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A Precautionary Tale

You wouldn’t be alone if you described yourself as less than an expert when it comes to insuring your home. With buildings and contents insurance, the main driver for decisions on what policy to buy is typically price, and the small print of what you’re actually covered for is something most people leave to the experts.

Here at FirstPort Insurance Services, we’ve sadly heard many tales of woe because of this approach, and most recently there’s the tale of “The House That Sat Down”.

The House That Sat Down

There once was a house, part cob, and part standard construction, that one day decided to sit down… well, actually the cob walls decided to move, so much so that the owner could walk through the gap.

What do you do with a house that’s sat down? You look to stand it back up again, and that is exactly what the owner did. They contacted their insurance company to report the issue in the hope they could quickly proceed with the work needed to get their house standing back up.

In an unfortunate twist to this tale, the insurance company politely declined their claim as the owner had not purchased accidental damage cover when buying their buildings insurance policy. In addition, they had never had their home valued for rebuilding – something also pertinent to the work needed to get their house standing back up.

This came as quite a shock to the owner, who was not an expert in insurance and had never heard of accidental damage cover, or been alerted to its benefits when purchasing insurance.

You’ll be relieved to hear the house is now back standing tall. But at great expense to the owner who learned their lesson and, when renewing their insurance the following year, spoke to an expert insurance broker to make sure they had the right cover for their home and could live happily ever after!

The moral of the story

Judi Runciman, Managing Director at FirstPort Insurance Services says:
“Sadly, I’ve seen this sort of tale time and time again in my 46 years’ experience in the insurance industry. In this case – and many others alike – it would have been of real benefit for the owner to have their home valued for rebuilding by a fully qualified RICS valuer and to ensure your sum insured under the buildings policy was adjusted accordingly.

Equally important, and this applies to both buildings and contents policies, is to ensure you have the right cover in place – such as accidental damage. The best way to make sure this is adequate is to place your insurance through a broker who can offer you their professional advice and guidance and explain what the covers mean to enable you to make an educated decision.

“My advice would be to find a broker who explains things at a level and in a way that you are comfortable with, and one that you feel you can trust to give you the time you need to consider and decide upon the cover that’s right for you and your home.”

FirstPort Insurance Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority