13 June 2016

Top tips to avoid common home insurance claims

If you’ve ever had a house party that’s got a bit out of control – or just an ‘artistic’ toddler or two – you’ll probably be familiar with the most common Nationwide home insurance claim in 2015: accidental damage.

But what are the other home insurance categories that get frequent claims and can you do anything to avoid having to make one yourself?

In 2015, the most common Nationwide Building Society home insurance claims were related to accidental damage, water damage, storm damage and theft.

What counts as an ‘accident’?

Accidental damage covers damage to your home caused by sudden or unexpected events. So, if your restoration of an antique bureau has gone wrong your insurance company is unlikely to be sympathetic.

If you’ve put your foot through the floor while clearing out the loft or one of the kids has kicked a ball through the new TV, however, accidental damage cover might just come in handy.

Accidents do happen, so if you or your family are particularly clumsy, it could really pay off to take out accidental damage cover. If your home insurance doesn’t include it as standard, you can usually add it on as an optional extra for an additional premium.

Keep your head above water

You may think that our common claim “water damage” relates to damage caused by flood or storm, but actually more common than that is damage caused by mains water escaping from your heating system or pipes. Frozen pipes are a common cause during winter, so make sure that you carry out routine maintenance and protect your home for winter.

If you find yourself splashing about, stay safe and minimise the damage by turning the water, heating system and electrics off as soon as possible.

Find out more about what to do in the event of water damage.

Batten down the hatches

Given some of the extreme weather last winter, it’s no surprise that storm damage is high on the claims list.

As a general rule, damage to fences, gates and hedges are not likely to be covered, but your neighbour’s trampoline crashing into the conservatory should be.

Sometimes damage is unavoidable, but some simple steps should help you to weather most storms:

  • Secure loose objects – like trampolines – that could cause damage or injury
  • Make sure that doors and windows are secure
  • Put your car in the garage or park it away from buildings and trees.

If you’re hit by a storm – and it’s safe to do so – avoid further damage using a tarpaulin or plastic sheet to keep out the elements.

Find out more about what to do in the event of storm damage.

Beat the burglars

Deter nimble–fingered criminals by following our seven simple steps to keep burglars at bay.

  1. Put intruders in the spotlight with good outside lights
  2. Light up your home with timed indoor lighting
  3. Lock thieves out with British Standard 3621 locks
  4. Don’t show off. Leaving valuables in sight, or even the packaging that your new TV came in, could attract unwanted guests
  5. Be safe on social media. Got a new gadget? It’s best not to share the news with savvy burglars searching Facebook. Sharing information about the much–needed two–week break that you’re enjoying in France can also give them the go–ahead
  6. Sound the alarm. As well as alerting people to a break–in, a good alarm system can actually deter thieves. Just don’t forget to switch it on!
  7. Don’t let post pile up. Redirect your post or ask a neighbour to move it for you to avoid a pile up behind the front door.

Note: If you’re renting out a room in your house or leaving your home unoccupied for more than 60 days you’ll need to speak to your insurer to keep your policy valid.

Nationwide home insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited.

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