Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dark Forces of Nature Play Havoc with Home Insurance; Flooding and Storm Damage Might Make Up the Majority of Claims but It Pays to Watch out for Critters, Too

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Dark Forces of Nature Play Havoc with Home Insurance; Flooding and Storm Damage Might Make Up the Majority of Claims but It Pays to Watch out for Critters, Too

Article excerpt

Byline: Lucy Tobin

WHAT does a 71-year-old woman who locked a badger in her shed (which then managed to bash a hole in the wall to escape) have in common with a dog who spotted a fellow canine on TV and decided to jump into the screen after it? They both led to home insurance claims. Although the vast majority of claims in the UK cover flooding and burglaries, insurers also have to pay out for a plethora of oddities. Others collated by specialist insurance provider RIAS from 400,000 home insurance customers' claims include a young boy spilling a glass of Coke on his grandfather's laptop (drying it with a hairdryer melted the keys, causing PS239 worth of damage) and a snail eating PS78 worth of carpet in the home of another British pensioner.

Gusty winds blew a 62-year-old man's specs off his face they were then immediately run over by a car, resulting in PS469 worth of damage and a trapped squirrel in the garage of an 86-year-old woman managed to crack a window and escape. Elsewhere, a seven-month-old puppy stole a litre of oil from the kitchen, dragged it to the living room and chewed it on the sofa, causing PS953 of damage.

Some home-insurance claims are decidedly modern. One Guildford resident held a baby up to show him off over Skype, at which point the toddler threw up on the laptop causing, RIAS found, PS437 worth of damage.

The claims act as a warning that, with insurance, the cheapest policy may not always pay in the long term.

London and the South-East is the most expensive area to insure a home but you need to make certain you take out the right amount of cover, otherwise there's little point having contents insurance at all.

Online, working out exactly how much buildings and contents cover you need is easy thanks to a string of free calculators.

The AA, for example, has one that breaks down the value of your possessions per room to help you avoid being over- or under-insured. …

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