From exaggerating home insurance claims to Acts of God - what's actually covered by your home insurance? We debunk the common home insurance myths
True or false? Fact or fiction? With plenty of myths doing the rounds, separating rumours and falsehoods from reality can be a little tricky when it comes to home insurance. Our home insurance myth buster is here to act as your trusty guide.
Your buildings insurance should reflect current market value
This is probably one of the top myths floating around that relates to home insurance. When taking out buildings insurance you should be insured for the amount it would cost to rebuild the property, not how much the house would go for on the open market.
With an accurate figure you'll not only avoid paying too much or too little for your policy, you can be confident that if the building had to be rebuilt from the ground up, your insurance would be sufficient. Check out our handy guide on calculating the costs of a rebuild.
Acts of God
Beware the dreaded 'Act of God clause' in your insurance policy. Actually, there's no need as it doesn't exist. Your policy will clearly set out what you're insured for and list any exclusions that apply in certain situations. For example, it's common not to be able to claim for damage to buildings caused by moths, fungus, insects, pests or vermin. While this might sound like a reference to a biblical plague, rest assured that God will play no part in deciding whether or not an insurance claim can be settled.
Subsidence means you're uninsurable
No homeowner wants to hear the feared word subsidence as it essentially means that the property is sinking into the ground. A range of factors can cause subsidence, including trees removing water from the ground under a house's foundations, and damaged drains causing soil to be washed away from underneath the property. Both will lead to stability issues.
However, the fact that a house has suffered from subsidence doesn't mean you'll be unable to get insurance, although some companies may choose not to provide you with a quote. Most mortgages require you to take out buildings insurance and so it is important to check that you have the right level of cover.
Be sure to contact your insurer as soon as you realise there may be a problem, but rest assured that in most cases your current provider will generally continue to offer cover. Your annual premium may increase following a claim and it's important to be aware of a policy's subsidence excess.
Automatic cover for personal possessions away from home
It's important not to take it for granted that home contents insurance will automatically protect your personal possessions against loss or damage away from home. Some policies, such as Admiral Platinum, do include personal possessions cover up to £2,000 as standard.
As always though, it's essential to check with your insurer that items such as musical instruments, tablets and sports equipment are insured when you're away from home.
It's OK to slightly exaggerate when making a claim
Trust is a two-way street and your relationship with your insurance company is likely to deteriorate rapidly if you exaggerate the value of your loss when making a claim.
While it's true that companies have to deal with a large number of fraudulent claims – as many as 2,500 a week in 2015 according to the Association of British Insurers – firms will always investigate suspected cases, so it pays to be upfront and honest.
If a claim is found to be fraudulent (including if it is exaggerated) the policy will be voided and your insurer will not pay out.
Take a look at our guide – 7 ways to invalidate your home insurance – for more information.
You can claim for anything up to the policy limit
Contents insurance allows you to protect household goods, personal belongings and high-risk items up to a certain value, depending on the level of cover you take out.
You'll need to work out the value of your home's contents in order to come up with an accurate figure – everything from your television to your sofa. If you've found yourself wondering "How much contents insurance do I need?", take a look at our handy contents calculator to simplify the process.
It's important to remember this figure is the maximum the insurer will pay out in the event of a claim. There will always be an unspecified item limit – a maximum amount your insurer will pay out for a single item without it being listed separately on the policy.
If you're with Admiral this limit is £1,000. If you've got expensive items such as jewellery or a computer worth more than this, you'll need to tell us in advance.
It's also worth noting there'll be a high-risk item limit too – a maximum amount your insurer is prepared to pay for all high-risk items, whether specified or unspecified.
You're automatically covered for accidental damage
Whether or not you're covered for accidental damage to your home and its contents will depend on your specific policy. Understandably, many homeowners want to be protected against unintentional one-off incidents such as a television being knocked over and broken, or a tin of paint being spilt and ruining a new carpet. Accidental damage cover may automatically be included as part of your policy but it's important to check with your provider.
You have to take out insurance with your mortgage provider
Many first-time buyers believe they have to take out their home insurance with their mortgage provider, probably because a lot of lenders go in with the hard sell. But, this isn’t the case. Whether you’re stepping onto the property ladder for the first time or you’re moving onto your second or third home, you’re free to take out your home insurance with whichever company is right for you.
Before you take out a policy, read our guide on buying home insurance to make sure you get the best cover. If you’re already insured with Admiral and you’re moving house, simply call us for a new quote or to let us know your new address.
If you're unsure, ask.
There are absolutely no myths surrounding what to do if you're unsure about any aspect of your current home insurance policy or a new quote
Requesting expert advice when you want to know what building insurance covers, or whether homeowner insurance covers fire damage, for example, is the always the best option. It'll ensure you've got the right cover to suit your requirements.
If you've taken out Admiral Home Insurance, it's quick and easy to discuss any aspect of your policy with one of our friendly agents. Call us on 0333 220 2003 today.