The unthinkable has happened and you have to make an insurance claim. What to do next?
All insurance policies spell out clearly the risks they cover, and which risks are not covered.
Read your policy and make sure that the loss you have suffered is covered by your policy.
Decide which policy, buildings or contents, to claim under. A good general guide is that your buildings policy covers the structure of your home together with any fixtures and fittings and internal decorations. Your contents policy covers possessions which you would take with you if you moved.
If you are not sure, telephone both insurance companies for advice. Your policy booklet gives you a contact number.
Ask your insurance company, building society or insurance adviser for a claim form.
Complete the form as soon as possible and return it with, if possible, estimates for the cost of repair or replacement.
If you have a “replacement as new” policy you can claim for the full cost of repairing your property or replacing it with new items if they’ve been stolen or destroyed.
If you have an indemnity policy then you must deduct, on your claim form, an amount to represent wear and tear.
If you find it difficult to get estimates quickly (if damage is widespread builders and plumbers may be hard to track down) then send the claim form to the insurance company straight away, and tell them you will send estimates as quickly as possible.
If you have suffered from theft, malicious damage or vandalism, tell the police immediately.
If you have lost credit cards or cheque cards, tell the company that issued them immediately, a delay of even a few hours could prove expensive for you.
If temporary repairs have to be done to prevent further damage, arrange for the work to be done and keep bills. The cost may form part of your overall claim.
It is important to keep damaged items because the insurance company may want to see them. Burnt or soaked property can be kept in a shed or garage.