Uninsured damage can still run into thousands.

“chip pan fire demonstration”

Last week, we wrote how a survey by the Cooperative Insurance Company had revealed that over two fifths of homes were uninsured, with 42% of those questioned saying they couldn’t afford it. The message was stark – replacement or repair costs can run into thousands so get your insurance up to date.

Even for the 18% who didn’t think their possessions were worth insuring, an everyday accident can soon run up a repair or replacement bill of thousands and even if you are insured, there are some instances where you may be left without cover.

For example, Burst pipes whilst you’re away. It’s a common happening but check your insurance cover. Extended periods of leaving the house empty may still invalidate your insurance.

Leaking water can damage not only furniture and carpets, but walls and ceilings too. What if a fitted kitchen was damaged beyond repair? Would you be able to afford a replacement kitchen plus the repair damage to ceilings or even pipes?

Fire’s, even small ones can still cause major smoke and property damage. Figures suggest 19% of reported fires are caused by electrical faults. Damage isn’t confined to what the fire touches. If the Fire Service is called out, then you may have water and other extinguisher mess to clear up.

But your property doesn’t have to be empty for an incident to occur.

Getting distracted whilst cooking dinner can cause big repair bills. For example, leaving a chip pan unattended and allowing it to catch fire can cause thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Chip Pan fires account for around 25% of all home fires, and if your kitchen units were destroyed by fire? Check that other damage like that caused by putting a hot pan down on a worktop is also covered.

Running a bath? Don’t let it run over. With the boom in loft conversions, many of which include an en-suite bathroom, damage can occur to more than one floor. And the bill can be thousands – making good soaked bathroom floors, repairing and re-plastering ceilings not to mention the replacement of damaged furniture caught in the deluge.

Lastly, when you leave your property, make sure doors and windows are locked and secure – even if you’re only popping down the street.

Insurance companies can refuse to pay out for theft and damage if there were no signs of a forced entry. Jewellery, game consoles, laptops, DVD’s and flat screen tv’s are very desirable and easily carried away – especially through an open door.

And it’s not just thieves you’ve got to lock out. A sudden heavy rain through an open window can cause as much damage to curtains, wall coverings and flooring as a small flood. Be warned that the same “duty of care” may apply to such claims and your insurer may not pay out.

With any insurance, it’s vital to check the small print – what is and isn’t covered and how much excess you’re liable for depending on the type of claim made. These are all factors you should include when comparing home insurance quotes – rather than going on price alone. The cheapest may not be the best value. Some insurers may charge more for additional cover or circumstances than others, whilst some may offer things like mobile phone cover or extended ’empty period’ cover within the base prices.

Some insurers may even automatically increase your contents cover at Christmas, covering all those new presents, gadgets and clothing etc.

photo credit: jordanhill school d&t department

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