Insurance can be hugely important if you want to keep yourself and your belongings protected from damage or covered in case any possessions are stolen. Some forms of insurance, such as contents insurance, are optional whereas others, like car insurance, are not. The world of insurance can be confusing, particularly because there are so many different types available, including travel, life, business, home, car and gadget insurance. With so many options, how do you know what type of insurance you need, what it should cover and what third party means?
It’s not uncommon for people to double up on their insurance by accident. For instance, your car insurance may come with breakdown cover included, but you might also be paying for a separate breakdown policy, not realising that it comes with your insurance. Alternatively, you may have switched home insurance providers, forgetting that the old policy renews automatically and resulting in two separate home insurance policies.
If you do have two insurance policies, read on to find out whether you can claim on them both.
Generally, if you have double cover, you can file a claim with both providers, however each insurer would need to be made aware of the situation and it can complicate the process, meaning it’ll take longer for you to be compensated. It’s always worth noting that you can insure yourself against loss but you should never profit from it. This means you will not be compensated twice as this could be classed as insurance fraud. Whether you have two insurance policies or one, you should receive the same amount of compensation in total.
When you make a claim, it must be declared and this can cause your insurance premiums to increase. When you have double cover, you’re making two claims and not just one, which could potentially cause your premiums to increase more than if you just claimed once, meaning you could actually lose money.
Occasionally, though this is quite rare, an insurance policy may state that if there is additional insurance in place through another provider, you won’t be able to make a claim. For instance, if you have two home insurance policies that are both active, one insurer may be able to state that the policy is void because of the second policy. In this scenario, you should see if the other provider will allow you to make a claim.
The reasons above demonstrate why double cover is inadvisable and why it can cause more problems than it solves. However, it’s worth noting that having two separate policies is perfectly acceptable if you have contents insurance with one provider and buildings insurance with another. This is because they’re very different things - contents insurance covers most of the belongings inside your home whereas buildings insurance protects the building itself, including the walls, floors and doors. As they are separate and don’t cover the same items, you could have buildings insurance with one provider and contents insurance with another provider and claim on both. However, it’s likely that they will still need to liaise during the process.
If you have two insurance policies that cover the same thing, the best solution would be to contact just one provider and file a claim. When you submit the claim form, you should state on there that you are also insured with a second provider. The first insurer should contact them on your behalf to discuss how the claim will be resolved. Generally one insurer will ask the other to make a contribution, also known as a contribution clause, essentially splitting the cost of your compensation between both companies. They may also calculate a proportionate amount of excess.
The excess is what must be paid upon making a claim by you, the customer. This figure can vary and depends on the insurer. If, for example, you have separate buildings and contents insurance, the excess might be £50 per policy, so £100. However the two providers may liaise and allow you to pay a reduced excess when claiming on the two policies, for example £70 instead.
As previously stated, it’s fine to have contents and buildings insurance with separate providers. In the instance of a fire or flood, for example, both your contents and your home itself will likely have sustained damage. In this instance, you should contact each of your providers separately and file a claim.
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