DO YOUR VARIOUS insurance policies fit neatly together, or are you paying twice for the same thing? Our in-depth feature takes the uncertainty out of insurance and helps you make sure you've got the right cover.
By law we must all have car insurance, but how many of us have studied our policy in detail – especially the bits about caravans? A fine-toothcomb approach might not thrill you, but it is important to ensure you are adequately – but not excessively – covered.
Caravan insurance will cover some items beyond your car cover, but may duplicate others. And if you have an all-risks extension to your house insurance, caravanning items might be covered there. Do bear in mind, though, that many insurance companies will not pay out on a claim if the same risk is covered on another policy.
As well as overlaps in insurance coverage, there could also be gaps. To be absolutely sure of what’s covered, it’s best to study each policy carefully – a task best done before you have to make a claim.
Make the right claim
If you are covered by more than one insurer, decide whom to claim from – house, car or caravan insurance. Most people would choose the option that leaves their no-claims bonus intact. It’s worth remembering, though, that there may be a limit on the amount of the claim, which will differ from company to company.
“The main area of confusion usually relates to caravan contents, as some of these items are usually also considered household contents by caravanners,” says Stuart Craig of Total Shield Insurance. “Household contents are defined as being within the home, so would not be covered on such a policy when they are in a caravan. But if any of the caravan’s contents were stored in the readers’ house, then they would become contents under the household policy during that time. The moment they are taken away in the caravan, they cease to be household contents but fall under the caravan policy.”
In difficult cases (especially if confronted with the ‘not otherwise insured’ disclaimer), it is best to contact both insurers and have each tell you whom to claim from. However, as Graham Baynes of the Caravan Club says: “In practice, insurers will often share the burden of the claim.” In total all your insurance policies (car, caravan, house, breakdown and travel) may well add up to £1500 or more, so it is worth spending some time checking the small print to ensure you are not under-insured or doubling up on your insurance.
Don’t get caught in the web
If you are buying insurance online, look at the policy document or summary before accepting the quote. Some firms let you do this easily, but others make it quite hard to find all the details and exclusions online, or ask you to send for the policy document. If they do not cooperate, phone them instead, and don’t be afraid to ask the company probing questions, along the lines of ‘what happens if…’, before you sign up. You can always go back to the website to get your online discount afterwards. Make insurers work for your money.
For details on the various types of cover available, click here.