How Much Insurance Cover Should You Have?

How much should you insure your possessions for? It’s a tricky question, since too low means you wouldn’t be able to replace everything if you made a claim, while too much means you’re wasting money on the premiums, and the Loss Adjuster will require the correct valuation when you claim. What you need is just enough cover.

In addition to the basic cover, contents insurance providers offer various add-ons. Perhaps the most important of these is Accidental Cover, which we’d advise taking up, while other extras like Legal Cover and Home Emergency Cover depend on the circumstances. If you’ve done the sensible thing and gone through an insurance broker, they’ll advise you on these.

Valuing Your Possessions

So how do you get an accurate valuation of your possessions? It’s a laborious job, but you only have to do it once. Just go from room to room putting each item and its value on a spreadsheet, not forgetting those obscure items (bike, barbecue, exercise equipment) that you used once or twice and stuck in the shed or attic.

You’ll be surprised how much it all adds up to — and the good news is that, once you’ve done it, you’ll only need to add new items as you get them.

For anything regarded as high-value by Insurers, you’ll need to make up a second spreadsheet. Anything worth more than the Insurer’s high-risk single item value must be itemised in the insurance policy, or the Loss Adjuster will refuse to pay out on a claim for those items.

Getting Your Possessions Valued for Contents Insurance

Do you know the value of the possessions you have in your home? If you’re like most of us, probably not, which is why so many people are shocked when they make an insurance claim to replace their possessions after major damage to their home.

So why do we lose perspective over the value of what’s in our home? This is partly because we typically amass our possessions over a long period of time. Even if we’re among the rare people who’ve kept the receipts, we don’t usually keep up with price increases. The replacement cost may be a good deal more than the original price.

And that’s if we’ve actually bought the item. If it was a gift or an inheritance, we don’t usually think about finding out the insurable value.

It helps to have a photograph of the item if its value isn’t known, but a genuine valuation is better. The Insurer usually stipulates an upper limit that can be paid for any individual item, unless its value has been specified in the policy documents. If an item isn’t listed, you may not receive its full replacement cost.

When you’re taking out a contents insurance policy, make sure it includes a list of what’s being covered, including items you may not expect to count as contents, such as flooring and carpets. The Insurer’s Loss Adjuster will always ask for a complete list of damaged or missing items when you make a claim.

New Strategies By Burglars

Have you ever noticed a sticker appearing on your gate, wall or door-post? They usually look innocent enough, just advertising the 24 hour services of a local plumber, locksmith or electrician. Perhaps useful, perhaps annoying, but there can’t be any harm in them, can there?

Sometimes there isn’t, but the company may not have put them there — it may not even exist. Stickers like this are increasingly being used as code by burglars, marking houses for future burglary.

If you find a sticker of this kind:

• Remove it at once.
• Contact the company (if it exists) to find out if they put it there.
• If not, notify the police.
• Make sure that all your locks are secure.

Disposal of Valuables

An occupational hazard of being a burglar has always been the risk of getting caught with your valuables while making a getaway — but the modern burglar is getting around this.

“Cash for Gold” envelopes are intended to allow law-abiding people to post small valuables and be sent cash in return, instead of having to take things to the local pawn shop. Unfortunately, this also works for burglars and their ill-gotten gains. If the envelope is posted at the nearest letter-box, the burglar is carrying no incriminating evidence.

The main things you can do about this are increase your security and mark all your valuables so they may be recoverable. And, always, make sure your contents insurance is up to date.

In the unfortunate event of suffering a loss through burglars and you need to make a claim you can contact us here >>>

I, an Insurance Assessor advise – “Beware Tech-Savvy Burglars”

insurance assessor burglaryAs a insurance assessor I see so many problems that arise from theft. If you think your valuables are hidden securely in your home, you may need to think again. Burglars are increasingly resorting to technology to lead them to the valuables hidden around the house in locked cupboards and drawers.

I, as an insurance assessor, have seen that there’s been a dramatic increase in the use of metal detectors by burglars. Instead of having to take up crucial time searching the house and forcing open doors and drawers, the detector will lead them straight to what they want. The tech-savvy burglar can be in and out like a surgical strike.

insurance-assessor-safeA locked safe can help, of course, but the keys will also be picked up by the metal detector, however well hidden. A better answer would be to have a safe, attached to a solid wall or floor, that’s secured by a combination lock. If the burglar doesn’t have the combination, a metal detector won’t help.

