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maintaining a home

Tips to prepare for a home insurance claim

28 May 2019

It might be confusing to know where to start when it comes to making a Home and Contents insurance claim, but by following a few simple steps you can help the process to be as seamless as possible.

Suncorp customers’ most common Home and Contents Insurance claim in 2018 was accidental damage (46.35%), followed by storm damage (16.52%). This data shows just how important it is to cover both your home, and the valuables within it. That means if your property or its contents are damaged or stolen, you can focus on the claim itself instead of worrying about if you’re covered or not. That’s where these tips come in!

Top tips to help with your Home and Contents Insurance claim

Minimise damage to your home and contents

If and when it is safe to do so, it’s a good idea to try and minimise any further damage to your home and its contents. If the issue is water damage, attempt to control the leak or turn off the main water supply. Taking steps to prevent further loss or liability is also essential, only where safe to do so.

Don’t delay lodging your claim

It’s important to submit your claim as soon as reasonably possible. Even if you don’t yet know the full extent of the damage to your property or its contents, it’s crucial to contact your insurer and get the claims process underway.

Show evidence of ownership

Rifling through the overflowing receipts-drawer, rummaging through stowed-away product warranties, and searching for photos of items isn’t anyone’s idea of fun, especially if their home has just been flooded or burgled. Home insurance claims are, however, more likely to be successful when the right information is supplied.

Should the day ever come that you need to submit a claim, the process can be seamless if you’re well prepared. Receipts (including electronic receipts) are the easiest way to prove ownership of an item. Credit card or bank statements, original packaging, warranties or user manuals can also be used to demonstrate ownership. Failing that, photographs or videos that prove you were in possession of the item can support your claim, and can also demonstrate damage to the items by showing what they looked like before the insured event.

Our tip: keep receipts. Taking photos of your receipts is a good idea, as even those kept in the most secure and well-maintained shoebox or drawer will fade. It’s a tedious task, but one that’ll pay off if you do ever need to submit a claim. There are also plenty of apps you can download and register for to help keep track of your stuff for insurance purposes, such as Trōv.

Know the value of your possessions

Consider having expensive items, like jewellery – or items that might increase in value over time, such as antiques or artwork – re-evaluated every few years. That way, you’ll know the dollar value of your most precious possessions when lodging a claim. If you want a valuable item covered for a specific amount, there are options available. Having a record of your items being evaluated will also make it easier for you to show ownership.

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Honesty is key

Be open and honest with your insurer. Exaggerating you claim, or omitting details, can result in serious penalties. You may have your payout reduced or your claim denied entirely, and your policy may be cancelled.

Keep up-to-date with your premium payments

By making sure all your premiums are up-to-date, you can ensure your policy isn’t cancelled due to missed payment when you need it most! There are plenty of insurance options for different budgets and circumstances, making it easier to pay on time.

Check out the home and contents insurance calculator to estimate the right amount of premium for you

Re-read your Product Disclosure Statement

Avoid any shocks by having a strong understanding of what your insurance policy will and won’t cover. There’s a wide array of options to suit different budgets and circumstances, so when it comes time to pick a policy, make sure to choose one that will give you adequate protection should claim-time come. If you under or over-insure, you could end up out of pocket.

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Capture it

Take plenty of photos and videos of any damage before you begin cleaning up, including both close-up and wide shots of damaged areas or items. This allows the insurer to properly assess the damage, and will help with the claims process.

Prevent it

You could avoid the hassle of the insurance claim process entirely by securing your home against theft and damage.

By equipping your premises with safety and security equipment approved by your insurance provider, including clearly displayed security cameras and alarms, you could prevent a burglary. If you aren’t going to be home for a while, consider asking a friend or family member to housesit to further lower your chances of a burglary occurring.

By installing a residual-current device you can also prevent electrical fires and electric shock. A smoke detector is also essential for your own safety, as well as that of your home and contents – this could also be a condition of your insurance (along with burglary security).

Performing regular maintenance on your home to prevent against gradual water damage, which can involve things like ensuring your gutters aren’t blocked and checking appliances for leaks, is essential, as gradual damage isn’t covered by most Home Insurance policies.  

Hopefully you never have to lodge a Home and Contents Insurance claim, but if you do, these tips should help make it an easier journey for you.

Call Suncorp on 13 11 55 if you require more information on home and contents insurance.

The information is intended to be of a general nature only. We do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries.

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Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Consider the Product Disclosure Statement before making a decision about this insurance. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.

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