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What do you need to do to make a claim with your home and contents insurance provider? We answer all your questions about claims, reporting, excess and more

If something happens to your home or belongings, it can be devastating. But if you have home and contents insurance, at least you have the peace of mind that you will be able to make a claim on your lost or damaged property.

Home and contents insurance is designed to make life easier when unexpected things happen, but some people find making a claim confusing and difficult. To make insurance claims easy, we have broken down the key questions you might have.

What Can I Claim For?

Every policy and insurance provider will have their own rules about what is included in a policy. However, most home insurance policies will insure you for unexpected events such as fire, flood, theft and impact damage. If you live in an area prone to one of these – such as on a floodplain – you may need to pay more for a policy that will cover you. Check your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for your full list of inclusions and exclusions.

What Information Will The Insurance Provider Need?

As a general rule, the more information you can provide to your insurance company, the better. They may want to send someone to inspect your property and see the extent of the damage for themselves. They may also request photos, purchase details, product warranties and more. Don’t throw away anything damaged before letting the insurance company take a look for themselves. 

How Can I Provide Proof Of Damage Or Loss? 

Insurers have a problem with people claiming for things they are not entitled to. For example, if there is a major storm, some people may claim that existing damage to their home was caused by the weather.

The best thing to do is to always be honest and to document everything as comprehensively as you can. Take plenty of photos and find witnesses to the damage if you can. 

For cases of theft, you need to prove that you did own any items that you are claiming as stolen. Receipts are the best method for doing this, but photos of you with the items also help. 

Do I Need To Report A Theft To The Police?

If you have been robbed, you will probably want to report the crime to the police anyway. Your insurer will require a police report number to process your claim. Even if the police don’t arrest or charge anyone for the theft, your insurer will still be able to accept your claim.

What If My Property Is Still Under Threat?

If your house is still under direct threat, you should do what you can to prevent further damage and get an emergency tradesperson if needed. However, you shouldn’t do any repairs beyond this. Insurers can refuse to cover any work that they haven’t authorised. 

Will I Need To Pay Excess On My Claim?

Excess payments are what keep your insurance premiums affordable during the year. They mean that you pay a bit extra only when making a claim. Most policies will include some excess when you make a claim, and you may have to pay a few hundred dollars to receive any payment from your insurance company. If the cost of the damage to your home or your lost property does not equal your excess amount, it may not be worth making a claim.

Sally Writes 16 Feb 2022