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Get your facts right when buying home insurance!

Get your facts right when buying home insurance!

When buying home insurance - it’s important to avoid making errors of “material fact” that could result in a claim being rejected at a later date.

According to the Association of British Insurers, material facts are “important facts about you or your circumstances that would influence an insurer’s decision on whether to issue a policy, on what terms and at what price.”

The association says that “non-disclosure or misrepresentation of such facts can result in an increase in your premium or worse your policy being cancelled or your claim being declined.”

Common examples of material facts include:

Your buildings (or contents) sums insured

When purchasing your home insurance policy – you may be asked how much you’d like to insure your building and/or contents for.  Often referred to as buildings sums insured and contents sums insured.

It is really important that you don’t guess these figures - as you could end up over insuring yourself and paying a higher premium than necessary or worse under insuring yourself and as a result only having a claim partially paid.

A building’s sum insured is the total cost of rebuilding your property from scratch, including any professional fees such as builders or architects. It’s important to note that it’s not the same as your home’s market value, which might be higher or lower than the rebuild cost.

You can get a rough idea of your home’s rebuild cost here.

The age of your home

The older a building is, the more it costs to insure - meaning newer buildings will have cheaper insurance premiums as they are considered less risky.

Your insurer may reject a claim if they find out the building is older than what you said it is - so you should be accurate when entering this type of information.

Whether your home is at risk of flooding or subsidence

Homes built near water sources are at a greater risk of flooding, so insurers will want to know if your home has flooded before and how close it is to a watercourse.

At the opposite extreme is subsidence – often caused by plant life leaching water from the soil. Insurers often ask if any trees or large shrubs are planted near your home so they can assess the impact on your foundations and the risk of costly damage.

Please ensure that you answer any questions about nearby watercourses and trees as accurately as possible.

If your home is left unoccupied for more than 30 days

Despite if you think it’s relevant or not, you must update your insurance provider you intend to leave your home unoccupied for more than 30 days, as empty houses hugely increase the risk of insurance claims and the cost of insurance.

It’s no surprise that the risk of a burglary rises when no one is home, as does the likelihood of fire and water damage, which can cause serious and expensive damage.

If you claim on your insurance at a time when your home was empty for a long period of time - without telling your insurance provider beforehand, they’re likely to reject it.

Whether your home is made from unusual materials or has a flat roof

Unusual materials, like felt roofing, thatched roofs and wattle-and-daub walls, can increase the risk of fire and can be expensive to look after or repair.

So, don’t forget to inform your insurance provider if your home is made of such materials - or a subsequent claim could be rejected.

Flat roofs are also a concern for insurance providers – so please ensure you answer this question accurately.  You’ll usually be asked to declare what percentage of your roof is flat.

Although some mistakes are down to human error, they can have a costly effect in the long run – which is why we wanted to remind you to double check your facts.  Please don’t guess.

If you’re a new customer looking to purchase home insurance, whether this is with us or with someone else, it’s well worth double-checking all of your facts – and making sure the correct information is entered when you apply online.

If you’re an existing One Call Insurance customer and you’d like to check your statement of facts – you can access your policy documents in your account on our customer portal.

* By clicking this link, you will be redirected to away from our website.

* Please note that the above information has been gathered through secondary research. The information provided is not based on our opinion. You should seek further guidance and information before making an informed decision.

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