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Home > Home Insurance > Home Insurance Guides > Pay close attention to the fine print on your home insurance policy

Pay close attention to the fine print on your home insurance policy

As is the case with any type of contract, it’s crucial to carefully read the fine print of any home insurance policy. The best way to ensure that you don’t accidentally invalidate a claim is to become familiar with the document’s fine print.

You’ll be paying for property protection for years, so it makes perfect sense to know your coverage from the inside out and avoid any actions that may invalidate a future claim. Let’s take a look at the types of fine print commonly found in home insurance policies and what each entails.

Leaving the windows open

Leaving the windows open or not locking windows that are fitted with locks is a common fine print item that often invalidates many a home insurance claim.

Unforced access to your home

Chances are your home insurance provider will not pay out your entire claim if it is proven that a burglar did not have to use force to gain entry to your home.

Therefore, you should never hide spare keys outside of your home, because your policy is likely to become void if a burglar finds and uses them. You should also ensure that any dog flaps on an exterior door or wall are not large enough for someone to gain access to your home, because this may immediately void a claim as well.

Incorrect description of locks on the policy

Your home insurance provider may also reduce or refuse a payout if your home’s locks are not described correctly in your home insurance policy. So, the locks need to be correctly described on the home insurance application form. Your insurer should also be informed whenever you upgrade the locks.

Failure to use the burglar alarm

Your insurance company may also refuse a payout for a burglary claim if your home is equipped with a burglary alarm that you do not use. An alarm is there to protect your home, so you should activate it whenever you leave the house, even if it’s only for a minute or two.

Must report thefts to the police

You must report any theft to the police, who will provide you with a crime number that you must include on the claim application in order to avoid having your claim rejected. Thus, all thefts should be immediately reported to the police as soon as possible to receive a crime number.

Failure to secure non-covered valuables in the garden

Not securing valuables in your lawn or garden that may or not be covered by your home insurance policy, such as lawn mowers and barbecues, may result in a loss. Check to see which garden valuables are insured and ask for a policy extension to cover any valuables that may be left outside during the summer months. For added caution, secure all of your valuables in your shed, garage, or house whenever you are not home.

Providing access to tools used to break into the home

Not properly securing tools, such as wrenches, hammers, or ladders, that have been used to break into your home can also nullify a home insurance claim. So, all tools should also be secured within your house, shed, or garage.

Failing to notify your insurance provider when builders are on-site

This is an often overlooked item of fine print that catches thousands of homeowners each year. If your home ever suffers any accidental damage, your home insurance provider may only a pay a reduced claim or reject it entirely.

To avoid this from happening, your insurer needs to be notified when builders and contractors will be on-site. However, your premium may increase slightly to cover any damage that may take place.

House must not be unoccupied for more than 30 days

Any claim that is made after a home has been left unoccupied for more than a month may be voided as well. Therefore, you should arrange for a friend or family member to stay in the home at least one night within every 30-day period that you are away.

Being aware of the fine print in your home insurance policy and using these tips will help ensure the validity of any future home insurance claim that you may have.

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