Churchill magazine

Five ways you could invalidate your home insurance cover

Updated on: 16 August 2021

A rat is seen lurking under some furniture.

When you take out home insurance, your insurer will highlight your policy’s key facts and exclusions.

But you may not know that there are some things that can invalidate your cover. To help make sure this doesn’t happen to you, we’ve put together a list of the most common ways this can happen.

Extended breaks away from the home

Most home insurance policies will include a condition that you can’t be away from your property for more than a certain length of time. This will differ from one insurer to the next.

So, before you head off travelling for a few months, make sure to check your policy. If you’re not covered and you’re burgled while you’re away, your insurer may not pay out to replace anything you lost.

Rats and mice

Some policies won’t cover you for damage caused by vermin.

This usually includes rats and mice, which can cause damage to furniture or even gnaw through wires. It’s best to take action early and make sure your home isn’t damaged by pests.

If you spot any signs of vermin, make sure you take appropriate measures – whether it’s calling pest control or laying traps to keep them away.

Dodgy DIY work

If you’re thinking of renovating your home, there are plenty of things you can do without having to pay for a professional to do the job.

But before you open the toolbox, check your home insurance cover.

Some buildings insurance policies won’t cover you for accidental damage as standard. So, if you drill through a water pipe while doing some DIY, you could find yourself out of pocket as your insurer may not pay out to repair it.

Some insurers will offer an optional extra on their home insurance policies to cover you for accidental damage. This should cover any DIY mishaps, but be sure to check your policy details.

Losing your keys

If your home’s burgled, you may not be able to claim for everything that’s stolen unless you can prove to your insurer that it was the result of forced entry.

This means, if you lose your keys or give them to someone, you may not be able to make a claim if your house was burgled.

If you do lose a key, make sure you replace the locks as soon as possible to reduce the risk of thieves gaining access to your home.

It could also apply in certain circumstances such as when you rent out your home.

Deliberate damage

A home insurance policy is designed to protect you against the main disasters and threats like fire, flood, vandalism and burglary.

But if damage to your property or its contents is caused on purpose, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to claim. Most insurers include an exception in their policies for malicious damage.

It generally applies to anyone in your home. This means it doesn’t matter whether it’s you, your tenants, a member of the family or guests you invited over for dinner.

So, if you’re thinking about hosting a party, make sure you’re confident you’re not inviting anyone who’s going to trash the house. As your guests, any damage they cause could end up invalidating your home insurance, leaving you with a big bill to pick up at the end of the night.

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