Around 9 million or roughly 75% of insured UK homeowners may have accidentally invalidated their home insurance policy since moving in, according to new data.
The study of 2,000 UK homeowners from Confused.com investigated seemingly normal things people do in the summer that may result in no payout from their insurance providers, should something happen. According to the research, an overwhelming 75% of UK homeowners have done something that risks voiding their insurance policy.
Sleeping with the windows or doors open during summer is the most common risk, with 48% of insured homeowners confessing to this. The Midlands cities of Birmingham and Leicester see the most homeowners taking this risk, with nearly 63% each.
Both cities also place in the top 10 for break-ins in the UK. Birmingham ranks third with 6 burglaries per 1,000 people, while Leicester ranks ninth with 4 burglaries per 1,000 people.
14% of homeowners post photos of their holiday on social media while they’re still away. Doing so can jeopardise your home’s safety, as potential burglars could know your home is unoccupied, and therefore easier to enter.
Younger generations are most likely to be guilty of sharing their holiday pictures on social media too early. 31% of 25-34-year-old homeowners have shared holiday photos while still abroad, compared to 8% of over 65s. Additionally, 18-24-year-old homeowners are most likely to leave their homes unoccupied for longer than their policy’s ‘days unoccupied limit’. 22% in this age bracket have left home long enough to invalidate their home insurance.
Overall, 3 in 4 homeowners have risked invalidating their insurance. Other common actions include accidentally leaving doors unlocked (20%) and losing a key to your home (9%).
Matthew Harwood, home insurance expert at Confused.com shares his top tips on making sure your home is safe:
“When you spend time at home during the warmer months, it’s understandable to want to sleep with windows or doors open to keep cool. But you should always avoid leaving doors unlocked, and if windows must be left open, then invest in window restrictors. This is a safety device that stops your window from opening past a certain point.”
“And while we know it’s fun to share photos of your holiday while you’re away, many homeowners don’t know this risks invalidating your insurance. Waiting to post any holiday photos until after you get home stops people knowing your home’s unoccupied.”
Matthew concludes: “If you are going on holiday over the coming months, you should check your insurer’s ‘days unoccupied limit’. Leaving your home empty for an extended period can increase the risk of burglary, and invalidate your insurance. These are typically 30, 60, or 90 days. If you need to leave your home for longer, you should contact your provider to change your cover or get a permit for this period.”