The number of burglaries across the country rocketed by 14% last year, according to the latest Home Office crime statistics.
Insurers are blaming thieves who break in to homes as the main trigger for claims – but other bad luck like flooding from stormy weather over recent weeks also spur calls for pay outs..
Plan before disaster strikes
Just in case the worst happens, take some photographs of your valuables and cherished belongings and list them with an approximate date of purchase and value. If you are really geeky, download a home inventory template from the web.
Store the images and inventory on line – somewhere like Google Docs has free online storage. If you cannot access the internet, leave a copy of the file with a friend or relative.
Report the problem quickly
Don’t delay so a problem just deteriorates – many insurers have 24-hour claim lines. Remember to check the dates. If the damage is weather-related, the insurer will check with the meteorological office to see if the wind or rain really was that bad.
Take photos of the damage
Keep a copy for your records and send the other to the insurer, Try and introduce scale with a ruler just like TV crime scene detectives to demonstrate the size of a crack or depth of water.
Check out your excess
Don’t report the damage and then look at your excess – the insurer will make a note and may increase your premium on renewal. If a burglar has broken in and stolen nothing or just a few things worth £100 and your excess is £250, consider paying for repairs and replacements yourself.
Keep calm when dealing with the insurance firm – the customer adviser on the end of the phone is trying to help and the questions they ask are not down to them, but their claims assessors.