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Insurance Claim Stories

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Ms Buchanan

Being burgled is not only a real invasion of privacy but also a complete nightmare when trying to make your claim as we discovered when we were burgled three days before Christmas.

During the early hours of 22nd December we were burgled whilst we slept. I was woken by a call from the Police, who had chased the culprits who had dropped my purse which included my business card. After the call I went downstairs and saw that major items such as television, DVD recorder, cameras, camcorders and much more had been taken.

After the initial shock and distress of the burglary, we contacted our insurance company. Buying a ‘like for like’ insurance policy we believed that we would be able to claim for exactly the same items – same brand, model and value.

This however, was certainly not the case.

We could claim for the same specification of item – therefore if the item was a lesser value with another brand this would be the amount they would pay. They required proof of purchase, proof of ownership and this wasn’t something we had for all of the items.

We were left out of pocket not only for the items we couldn’t claim for but also the items that we could as we were unable to provide proof of purchase.

It worked out that we were well over £5000 out of pocket. If there had been an option for a system like readyclaim, we would have been able to have a record of all our contents, which would be up to date with photographs, copies of invoices and prices.

Mr C from Reading

In September 2010 after a holiday with friends in Scotland, I returned home to find that I’d be burgled. I immediately noticed that they’d taken the main things like the television, games console, my laptop and other electrical equipment from my home office. I was really shaken up and it was initially difficult to identify everything that was missing. When I composed myself and went through all my missing belongings, to my shock they had taken a whacking £7000 worth.

To add to this nightmare, when I contacted my insurer to report the claim, it was this that caused the most upheaval.

I’d taken out home contents insurance but found that when I claimed for everything that had been stolen, I didn’t have proof of purchase for some of the items in the form of invoices or receipts. My insurer also wanted photographic evidence of all of the things I was claiming for, as well as two separate ‘replacement as new’ quotes to calculate the current value of the items.

I was lucky that I’d purchased some things online and could find an email with proof of purchase, but this still left me short of the total value of my stolen goods.

There were also several things that I’d forgotten to add until after the claim had been submitted; including items such as games controllers and computer games.

As it currently stands, my insurance company is offering to pay out a percentage of my total loss of goods; estimated to be around £5500 – leaving me with a shortfall of £1500.

This loss could have been avoided if I had thought to take photographs of all of the things I wanted to cover under my home contents insurance, along with details of receipts or invoices for each item.

Mrs B from Cheshire

My aunt and uncle fell victim to a house fire a few years ago and lost pretty much everything and, to make matters worse, they only received a small percentage of the true value of their home contents.

Having been so close to a family member who lost everything, I always knew that checking what I had in my house actually tallied up with the value I insured it for was something I simply had to do.

But like most people, day to day life gets in the way and there was never a good time to do it. So this year I made it my New Year's resolution to finally get this sorted out.

As I started to work my way through every room in the house, I began to realise that there was so much I hadn't even thought about. My natural instinct was to work out the value of the TV, stereo equipment and furniture, but I hadn’t even considered the children's computers, iPhones, iPod with iTunes (in fact I have 5,000 tracks alone in my own collection – at £1 a go that's already £5,000 to replace if my house burns down).

I then thought about our wardrobe contents. Two pairs of UGG boots alone totted up to a few hundred pounds! Then I started to look at the pictures and paintings we'd accumulated during our marriage and I think at that point it dawned on me that we might be massively under insured.

My husband normally takes care of things like insurance so I'd never really got involved when he was getting quotes. Having looked into it, I discovered that we are insured for about £40,000 worth of contents at the moment, yet according to my calculations (and I haven’t even finished yet) I'm up to about £90,000 – I believe they will exceed £100,000 by the time I'm done.

I'm absolutely stunned that we are so underinsured, not by a small amount but by more than half. Heaven forbid the unthinkable happens and I end up losing half of my possessions - that would be a tragedy in itself.

All in all, I'll probably end up investing about a day of my time in recording all of this information and I've found a great online tool, that helps make it easier and something I can do from my iPad.

I have done this in manageable chunks and it will be time well spent if it gives me complete peace of mind and assurance that I won't get short-changed should I ever need to claim.