Storms have been battering the UK since before Christmas, with large swathes of the UK having suffered serious damage from flooding and high winds.
One of the results of this will have been a spike in the number of home-insurance claims, with householders hoping for payouts to alleviate at least some of their misery.
But figures supplied by the insurance industry suggest that one in every five home-insurance claims is rejected – and if you are one of those whose claim is turned down, you could be set for further heartbreak.
“Home-insurance claims generally arise during already stressful situations, such as when your home has been damaged by a storm or you’ve had a break-in,” said Ben Wilson, of Gocompare.
“Add the possibility of having a claim refused, and it just makes matters worse.”
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) says that 21% of home-insurance claims made during 2013 and 2014 were unsuccessful, with the main reason for rejection being the incident or the value of a claim falling outside the policy’s terms.
Mr Wilson outlined some basics to help improve the chances of any claim being successful:
Look at the level of cover, not just the price
The ABI stats suggest that not having the right cover or making a claim for less than the policy excess are common factors with rejected claims.
It’s all very well looking for the cheapest deal, but it’s a waste of time taking out a low-cost policy if it doesn’t provide adequate cover when things go wrong.
Make sure you know whether or not you’re covered for accidental damage or for items away from the home, for example, and make sure any valuable items are specifically covered.
Read the smallprint
Even if you have the right level of cover, you might find your claim is refused if you didn’t follow the terms and conditions of the policy.
Do you have (and are you using) adequate locks on your doors and windows? Is the home being left unoccupied for longer than allowed under the terms of the policy?
If you don’t read and adhere to the smallprint, it could cost you dear should you need to make a claim.
Look after your home
You might be able to claim for storm damage, but if you have a problem caused by damaged guttering that you have allowed to fester, you might find any claim is turned down.
Insurance is there to cover you if the unforeseen should happen – it’s not there to help you deal with problems caused by wear-and-tear.
Be honest about your losses
If you are tempted to exaggerate the value of your losses, you risk being turned down for the whole of your claim – even if your exaggeration relates to only part of the claim. It might also leave you struggling to take out cover in the future.
Don’t be tempted to tell porky-pies – if nothing else, it’s fraud.