A combination safe could not only save your valuables, it could also save you money on insurance premiums as both you and I, who will be your insurance assessor know all too well. This may vary depending on the policy or circumstances, but you should certainly bring up the fact with your insurer or insurance broker and find out what effect it will have.

If the burglars are successful and you have to make a claim, you’ll need a current valuation, an invoice or receipt, or a photo of the item to give the insurer’s Loss Adjuster — ideally all three. But, if you invest in a combination safe, it may not come to making a claim.

If you wish some more advice on this or any other topic relating to a burglary claim then contact me here >>>

Insurance Claim Jargon — More Terms Explained

In my last blog, I explained a few insurance claim terms that might baffle you. At Allied Claims, we do our best to make it straightforward, but other insurance professionals, such as a Loss Adjuster, may not realise you don’t understand what they’re talking about.
Business Interruption
When business productivity is stopped by an unplanned event or disaster, affecting the company’s profits.
insurance-claim-business-interruptionIf your business has to temporarily stop trading, for instance during repairs following a fire or flood at your premises, a Business Interruption Clause can be activated. Your insurance claim under this clause will normally cover loss of income, and also loss of certain overheads over a specified period of time.
This isn’t always as simple as it sounds, since the insurance company’s Loss Adjuster may not be using the same definitions of costs and overheads as your accountant. Because of this, we’d recommend that you consult both an accountant and an Insurance Broker when determining your level of cover for Business Interruption.
Getting the right level of Business Interruption cover could mean the difference between your business surviving or going under after a disaster. It’s estimated that at least 70% of businesses that suffer a catastrophic insurance claim fold within two years, either because they have insufficient or inappropriate Business Interruption cover, or because they have none at all.
Claims and Underwriting Exchange
A computerised register of information from insurance proposals, claims and renewal forms, shared by insurers as part of their campaign against fraud.
insurance-claim-underwritingMost people don’t realise that every insurance claim made is recorded in full, whether or not it’s successful. If you have to complete an insurance application form, you’ll find they want to know whether you’ve made a claim in the past three or five years.
False information given here, such as saying you haven’t made a claim within that time when actually you have, could result in a future claim being refused, even many years later.
Co-insurance
An arrangement by which an insurance policy is shared by more than one Insurer.
reinsurance-insurance-claimYour Insurer may, in certain circumstances, choose to spread the risk by reinsuring part of your policy with one or more other insurers. This doesn’t really affect you as the Policy Holder, since you’ll only deal with the Insurer you negotiated the policy with, but it’s as well to be aware of how any insurance policy is working.
If you need any help with your insurance claim, ring us on 0800 999 5679 or go to the Contact@ section of the website by following this link >>>

Insurance Claim Jargon – A Few Terms Explained

Like any sector, an insurance claim has its own jargon, often completely meaningless to the lay-person. At Allied Claims, we try always to talk in plain language to our clients and explain any technical terms, but it’s as well to know some of the terminology for any contact with other professionals, such as a Loss Adjuster.
Over the next few months, I’ll be giving a guide to some of the most important terms. Here are three to start.

Accidental Damage

insurance claim accidental damage
Unexpected and unplanned damage or harm caused to a property or a person.
This seems obvious, but “accidental” doesn’t have quite the usual meaning for the purposes of insurance. For damage to be judged accidental, it must be clear that you haven’t substantially contributed to the damage by action or negligence.
For example, suppose you’re carrying a sealed tin of paint through your house. You stumble, the tin flies out of your hand and hits the floor hard enough to burst open. Suddenly, you have a carpet that looks like a Jackson Pollock painting.
This is definitely accidental, and your insurance claim should be accepted. If, on the other hand, you were carrying an open tin of paint with no lid, the Loss Adjuster may judge the damage as partially your own fault and advise the insurance company to refuse the claim.

Aggregate Limit of Indemnity

The maximum amount an insurer will pay for all insurance claims over a set time frame.
Understandably, an insurance company isn’t willing to commit an unlimited amount of money per claim. Most people only ever need to make one or two claims on an insurance policy, if any, but there are exceptions.
Most policies will include an aggregate limit of indemnity, which will set a figure on the limit they’re liable to pay out in total over a set period. This is usually the lifetime of the policy, but occasionally a different time-scale is specified. If the combined total reaches this cut-off point, the insurance company will no longer pay your claim, however valid.

