Imagine how devastating it would be to be told your home insurance policy doesn’t cover your fire damaged home.

Sadly, this does happen. The saying that You should never cut corners on an insurance policy could not be more starkly illustrated than in an article recently featured in the Mail Online (see link below). The family were naturally devastated to be told their insurance policy was invalid as the wrong number of bedrooms were declared when their insurance was taken out.

The Insurer in this case refused to pay out as the property had two rooms in the roof space which were not declared. The homeowner says the rooms were not fit for habitation and therefore did not disclose them when completing an online proposal form.

Unfortunately, even after referral to the Financial Ombudsman, the claim which amounted to £460k was not upheld.  

When insurance is purchased online, without any human interaction, it is vital to remember that there is no advice being given as to whether the policy you are purchasing is suitable for your needs. The company who supply the quotation under these circumstances will expect you to have read everything within the documentation and decide for yourself whether the cover is relevant for your needs.  All the questions MUST be correctly answered and ANYTHING that has any ambiguity should be checked by contacting the insurer, you should also retain notes retained regarding any conversations including the date and time and person you spoke to.

An insurance broker with qualified, experienced staff can help to avoid situations like this from occurring. Whilst industry standard questions will be asked, you will have the opportunity to discuss your details and therefore it is much more likely that the full picture of the risk to be presented to insurers will emerge.

Once the full facts are known and understood, insurance brokers can find the right policy to accommodate the risk making sure that the insurer is aware of and accepting of the facts. Most brokers have access to underwriters within insurance companies who they can negotiate terms with when unusual features are presented. We, for example, have seen many “non-standard” cases including unusual construction, properties built near watercourses, large personal collections and homes used for various non-domestic uses which could typically be declined by many online insurance providers.

Our advice is always to disclose the full information, even if you don’t believe a fact is relevant it is better to be safe than sorry.

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