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Home & Contents Insurance - Buying A Policy 

This is, perhaps, an easier process than buying motor insurance. But the same basic rules apply. The same principles of insurance apply.

Honesty.
You MUST tell the truth to your insurers (and they in turn must tell the truth to you!). This is called 'utmost good faith'. And, legally, you have to tell them everything that might affect their assessment of the risk you present to them.

In practice, you are only required to answer the questions they ask. The traditional way is of course to fill in a proposal form for your insurer, either via an intermediary or with a direct insurer. This will contain a declaration at the end that confirms you have given them the correct information. It also provides them with your signature to meet certain Data Protection Act(s) requirements.

Most insurers now subscribe to CUE. (Claims and Underwriting Exchange) This is a national computer database where almost every household (and motor) claim in the country has been recorded for many years.

So, for example, you can't take out a policy with different companies, claim on them all and make money out of your insurance.

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If you do not disclose to them the truth when you answer a question on the proposal form, you could have your claim refused or your cover made 'void', i .e. the contract never existed.

So don't conveniently forget about those three little claims you made last year on your last policy! You will be found out.

Many insurers now just ask you some questions on the telephone. They will record the conversation and the recording constitutes a written proposal. So whatever answer you give, must be the truth. Otherwise the same thing will happen.

Internet sales (at the time of writing) are now really taking off, so much so that several of the major UK insurers such as The Prudential and The Pearl have disbanded their direct sales force. In many ways, home insurance is the ideal product to buy via the internet . If you buy tangible goods over the internet, you can't see them, feel them, try them out before you buy. They have to be sent to you by a traditional mode of transport. With home insurance, the potential is there for the whole contract - your proposal, your policy, your schedule - to be downloaded to you and saved on your computer.

 

Q: What was the cause of the fire?
A: Wife trying to murder me.
Q: What have you done to prevent a reoccurrence?
A: Divorced my wife.
Extracts taken from actual claim forms submitted to
a number of UK car insurance companies