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 – so we’ve put together a list of the most common ways people do this.
1. 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.
With our home insurance policies, that length of time is 30 days. 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.
2. Rats and mice
Some policies won’t cover you for damage caused by vermin.
This usually includes rats and mice and these can cause damage to furniture or even gnaw through wires, causing a fire to start. So 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 and poison to keep them away.
3. 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 tool box, check your home insurance cover.
Most 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. So if you have any DIY mishaps, you’ll be covered for any damage.
4. Losing your keys
If your home is 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 is often the case when money is stolen from your home. It also applies in certain circumstances such as when you let out your home or we place any endorsements on your policy.
So 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.
5. 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.
And it generally applies to anyone in your home – so 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.