Your home insurance can be your lifeline during times of disaster – but it can also raise your household bills suddenly if you make certain claims. Each claim you make can offer financial relief, but over time can also increase your premium – this increase can sometimes be significant. One of the best ways to avoid this situation is to know the most common claims that make premiums spike, and learn how to avoid making one in the first place.
1) Bad weather – Bad weather is the most likely to cause damage to your property, especially damage bad enough for you to make an insurance claim.
Extremely strong winds cause structural damage, lightning can affect your electronics, and even a hailstorm can mean you end up having to pay for a new roof. You can prevent having to claim by maintaining your roof and siding. This will not prevent the weather, but reinforcing this part of your house can save you a lot of money in the long run.
2) Plumbing – Damage from water is a very common claim in the UK. However, most of the time, the damage is surprisingly not caused by rain – instead it’s most often a failure of the house’s plumbing.
To prevent this, make sure to do regular upkeep of your plumbing system. Any leaky faucets need to be checked for problems. Make sure never to make obvious mistakes such as leaving the tap running or overloading the washing machine, and always investigate small signs of a problem as soon as you see them.
3) Fires – A house fire is one of the worst things that can happen in a home, and it is also one of the worst insurance claims to have to make.
Whilst hail and wind damage simply mean replacing the roof or siding, a fire can mean having to move out and possibly having to rebuild a room or part of the house.
To avoid this, always have your chimney inspected and regularly cleaned. Be alert for any fire risks around the home – these can be heaters, extensions cords or other electronics.
4) Washer hoses – Many people forget that there are in fact hoses behind their washing machines. However, poor maintenance might lose you money if you have to make a claim because of this.
It is worth noting that your claim could affect your premium more if you washer and dryer aren’t located in a basement. This is because there’s usually a drain in the basement, and it won’t cause damage to the rest of the house – if a hose breaks in your second-floor laundry room, this can cause a much bigger problem.
5) Flooding – Your home insurance should cover any water damage from things like plumbing leaks. However, flooding is not included in many typical insurance plans.
There has been news recently that flood zone homes in the UK could be set to see a drop in their premiums. Therefore, a specific policy is worth looking into if you are in an area at risk of flooding.
Even if you do not live in a flood zone, consider discussing your policy with an agent if you live near any major bodies of water. You cannot prevent a flood and any protective measures you can take on your property are very limited, but you can get adequate cover in case of a disaster.
6) Personal liabilities – There are lots of stories about someone tripping on a walkway and suing the homeowners for this. You might not think it, but these claims are shockingly common.
Your insurance might cover any costs you incur from a lawsuit, but this means you’ll have to make a personal liability claim. One of these claims can mean that your insurance premium increases for years after the incident.
Remember that pathways and pavements can contribute a lot to these claims. Other things that could encourage them are trampolines and swimming pools. Be alert when these things are in use and keep pathways clear and free of trip hazards.
Just taking these preventative measures could mean you keep your insurance premium as low as possible, and avoid raising your prices unnecessarily.
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