It can be upsetting when a sentimental item has been lost or some of your belongings have been damaged, and this is why contents insurance is important - it covers the objects that mean so much to you.
Should an incident occur, you want to be confident that you will receive some form of compensation to replace the items or have parts of your property repaired. To do this, you’d need to file a home insurance claim through your provider. We’ve outlined exactly how you can do this to claim compensation on your missing or damaged items.
When you want to make a claim, you should get in touch with your home insurance provider to discuss how to go about this. They may take some details over the phone and advise you on what to do next or they may ask you to fill out a claim form and send it back to them. You should give them as much information as possible to ensure that your claim is dealt with correctly. Age Co offer a claim helpline that’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You should have your policy information in front of you when you make a call.
There are also some steps that you might need to take before you make a claim through your insurance. For example, if something has been lost or stolen, you must phone the police as soon as you can to report it and you should take any practical steps to get the lost item back. This could include retracing your steps and searching for the item before making a claim.
You shouldn’t throw away or destroy any items that are damaged until the insurance provider has given you the go-ahead to do this. For example, if there’s been a flood in your home, don’t throw away any objects. This is because the provider will want to see the damage done to each item and take a full itinerary. If you throw items away, you might not be able to claim for them and could lose out.
It’s also important that you don’t admit or deny responsibility for the incident or offer monetary compensation to anyone else involved from your own pocket. For example, if a fire broke out in your own property and your neighbour’s home suffered smoke damage, don’t offer them any money to cover the damage to their belongings or admit that the fire was your fault. These issues are down to your insurance provider to resolve.
Some insurance providers require receipts for or photographs of lost or damaged items. If an insurance provider requires this, you should find it written in your policy documents. They tend to use receipts as evidence of how much an item costs from new so that they can calculate how much compensation you should receive. For example, if a watch that you bought for £1,000 was stolen, the insurance company needs to know what it’s worth so they don’t overpay or underpay you for it. If you don’t have receipts, you may be able to contact your bank for an account statement that shows when you bought the item and for how much.
Photographic evidence might be required when you don’t have a receipt for the item, or you don’t know its value. For example, a family heirloom that has been passed down to you won’t come with a receipt and it’s likely that you don’t know how much it cost from new or how much it’s worth now.
These additional forms of proof could speed up the claims process.
In some cases, for instance if your house has been burnt down and there are no receipts left, the insurance company will probably be more lenient and will understand that you can’t provide this evidence.
Usually, if you claim on your home insurance, the premiums increase in the future. The more claims you make, the higher risk you’ll be classified as by the insurance company, which is why you will pay more.
This means that you should think carefully before making a claim, particularly if it’s just for one item. For example, if you’ve lost a bracelet worth £200, you may have to pay a £100 excess and your insurance premium could increase in the future. This means that you might be better off replacing the jewellery yourself instead of making a claim.