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What is 'under-insurance' and what happens if I am under-insured?

Under-insurance means that the 'sum insured' is less than the cost of rebuilding, replacing or repairing the buildings or contents at the time of the loss or damage. This might meant that any claim that is settled will be reduced in proportion depending on how underinsured youare, regardless of the amount of the claim. For example, if your amount of cover only covers a proportion of the cost of rebuilding, replacing or repairing the buildings or contents, it is likely that the insurer will only pay that proportion of the claim for repair or replacement and you will have to cover the remaining cost of the loss or damage yourself. Where there's a severe underestimations, your insurance provider could even refuse to pay out completely.

Being under-insured is different rom being uninsured. When you are uninsured you have no poolicy in place at all. Although this saves you money in the short term, you risk losing far more than you save if the unexpected happens.

Under-insurance in the UK

Recent research indicated that nearly 7 million households in Britain are underestimating the value of their home contents, and as many as one in five have no contents cover at all. These worrying statistics show that a massive £200 billion worth of our home contents is left exposed.

Why are people unintentionally under-insured?

Problems occur when homeowners overlook items, often missing out entire categories in a given estimate, purely because the scope is so vast. You might look around your room, listing the items you can see and calculating their value, but neglect to include rugs or cookware. Items that are kept stored out of sight are also at particular risk of being forgotten, such as garden tools, luggage, linen, clothes (an average person's clothing alone could cost over £10,000 to replace), and food and drink. You should make sure you account for absolutely everything when working out how much to insure for.

It's also important to be aware of any changes to replacement costs that may arise from time to time, for example, if the price of precious metals changes.

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