Direct Line magazine

Six reasons to review your home insurance

Updated on: 10 December 2020

A woman reviews her home insurance.

Home insurance provides valuable peace of mind that you are financially protected should anything happen to your property or its contents - but don’t just stick your policy in a drawer and forget about it.

You should always let your insurer know as soon as possible if anything changes with your property, as your cover could be affected. If you don’t, there’s a risk your policy could be invalidated, or you could discover you don’t have the necessary level of cover in place for a claim to be settled in full.

Here are six reasons why you might need to review your home insurance…

1. You’ve taken in a lodger

If you’ve decided to rent out your spare room for a bit of extra money, you need to tell your insurer, as this might affect your cover.

Have a read through the policy exclusions in your policy wording to see if damage caused by lodgers is covered. If you don’t let your insurer know, your policy could be invalidated.

2. You’re leaving your home unoccupied for a prolonged period of time

If you’re going on an extended trip and leaving your home unoccupied, tell your insurance company.

You’ll need to make sure you stay within the terms and conditions of your policy for it to remain valid, and if you’re not going to be there for 60 days or more, usually your insurer will apply certain exclusions. If you think you’re going to be away for this length of time, call them and let them know.

3. Your marital status or occupation has changed

If you’ve got married or divorced, or if you’ve changed jobs recently, you must notify your insurer. If you don’t and you need to make a claim, having the incorrect personal details on your policy could delay things. Similarly, if you’ve moved home, tell your insurer so that the cover ceases on your old property and your new home is protected.

4. You’ve done some building work to your property

Adding an extension, converting an attic or any other form of building work can potentially affect the value of your home and the cost of rebuilding it, which is what insurance companies base their premiums for buildings insurance on. You should tell them about any building work so they can update your cover if necessary. Remember, outbuildings are usually covered by your buildings insurance, so if you’re planning on putting in a new shed or home office in your garden, you’ll need to let your insurer know.

You’ll also need to tell them if you’ve changed your security measures, such as installing an alarm or changing your locks.

Regularly review the value of your home contents so you can make sure your policy still provides sufficient protection

5. You’ve bought or been given a valuable item

Most home insurance policies have what is known as a ‘single item limit’ which means if any item in your property, such as an expensive ring, or a valuable painting, exceeds this limit, it will need to be listed separately on your policy. It’s a good idea to regularly review the value of your home contents so you can make sure your policy still provides sufficient protection. If it doesn’t, contact your insurer and arrange to increase your cover limit. Items worth less than the single item limit will be covered as standard by your policy.

6. You’ve started working from home

If you’ve decided to start your own business from home, speak to your insurer and find out if your policy includes business use cover. Some home insurance policies will cover business equipment up to a certain level as standard, but make sure you know what this limit is, especially if you have any expensive equipment.

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