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Simple ways to make sure you are protected – or not

Simple ways to make sure you are protected – or not!

Life is busy and we all forget to do things from time to time. However, here are just 5 simple little things you can do to make sure you don't lose out in the insurance stakes.

Don't leave your keys in the car, or fill up with the wrong fuel

Your car moves fast – and so do thieves! We've all done, it, leave the car running on a cold and frosty morning whilst we pop back in doors to pick something up. If you do this and an opportunist thief takes advantage, chances are the insurance will not pay out.

Each year around 150,000 people put the wrong fuel in their cars! The damage this causes to the car engine can cost around £5,000 to repair. The British Insurance Brokers Association states that 30% of insurers wouldn't cover a driver who made this mistake.

Keeping your spare key under the doormat or geranium tub

Don't laugh – some people actually do this! Professional thieves know exactly where to look for the door key. Should they do this and be successful, your home insurance policy may not pay out. Your insurer may consider you were negligent (or stupid!) and the burglary therefore 'unforced'.

Going Away? – great!

Social network sites are monitored by good and bad people. Don't announce your long awaited holiday on Twitter or Facebook. This has led to some insurance companies taking a dim view of claimants who have openly told people when they are away. This has sparked a debate over whether 'irresponsible' social networking by clients could affect home insurance payouts – and premiums.

Always replace the batteries in your smoke alarm

Smoke alarms are cheap, simple to fit and could save lives. Having them in place should also help cut the cost of your home insurance. If you benefit from slightly cheaper premiums as a result of fitting smoke alarms, it would be a requirement of your policy that they are maintained in good working order. That means that if you don't regularly replace the batteries and check the system is working, your insurer could refuse to pay out for fire damage to your home and possessions,

It wasn't my fault – I forgot! Failing to mention key facts

Failing to disclose important facts to your insurance company could mean you miss out should you need to claim. Anything from forgetting to mention pre-existing medical conditions to fibbing about criminal convictions could invalidate your insurance cover. Accidentally omitting to pass on relevant information is not an excuse for 'non-disclosure'. A few things to bear in mind are:

Check what types of locks are fitted to your doors: insurance policies often specify which locks properties need in place.If you car is second hand, check that no modifications have been made to it- failure to disclose these could invalidate your policyFind out what materials your property is made of before buying property insurance. If it has been built from rare stone or brick, your insurance may not be sufficient to replace it, nor pay for specialist building services.

Insurance companies exist to protect their clients. Applying commonsense and discussing any changes which may affect existing policies is a vital and pivotal part of the relationship between an insurance company and their client.

Always seek their advice – by dealing with a real, live insurance advisor you get the information you really need, which means you get the insurance you really need. All this, generated in a two way dialogue, not just with a series of tick boxes! Real insurance – for real people is still available from a reliable, professional insurance company – just ask.

Posted on 25th June, 2010