show the general cover provided under that type of policy. You should have a copy of this, but if not, look on your insurer’s website.