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Lockdown set to prompt insurance claim epidemic

Lockdown set to prompt insurance claim epidemic

Lockdown set to prompt insurance claim epidemic

Lockdown set to prompt insurance claim epidemic 1

With the world and its activities concentrated at home right now, those homes are taking a kicking.

As lockdown and social distancing rules leave households powering through the DIY to-do list or entertaining the kids with indoor assault courses and ball games, the insurance world is warning that claims for damage from all this inventiveness and creativity may not be covered by your home insurance.

More than one in every ten parents say the kids have damaged their home or its contents during lockdown, often thanks to creative activities, online PE lessons and other indoor activities that would never have been tolerated in normal life.

Meanwhile, while binge-watching box sets and movies is now a national pastime, the unseasonably warm weather has prompted millions to sort out the garden, engage in a full spring clean, or dabble in DIY.


“From catching up on household chores, doing a bit of DIY, to inventing ways to entertain the kids, people have been coming up with activities to make life in lockdown a bit more interesting. But what people may not have thought about is the impact on their home insurance,” says Lee Griffin, CEO of price comparison site GoCompare.

Accidental damage cover provides financial protection against loss or damage to your property and possessions as a result of an accident.  But insurers can and do refuse accidental damage claims, with the most common refusals because the event that occurred wasn’t covered, or that it wasn’t an accident.

Nor is the risk of damage limited to those at home with small children.

More than half of the nation’s 500,000 or more house sharers have found themselves significantly out of pocket as a result of their housemates’ habits.

From everyday slip-ups like staining the carpet, to potentially more hazardous situations like leaving a candle unattended, horror housemates can set Brits back as much as £4,600.

Two in three people who share their home admit their housemates have caused damage at one point or another, ranging from damaged furniture to blocked sinks and full redecoration, according to a survey by Halifax.

And then there’s the worrying image of half the country wielding a hammer without really knowing what they’re doing. DIY done by an amateur may not be covered, though common occurrences like a burst water pipe thanks to an ill-placed nail usually are.

“A badly repaired bathroom or an over-enthusiastic kettle bell session could well end up in a phone call to your insurer. But, unless your home insurance covers accidental damage, then you’ll find yourself picking up the cost of repairs,” adds Griffin, who also warns that increased household spending on movie and box set downloads could mean an extra insurance gap is rapidly opening up when it comes to digital assets.

Digital downloads lost as a result of a computer virus or hardware failure are typically excluded from household policies.

Also, beware of clearing up or trying to repair any damage you need to claim for as the action may invalidate a claim if not done in accordance with your insurer’s terms or procedures.

Insurance issues aren’t just limited to the home right now though. Co-op Insurance has this week pleaded with young drivers to drive more sensibly after empty roads saw speeding alerts issued to the most inexperienced motorists increase by a sixth in the last few weeks.

As more motorists return to the nation’s highways, the insurer, along with national road safety charity Brake, has warned that speeding motorists must slow down, especially as the number of cyclists and pedestrians is now set to rise far above pre-virus levels.

Need-to-know: home insurance

Contents are the items you would normally pack up and put in a removal van if you moved home, so any fixed items such as built-in wardrobes or built-in kitchen appliances would be covered under buildings insurance. For renters, buildings insurance, which won’t cover your personal belongings, is the responsibility of the landlord.

Totting up the total value of your personal possessions, and working out whether you are prepared to cover your individual or family belongings as well as any housemates’ or lodgers’, is crucial if you want to be sure you’re buying the right cover.

Most traditional contents insurance policies cover between £75,000 and £100,000 as standard. Alternatively, specialist renters’ insurance may suit you better as a tenant – protecting contents up to a lower amount of, say, £10,000.

Keep receipts, documentation and potentially photographs of valuable items to help with proof of ownership.


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