Assurance vs Insurance

Assurance is against something that will happen; insurance is against something that may happen.
insurance claim v assurance
Have you ever wondered why you have Life Assurance but Property Insurance? That’s because you will die (though hopefully not for a long time), whereas you may never need to make an insurance claim on your property.
This obviously affects the way in which the risk is calculated, although assessments will still be made to calculate how long you’re likely to live, and therefore how many payments the insurance company can expect to receive. Ultimately, though, they will need to pay out.
If you need any help with your insurance claim, ring us on 0800 999 5679 or go to the ‘Contact@ section of the website by following this link >>>

Insurance Claims and “The Insurance Act 2015”

Many experts consider The Insurance Act 2015, which comes into force later this month, and what it means for insurance claims, to be the biggest shake-up in insurance law for over a century. Its changes are aimed at businesses and corporations, rather than consumers, and most crucially changes the principles surrounding disclosure and penalties for non-disclosure.
The Act changes correct practice in dealing with insurance claims amongst other areas for insurance companies as well as for insured parties, but the most important things for businesses to be aware of are:
  • Instead of a vague obligation to reveal all circumstances affecting the insurer’s decision, the Act introduces a “duty of fair presentation”. This defines matters deemed to be known as those held in their records, those available to senior management and those available to a responsible person, such as a broker.
  • Previously, insurers could declare the policy invalid for any non-disclosure (e.g. if windows weren’t locked as declared, even if the insurance claim were for flood damage). The Act gives a sliding scale of remedies for insurers, depending on how serious the breach is, ranging from invaliding the whole policy to reducing the cover.
  • The Act specifies that, while a specific insurance policy may be agreed by both parties outside the terms specified in the Act, the insurance company must clearly explain the differences and their implications.
insurance claims commercial premisesThe Act makes it even more crucial than before that all relevant parties are involved in setting up a commercial insurance agreement, to ensure that nothing that should be disclosed is overlooked. This is always best undertaken with the advice and expertise of a professional insurance broker.
Allied Claims, who offer an expert loss assessor service specialise in property and business insurance claims, encounter situations that stretch the imagination, but that’s nothing to excuses given in other sectors. Here are just a few of the reasons we avoid car insurance:
  • “To avoid a collision I ran into the other car.”
  • “The telephone pole was approaching and I was attempting to swerve out of its way when it struck the front end of my car.”
  • “First car stopped suddenly, second car hit first car and a haggis ran into the rear of second car.”
Advice from Our Blog
Our blog gives regular updates on the insurance sector, though regrettably we’ve no advice on how to avoid being hit by a haggis.
If you want to know what insurance claims have in common with treating cancer, check out the post on the many uses of thermographyThermography, while our explanation of the Proximate Clause is essential reading to anyone who wants to make sure they have all eventualities covered in their policy.
Have a Great Month
We look forward to doing business with you or seeing you at networking events — or perhaps someone you know has a insurance claim. In the meantime, feel free to check out our website and read our blogs.

The Proximate Clause in an Insurance Claim, understand this?

Anyone who’s read through the small print on their insurance policy, especially if their insurance claim is rejected, will know how incomprehensible it can be. Unfortunately, it’s essential to understand, and nothing more than the Proximate Clause.
What Is the Proximate Clause?
A key principle of insurance, the Proximate Clause is used by Loss Adjustersto assess the exact cause of the damage or loss and determine whether that particular cause is covered by the policy.”
insurance claimTwo key court judgements* illustrate the kind of distinctions made. In both cases, a wall was blown down in a gale after having been previously damaged. In one, where the wall was blown down shortly after being struck by lightning, the lightning was ruled to have been the cause, whereas in the other, where the wall was damaged by fire a few days before being blown down, the fire wasn’t considered the cause.
The distinction here is because, in the second case, the wall stood for several days after the fire, and it was only the gale that made it collapse. In the first, though, it could be assumed that the gale might not have had such an effect without the lightning-strike.
How Might a Proximate Clause Affect You?
A decision by the Loss Adjuster on what’s counts as a proximate cause could depend on what’s actually covered by the policy when making that insurance claim. For instance, it may seem reasonable for an upper-floor office not to be insured against flooding.
Water damage insurance claimHowever, if the ground floor is damaged by flooding to the extent that the whole building has to be closed, the company using the upper floor may not receive compensation for loss of business because the situation was caused by flooding.
On the other hand, consider a case where a fire in a plastics factory results in particles spread by the wind damaging the stock of a nearby clothing factory. You may expect this to be covered by the plastic factory’s fire policy, but the Loss Adjuster could consider the actual cause to be wind-borne pollution, which isn’t covered.
Know Your Risks
The moral? It’s vital to make sure any insurance policy you take out covers all possible proximate causes if you need to make that insurance claim. Nothing should be ruled out without careful examination.
This is one of many reasons why it’s essential to consult an insurance broker, who’ll help you sort this out, and to use a Loss Assessor for your claim. If you need help with a claim, follow this link >>>.
* Roth v South Easthope Farmers’ Mutual Insurance Co. (1918) and Gasgarth v Law Union Insurance Co. (1876)

