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Try not to be driven by price on a ‘cheap as chips’ policy. You may find yourself making a claim but can’t afford the high excess slapped onto a policy in order to keep the premium down.

Check what comes as standard and what doesn’t. Comparison sites are all well and good, but a one-on-one relationship with a good broker has its advantages. They also search the markets for the best possible deal to suit you, and will be invaluable in assisting you if you have a claim.

Many people just stick their policy in a drawer without reading it. This can be disastrous. There could be mistakes in the policy schedule that both you and the insurer are unaware of, and depending on the gravity of error/s this could create a lot of hassles during a claim causing unnecessary delays and much inconvenience. If you have opted for the ‘cheap as chips’ variety check to see if you have been given the cover you asked for, if this is not the case the inevitable problems will occur.

If you have been burgled and tools used for the break-in including ladders came from your unsecured garage you may be faced with problems with your claim.

Don’t be ‘too creative’ when listing stolen items and remember to report stolen items to the police within 24 hours or your claim may be rejected. Claims are usually given 30 days to report to your insurer, but check this on your policy or contact your broker.

When purchasing new goods for your home this could increase the value of your contents, so it’s important to contact your broker and advise them, especially if an item is of high value which may need to be insured separately. So it’s important to report any changes and avoid problems when making a claim.

Always keep receipts when purchasing household goods especially if an item is new, as they will come in handy should you have to make a claim. Keep a record of any phone calls and who you spoke to in respect of a claim. Paperwork can get mislaid or lost in the post, so if you have been asked to supply receipts make copies so that you can always re-submit.

Finally, it is a myth that insurance companies use all sorts of tactics to avoid paying out a claim. A lot of insurance policies can be very basic in as far as what a person is insured for, and this can be down to what a client has requested, perhaps to keep the premium down. That is why you should thoroughly check the policy documents for any mistakes and omissions that you may want to reconsider amending. If you notice for example that the new laptop you bought for your daughter is not included, notify your broker/insurer immediately before ‘Murphy’s Law’ kicks in and you make a claim without the knowledge that this item is not insured!

Remember, you can always add items to your existing policy at any time.