If the unexpected has happened to your beloved home, dealing with an insurance claim can be a nightmare.
In fact, it goes without saying that most people dread the idea of having to make an insurance claim.
But the only thing worse than actually having to make a claim is having that claim rejected.
Especially if you’ve spent time and energy collecting paperwork and preparing evidence.
So in what instances are insurance claims most commonly rejected, and how can you ensure that your claim is accepted every time?
Here are some tips.
A common home insurance mistake is making a claim for damage that isn’t actually covered by your policy.
Taking out a policy can be quite technical in the first place, so it’s easy to overlook certain things that you may want included but that aren’t.
More often than not, this includes natural disasters and storms.
Homeowners often try to claim for damage that has occurred as the result of a “storm surge” due to a sudden and unexpected storm.
This is essentially a surge of water, usually from a river or the ocean, that has veered from its usual path and come into contact with your house, causing damage.
However, in some cases, this can technically be categorised as flood damage, and won’t be covered under a typical storm policy.
Claims for bushfire damage
Those who live in a high-risk bushfire zone will have a hard time taking out a home insurance policy at all, let alone one that includes fire damage.
However, that doesn’t stop people from trying to claim for it.
It’s important to be aware that if you live in a bushfire zone you should check your policy and contact your insurer if you need to make amendments.
We’re coming into fire season so it’s a good idea to increase your level of cover now, if you can.
Properties with low security
A lot of the time, the approval or rejection of a contents insurance claim comes down to how secure the premises and house are.
This can also affect the price of your premiums.
So the more security you have in place (eg, security cameras, alarms, deadbolts and even a gate), the cheaper your premiums may be.
But if your house is broken into and your insurer knows that you don’t have locks on your doors, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to make a successful claim.
In this instance they can probably argue that you didn’t implement enough security measures to prevent a break in.
Never lie about a claim! Insurance companies have investigators that look into every detail of your claim and not only is lying on an insurance claim considered to be fraud, but it will also ensure that you don’t receive compensation.
It’s best to be upfront in the case of an accident, for example, don’t blame fire damage on arson if it was caused by your stove.
How can you ensure your claim isn’t rejected?
For starters, gather as much evidence as possible of what’s happened.
It’s important to answer all the questions your insurer asks you honestly and to be as clear and factual as possible regarding the events that have occurred.
Where possible, provide clear statements describing the damage and even include photographic evidence.
It’s also important to research your policy thoroughly.
There’s no point spending time on a claim for something that your policy doesn’t even cover.
However, if you know that you aren’t covered for something, you can try seeking financial advice as there may be other options for you.
Richard Laycock is an insurance expert at finder.com.au.
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