Experts are urging homeowners to contact their insurance provider before making any of six common mistakes.
Examples of these seemingly harmless errors include posting holiday snaps online, renting out a room, installing pet doors or even renovating, all of which could lead to invalidated claims.
Founder and CEO of Quotezone.co.uk, Greg Wilson, said: “I’m sure some of these unusual mistakes are quite common in households up and down the country, so it’s important homeowners make every effort to maintain and take care for their property and update their insurance providers to any changes in circumstance.
“Providing correct and up to date information to insurers could be the difference between receiving the proper protection for their home should they need to make a claim or rendering the policy invalid, so it’s best to be aware of what does and doesn’t affect home insurance and keep the insurance provider in the loop.”
Common mistakes which could invalidate home insurance:
1. Pet Doors
Although installing pet doors may not seem like something to alert your insurer of, cat and dog flaps give access to your home from the outside. Some insurers may view them as making your home less secure, so it’s essential that you update your insurer should you have one added to your property – failure to do so may invalidate your policy.
2. Taking a long holiday
Leaving your home empty for an extended period of time leaves it vulnerable to crime or could lead to serious damage from a burst pipe or gas leak if no one is there to spot it. If you plan to be away for 30 days or longer, seek advice from your insurer and make sure your policy is updated with the correct number of unoccupied days indicated – failure to do so may result in an invalid insurance policy.
3. Running a business from home
It is important to inform your insurer before starting a new business from your home as you may need to be covered under a separate policy, depending on the type of work in question. This policy needs to be in place to protect clients, employees and delivery people and to cover all equipment and inventory. This will help in claims against theft, fire or any sudden event which affects your business space.
4. Letting a room
Many companies view rented rooms as a risk to policies, so anyone hoping to have a lodger should check with their insurer about how this will affect their home insurance policy. It is also important to make sure any rented rooms are fit for purpose. In some areas, a basement without windows is considered an illegal apartment and can lead to a claim denial if something were to happen.
5. Social media
Your social media activity could leave your home at risk. Letting your online following know you are jetting away and leaving your home empty makes you vulnerable to burglary. Posting a few images of your time away may not be enough on its own to lead to an invalidated claim, but oversharing online could make the insurer call into question the ‘reasonable care’ of the property– making it wise to be cautious, turn off location settings when posting or wait until you get home.
Starting renovations in your home without alerting your insurer may invalidate your policy, as revamping your home will increase the value of the property and the risk of accidents. Contractors coming into your home to carry out the work should also have their own liability insurance.
Alice J. Roden started working for Trending Insurance News at the end of 2021. Alice grew up in Salt Lake City, UT. A writer with a vast insurance industry background Alice has help with several of the biggest insurance companies. Before joining Trending Insurance News, Alice briefly worked as a freelance journalist for several radio stations. She covers home, renters and other property insurance stories.