Homeowners should pay more attention to their home insurance policies upon every renewal and properly note the exceptions. This was learned the hard way by a couple in London recently.
As reported by The Guardian, couple Gemma and Mark Hall (not their real names), both NHS doctors, had their £6,000 burglary claim turned down by their London home’s insurer LV=
. The claim was rejected because the Halls’ home did not have a burglar alarm. When they bought their home and contents insurance for about £350 in 2005, they stated that they did not have an alarm.
Each year, the Halls renewed their policy, but were not aware that the terms had changed. According to LV=
, having a burglar alarm was part of the policy since 2010. The 2010 and 2011 renewal letters said: “Please check your new quote carefully as the conditions quoted may differ from your existing insurance.”
Meanwhile, the 2012 renewal letter contained: “Your insurance quote is based on the following information and is valid until your renewal date. Please check your details and let us know if anything is incorrect or has changed. Also check that your home is fitted with the security conditions we have shown over the page.”
The Halls argued that they were not made aware in explicit terms that an alarm was required. The couple said they were busy with work and raising three children, and they renewed their policy without a second thought, even if the annual premium rose to £500. Had LV=
plainly stated that they needed to install an alarm, said Gemma, then they would’ve done so.
Without an alarm, insurers may turn down burglary claims, but homeowners can appeal at the Financial Ombudsman Service if they feel that they were not properly informed of conditions upon purchase or renewal. Brokers and advisors are encouraged to keep an eye out and inform their clients of any changes to their policies to further build trust among all parties.