Home insurance claim denied? Here's what to do next

If your home insurance claim has been denied, we explain the steps to take and how to protect yourself against future rejections.

Having a home insurance claim denied can be a stressful and worrying experience. After all, if your home has flooded or you’ve been a victim of burglary, the last thing you’ll want is for your home insurer to refuse to pay out and not cover the cost of the damage.

In this situation it’s important to understand exactly why your home insurance claim has been rejected and what you can do about it.

Why are some home insurance claims denied?

There are many reasons why a home insurance claim could be turned down. Common examples include failing to inform your provider about a previous claim or providing inaccurate information on the claims form. 

Your claim could also be rejected if you do not have the right level of cover in place. 

room with wooden table and frame

(Image credit: Future Plc/David Brittain)

‘Some insurers offer accidental damage cover as an optional extra so, if you didn’t take this out, you may not be covered for damage caused by things like spills on your carpet or accidentally dropping a heavy item which damages a kitchen worktop,’ explains Catherine Marsh, product director at More Than.

Your claim might also be denied if you haven’t paid close attention to the general exclusions on your policy. What does home insurance cover? Many insurers won’t cover damage caused by wear and tear or a lack of maintenance, for example.

‘Insurance is not a maintenance contract, and it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that it is in a good state of repair,’ says ABI senior policy adviser, Sarah Brodie. ‘For example, if you knew there were tiles missing from your roof and then there was a storm which resulted in the roof leaking, your insurance claim may not be accepted as the roof was not in good repair.’

What happens if your home insurance claim is denied?

If your claim has been rejected you may feel angry and frustrated. But it’s important to take a deep breath and work out your next steps calmly. 

If you’ve checked the small print of your policy carefully and you believe your claim has been unfairly rejected, your first step is to talk to your insurer. See if the decision can be overturned. If that’s unsuccessful, you may need to submit a formal complaint. 

It can also be beneficial to appoint a loss assessor to take up your negotiation. 

‘They will examine your situation, the small print of your policy and the damage and advise as to whether it is worth challenging the decision with their expert help,’ says Simon Colburn, director of Property Claim Assist.

Bear in mind that some loss assessors charge a fee, while those that don’t will require you to use their recommended contractors for repairs. 

Alternatively, you can make an official complaint to the Financial Ombudsman who will consider both sides of the story and attempt to find a fair outcome.

Will having a claim denied affect my chances of taking out a new policy?

Insurers set prices according to risk. In the case of a successful home insurance claim, your premiums are likely to go up at renewal or you may even find it harder to take out cover.

What effect it has if your claim has been denied will likely depend on the insurer and the situation. ‘It could create a ‘red flag’ on your record that suggests you are high-risk, but that may be dependent upon the reasons for the claim denial,’ says Colburn.

What can I do to avoid a claim being denied?

To reduce the risk of a rejected home insurance claim, make sure the information you have given your insurer is accurate, your home is well maintained and that you have taken out the level of cover you require. 

Marsh says: ‘Regularly check that your insurance cover meets your needs and consider whether there are any optional extras you might need. This can provide added peace of mind that you have insurance cover to fall back on if the worst happens.’ 

Keeping receipts of any big purchases can also be useful in the event of a claim as your insurer may request copies. Brodie also advises: ‘Don’t throw away damaged items and avoid re-decorating unless there is a health hazard without discussing with your insurer first. If possible, take photos and sample cuttings of things like carpets. It is likely that your insurance company will want to assess what you have lost.’

Finally, check whether there is a deadline by which you need to have made your claim and get the ball rolling as soon as possible.