05 July 2018, 14:58

Hot tips: How to avoid an insurance meltdown during the heatwave

Home and Away - make sure you have insurance cover for your belongings

With forecasters predicting the current heatwave to continue into the weekend and well beyond, GoCompare Insurance is warning people to think about their possessions when they are out and about enjoying the weather. 

With millions of people planning a trip to the beach, a festival or just kicking back in the garden, the comparison site has compiled five tips to help avoid an insurance meltdown this summer:

  1. Personal possessions - don’t assume you are covered ‘away from the home’

Home insurance covers you for the loss of and damage to things in your home but, many people mistakenly believe their personal belongings - including mobile phones, jewellery, wallets and bags - are also covered outside the home.  However, few insurers (14%) offer cover away from home as standard, most (85%) only provide ‘personal possessions’ cover as a paid-for extra*. 

The amount you can claim for the belongings you carry around varies.  Policy limits are applied to single items (which can be as low as £250) and to the total amount you can claim for personal possessions.  Depending on the policy, cover limits, restrictions and exclusions may apply to valuables (e.g. jewellery and watches), cash and cards, mobile phones, sports and camping equipment and spectacles.  

Insurers expect you to take care of your belongings while you’re out and about.  Claims for the theft of personal possessions are likely to be refused if the items we left unattended – for example left under a towel on the beach while you went for a swim or for items left in a car unless they were out of sight in a locked boot, concealed luggage compartment or glove box.   

  1. Contents in the open – protecting your outdoor living spaces

During the summer, gardens become an extension of our living space.  However, people may not have considered the collective value of the items they leave outside and whether they’re covered by their home insurance.       

Most (91%) home contents policies provide ‘contents in the open’ cover for the loss or damage to moveable items such as patio furniture, BBQs, garden ornaments and lawnmowers left outside, so long as they are kept within the boundaries of your home.  However, maximum policy limits vary widely across policies, from as little as £250 to unlimited cover, so it’s important to check your policy and understand the cover you’ve got for your contents left in your garden.

  1. Pedal cycles – never assume your bike is automatically covered

Cycling is growing in popularity and the warm weather will encourage even more of us to get the bike out. However, you should never assume bikes are automatically covered by your home contents insurance.  While most policies (87%) provide some cover for cycles, limits apply to the maximum claim per bike, which can be as low as £100 and cover may only apply while the cycle is at your home. 

Pedal cycles are only generally covered away from home if you have opted for personal possessions cover.  You should also check your home insurance for any conditions which may apply, for example, cycles may only be insured against theft if they are in a locked building and/or securely locked to an immovable object.

  1. Opportunist thieves love open doors and windows and a selfie on the beach

In hot weather it’s tempting to leave doors and windows open, but if you leave your home, even for a few minutes, you should lock up.  Also, don’t leave valuable items such as mobile phones, laptops, jewellery and watches or wallets near an open window.  Otherwise, you may find you’ve invalidated your insurance should your home fall victim to an opportunist thief.

Similarly, posting photographs and details of your day trip, festival break or holiday on social media can highlight to burglars that your home is vacant.  So, help keep your property safe by making sure you tighten your online security.

  1. Top down? Don’t leave yourself exposed

Hot, sunny weather is perfect for driving a convertible car.  However, drivers should check their car insurance carefully to ensure they are aware of any restrictions on their policy cover.  For example, leaving the car parked with the roof down leaves your pride and joy more vulnerable to theft and unexpected summer showers. So, insurers may place restrictions on claims arising from these situations.

Anders Nilsson from GoCompare Insurance commented: “With the heatwave set to continue for another couple of weeks, many of us will be itching to get outside and make the most the good weather.  However, opportunist thieves love the hot weather too, because they know that doors and windows will be left open and people will be out enjoying themselves, often with a load of valuable possessions in tow. 

“If you’re heading out for the day, think about the value of the items you’re taking with you – you might be surprised by just how much you are putting yourself at risk. 

“Although home insurance gives you financial protection against the loss of or damage to your belongings while they are within the boundary of your home, as soon as you leave home your cover stops - unless you have personal possessions cover.  So, to avoid a meltdown this summer, check your policy and make sure you have the cover you need.”    

For more information on personal possessions cover outside the home, please visit https://www.gocompare.com/home-insurance/personal-possessions-cover-outside-the-home/

-Ends-

For further information please contact:

Anders Nilsson GoCompare on 01633 654 054

Gordon, Jason or Liz at MAW Communications on 01603 505 845

Keep up-to-date with GoCompare on Twitter: @GoCompare

Notes to editors

*Source: Defaqto Matrix of 422 home contents insurance policies (3 July 2018) – instant and unbiased market and competitor intelligence, from independent financial researcher Defaqto. Percentages are rounded up to the nearest whole number.

About GoCompare

GoCompare is a comparison website that enables people to compare the costs and features of a wide variety of insurance policies, financial products and energy tariffs.

GoCompare does not charge people to use its services, and it does not accept advertising or sponsored listings, so all product comparisons are unbiased. Gocompare makes its money through fees paid by the providers of products that appear on its various comparison services when a customer buys through the site.

GoCompare does not sell its customers’ data.

When it launched in 2006, it was the first comparison site to focus on displaying policy details rather than just listing prices, with the aim of helping people to make better-informed decisions when buying their insurance. GoCompare has remained dedicated to helping people choose the most appropriate products rather than just the cheapest, and has teamed up with Defaqto, the independent financial researcher, to integrate additional policy information into a number of its insurance comparison services. This allows people to compare up to an extra 30 features of cover.

GoCompare is the only comparison website to be invited to join the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

For more information visit www.gocompare.com and www.gocomparegroup.com

Contact Information

Gordon Maw

gordon@mawcomms.co.uk