Am I Still Covered If Something Happens To My Home During A Gap In Cover?
Caeva O'Callaghan | December 30th, 2019
Mind the gap – because it could mean the difference between getting compensated for damage to your home and being left out of pocket.
Gaps in home insurance cover may occur if you change or renew your policy and it doesn’t take effect immediately, or if you miss an insurance payment. For example, if your old policy ends on Monday and you don’t renew or initiate a new one until Wednesday, it could be a big problem if anything happens to your house on Tuesday when you aren’t technically insured.
Read on to discover more about coverage gaps, and what you can do to avoid lapses.
When do gaps in cover happen?
Coverage gaps occur when you miss a payment (or multiple payments, depending on the terms and conditions of your contract), or when your policy expires without having a new one in place.
So in a situation where your renewal date occurred on a Friday and you forgot to renew it, you are ‘off-cover’ for the weekend. You can of course arrange a new policy on the following Monday – but the cover only commences from the time you pay the new premium.
Is it dangerous to have a cover gap?
If you don’t pay attention to when your policy expires, you’re taking a big risk because your property won’t be covered in the event it is damaged or destroyed and you may lose items of sentimental and/or monetary value.
If anything happens to your house or contents during a gap in cover, you probably won’t be able to claim and even if you can, you may incur a hefty fine for doing so. It’s always best to avoid a headache and ensure you have insurance at all times.
Will a gap in cover affect future policies?
It might. If you miss your renewal date, your old policy may be cancelled – and while a replacement policy might be available, it could be at a higher premium.
It’s important to remember that a late payment is a late payment, no matter the reason – it doesn’t matter if you expected more notification, are having financial difficulties or just forgot.
What’s worse, other insurance companies might refuse to cover you depending on the small print in their policies.
The myth of the “grace period”
Many people believe that if a gap in coverage occurs, they may still be covered by the original provider. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.
The fact is, if your insurance provider accepts a late payment that does not mean you have a grace period. Just because you pay them what you owe, doesn’t mean they’re obligated to cover you after the policy ends, and paying late will most likely result in a gap in cover.
It’s easy to renew cover
Avoid a home insurance cover gap by making sure that your policy is renewed or your new policy is in place before the expiration date. If you miss the deadline even by a day, your policy will break and you’ll have to buy a new policy instead of renewing.
If you’re having trouble with payment at renewal date, call your provider and explain the situation. Insurers are human, and will help you any way they can so you remain covered. They may be able to offer you monthly payment plans or automatic direct debits.
Once it’s gone, it’s gone
Well, with one (possible) exception.
If you have a relationship with your broker and forget to renew your policy, a phone call explaining the circumstances will often – but not always – lead to the broker giving you credit and paying on the insurer to renew the policy. If you’re insured directly with an insurance company, this would not be the case; once the renewal date passes, you are off cover
But that is the exception – not the rule.
The main thing to remember is the answer to the question at hand here: your home will not be covered during a gap in insurance.
“Grace periods” are at best an informality that can’t be replied upon – and at worst, a myth. Even if your insurer accepts a late payment this does in no way guarantee your home is covered in case of an emergency.
Gaps or breaks in your home insurance cover can turn into costly and potentially devastating mistakes.
If you can, always set your policy to auto-renew, or talk to your broker about your options in this regard.
If you’d like to switch policies make sure this happens well before your old policy expires to keep your home and possessions safe.
Talk to us in QuoteMe.ie with any of your Home Insurance queries.
One of the benefits of using a home insurance broker is that you can call us with any of your questions and we can give you expert advice. So, if you have any queries regarding your home insurance please call us on 0818 224433 or 042 9359051. Our Home Insurance team are on hand to answer all your questions.
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