Is Your Insurance Valid? Your Home Security may be Affected.

October 4, 2017

Calamity were mentioned in an article in the Daily Telegraph dicussing home and contents insurance mistakes.

AUSTRALIANS are obsessed with owning a home and improving it, but are dangerously lazy when it comes to protecting their castles and the treasures within.

New Comparethemarket.com.au research revealed two in three homeowners not only don’t know the value of their possessions, but don’t know what they are insured for.

The survey of 1000 adults with home and contents cover found 69 per cent are in the dark as to the true value of their contents and 42 per cent don’t keep records of their possessions for insurance purposes.

Of those who did keep records in the form of receipts, valuations, certificates of authenticity and photographs, just 10 per cent kept those documents offsite for safety.

Meanwhile, some households were in danger of noncompliance, with 72 per cent not making alterations to their home to meet the terms and conditions of their policy; and 63 per cent admitting they hadn’t read their policy details in full. An alarming 53 per cent had merely skimmed over the details, which Comparethemarket.com.au spokeswoman Abigail Koch found shocking.

“Over half had skimmed the cover details so weren’t sure what they were covered for,” Ms Koch said. “It’s shocking because our home is our most valuable asset.”

Details in an insurance policy’s product disclosure statement (PDS) were essential to be across, Ms Koch said.

“They are long, boring and difficult to read, but given it’s protecting something so important, I would say ‘please just make the effort’,” she said. “It’s important that people understand what is and isn’t covered by their insurance policy so they are not caught out when they go to make a claim.”

Ms Koch said being honest and accurate with insurers was essential.

“There is no point telling your insurer you have a smoke alarm installed if (it’s) not working, as you may not be able to make a claim,” Ms Koch said.

Some customers don’t realise that when their belongings are old, they are actually covered for the cost of replacing them at today’s prices.

“Replacing a whole wardrobe in one go will cost you thousands,” Ms Koch said. “Using contents calculators can help you work out how much your contents are worth. Photograph things in your home using your phone, in case you have to prove ownership.”

Daniel Lewkovitz, CEO of Calamity Monitoring said there are a number of bad habits that compromise a homeowner’s ability to claim insurance in the event of an incident. Here are six common mistakes to avoid:

1. Leaving homes unattended for extended periods.

“If a home is left unattended for more than 60 days, it may not be covered,” Mr Lewkovitz said.

2. Leaving spare keys out.
“Spare keys should be kept with a family member or trusted neighbour …. or consider alternatives like pin-access key safes.”

3. Leaving windows open for ‘air’.

“Even if thousands of dollars are spent on the best security, an open window will mean easy access for a burglar.”

4. Not following through on what has been disclosed to the insurer.

“If policy documents show that an alarm is installed, homeowners must turn on the alarm when they leave the house.”

5. Forgetting to lock garages and sheds.

“Garages are a common entry point for burglars and it’s important valuables are not stored inside … and that they are locked when the home is unattended.”

6. Not noting changes to their insurance.

“Product disclosure statements can change year on year and could expose homeowners to risks if they don’t read and understand changes and ensure their home and contents comply.”

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