The boom in price comparison sites and ‘click to buy’ policies has made home insurance easier and more affordable than ever in recent years. But with this rise in online policies comes an increased risk. Do consumers really know what they are buying and the terms they are agreeing to when ticking some online boxes?
Headlines over the past few years have been littered with stories of families losing out on thousands after having their household claims refused by online insurers. In one example, a family who were on holiday in Singapore found out via Facebook that their house had suffered a major fire. On returning to England, they were shocked even further to discover that their claim was to be refused, leaving them with a £460k bill.
The insurers turned down the claim on the basis that the house had seven bedrooms and not five (which the family had declared) – and the whole case came down to the family unknowingly filling out their online form incorrectly. Without the expert help or knowledge of an insurance broker, it has become too easy to tick a box without knowing the consequences, which could put a family at huge risk of losing out.
In another recent case, a family’s belongings were destroyed after a huge fire at the storage unit they were being kept at. Although their online insurance provider was aware of the family’s home renovation plans, the mother did not notify the company that their possessions were being kept outside of the home. This was partly due to a stressful family situation at the time and partly because she was unaware that notifying them was an essential term of the policy. Their claim was rejected and although after intense media attention the firm has agreed to pay out, the scenario has caused months of heart ache and stress for the family.
In light of this case and many others like it, after a full investigation, it has since been found that different online insurers have a range of varying terms on keeping possessions off site. In fact, each online insurer will have different terms when it comes to other stipulations such as locking windows from the inside and declaring small unused rooms as bedrooms as well – all which could have a significant effect on the result of a claim.
One thing is clear, cutting out the middle man can reduce costs but can also mean cutting out the duty of care. As insurance brokers, we have a high level of responsibility and care to ensure all clients are provided with the most concrete policies possible. The most important part of this is going through insurance policies with a fine-tooth comb to protect each client against any nasty surprises. Knowledge is power after all – and knowing exactly how to protect your home and what you must declare to your insurer is key. That way, if the worst was to happen to your home, you can feel safe and confident in the cover that is in place.
An expert eye on your policies could mean the difference between receiving a pay-out and losing hundreds of thousands. If you need help to clarify the terms of your household insurance or are unsure on where to start when covering your home and possessions, our expert Private Client team can help by providing bespoke packages tailored to your needs. Get in touch on or call 01623649931