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Insurance small print, one family endures a vile and expensive break-in with no pay-out

Making sure your home and possessions are properly covered is of paramount importance, and we can all learn a lesson from a family whose home was ransacked by burglars and whom have lost £31,000 after their insurance tore-up their policy on a technicality.

This story has several heartbreaking elements to it. The family was told their insurers would not pay any of their claim because the valuables in their home were worth more than stated in their paperwork. The father of this family was at the time undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer and the theft took place as the family was taking their four year old daughter (together with their twin babies) to the hospital when she developed breathing difficulties. This left the house empty for only an hour and a half, long enough for thieves to break in via the kitchen window and a back door – which had been secured before the family rushed to the hospital.

The family had £27,000 worth of watches, heirlooms and electronic gadgets. Their home contents insurance was for a total of £50,000 – but small print said the valuables in the home must be no more than a third of this, therefore equalling £16,667. This meant their policy would not cover all the stolen items. Generally, it is common industry practice for the insurer to cover a percentage of the claim. However, in this case, the insurers refused to pay a single penny. They cancelled the policy and refunded the premium, which meant not only had the family lost goods to the value of £27,000 they also had to foot an additional bill of £4,000 for repairs. As the father was undergoing cancer treatment, he had been forced to give up his job and was living off savings, so this was a devastating blow.

Furthermore, the insurance had been bought on line through a comparison site. This is when problems can occur, as professional advice is not really a luxury when buying insurance and buying through a broker is generally just as competitive but you gain by having someone to advise you and to guide you through the insurance maze. At the same time, if you choose your broker wisely, you have someone to fight your corner if things go wrong. At Westhill Insurance Services we pride ourselves on our customer service and we take good care of all our clients, and here we share a few quick tips to help you save money on your home insurance.

> Make sure your locks on windows and doors are approved, this can save you money on your premium
> Think about increasing your excess – the more you are willing to pay, the less your premium
> If you live in a Neighbourhood Watch area you may be able to save money, mention it to your broker
> If you have a no claims bonus or history, make sure you tell your broker
> The older you are, the less likely you are to make a claim, and this could reduce your premium
> If you are a full time housewife/husband do not tick the 'unemployed' box as this could raise your premium price
> Be open and honest when you buy insurance to make sure you are properly covered
> If you are teetotal, do not smoke or have a dog (considered by some to be a good burglar deterrent) you may see your premium come down, worth mentioning at least!

So, you see it isn't only what you DON'T tell your broker that impacts on your insurance – it is also what you DO say! So don't waste time, pick up the phone and speak to one of our friendly team at Westhill Insurance Services and avoid such a horrible situation as above from happening to your family. Get good advice and arm yourself against the opportunist thieves.

Contact Westhill Insurance Services, today.

Posted on 27th September, 2013