Thermography — Saving Lives and Saving Your Insurance Claim

Thermography is one of the wonders of modern science. It’s a technology which can save your life can also save you from losing out on your insurance claim. Thermography is among the tools offered by Allied Claims to make sure you’re getting what’s due to you, but it has a wide range of other applications.
What Is it?
It is a type of thermal imaging, which can produce a picture showing any object that’s hotter than what surrounds it. Everything produces heat in the form of infrared radiation and, although it can’t be seen by the human eye, thermographic imaging equipment can pick it up and use the data to create a computer-generated image of the object.
thermographyUnlike many forms of imaging, thermography is 100% safe. X-ray imaging, for instance, involves firing X-rays at you, and although the risk is usually small and acceptable, there is a risk. This system only passively measures what’s already there and is no more dangerous than a camera.
Uses
Thermography has been around for many decades and is put to a wide range of uses, from military surveillance to allowing firefighters to “see” in a smoke-filled building. One of its main applications, though, is for medical diagnosis, where its safety makes it particularly useful.
Medical thermography works because many issues inside the body, such as tumours and inflamed blood vessels, are marginally hotter than the surrounding tissue. The small difference is hard to measure by conventional methods, but it shows up on a thermographic image. So, it can be used to diagnose cancers, deep-vein thrombosis, and back issues. It’s even used in dentistry.
How Thermography Can Save Your Insurance Claim
You may know there’s been damage done to your property, but how can you be sure you’ve found every issue? The problem is that, if you don’t include hidden damage in the claim you give your Loss Adjuster, it can be extremely difficult to convince the insurance company to pay for it later.
thermography
Kitchen Water Damage

In the same way that the method is safe in medical diagnosis, it can be used to see the unknown in your property with no risk at all of causing damage. It can pick up places where heat is being lost, or where insulation is wet or missing, and detects water damage or mould. It can also pinpoint electrical hotspots and refrigerant leaks.

Detecting hidden damage before you present your claim to the Loss Adjuster could potentially save you tens of thousands of pounds. To take advantage of this wonder of modern science, just follow this link >>>

Summer Holiday Insurance Claims on Home Policies

INsurance claims socxial media postingSocial media is one of those things we can’t seem to live with or without. It has plenty of plusses, but there are traps, such as prospective employers being able to find the photos you wish you hadn’t posted. Now, though, it’s beginning to have an effect on insurance claims, too.
Home insurance policies have always tended to include a “Reasonable Care” clause, which allows the insurance company to refuse insurance claims if your own carelessness has contributed to the incident. This has traditionally been used mainly in burglary cases where doors or windows haven’t been adequately secured.
insurance claim home policyLately, though, Insurers and Loss Adjusters have increasingly been invoking the Reasonable Care clause for burglaries that happen while the owner is away on holiday. The Insurers are checking the claimant’s social media accounts for postings about the holiday, whether announcing it in advance or posting selfies while away.
The problem with this, of course, is that anyone making such posts is advertising publicly that they’re going to be away from home. If your house is burgled after you’ve done this, there’s a good chance of your insurance claim being rejected by your Insurance company.
It isn’t just Insurers who’ve noticed the trend. Police forces all over the country are warning us to be careful not to post on social media about being away. It seems that web-savvy burglars have taken to scouring social media sites to find out which houses in their area are likely to be empty.
So be careful. If you give away too much on social media, the Insurance company could reject your claim under the Reasonable Care clause, on the basis that you haven’t been careful enough in protecting your property. Either call us on 0800 999 5679 or follow this link >>> to discuss any help you need with your claim.