Proof of purchase and contents insurance
If you claim on your home contents insurance policy, many UK insurers will require evidence that you bought an item and documentary evidence of the price you paid for it. But what exactly is a valid ‘proof of purchase’ - what will contents insurers accept as proof?
Proof of purchase can be one or more of the following although what’s acceptable proof for insurers isn’t always consistent so always check a policy document’s terms for what’s acceptable:
The most credible proof of purchase is a receipt or a receipted invoice. But, unless you’re self-employed, you probably haven’t retained all of your receipts. But don’t worry, there are alternatives for proof of purchase without receipt…
Bank or credit card statement
If you can’t provide your insurer with a proof of purchase receipt or invoice, the next best thing you can do is produce a bank or credit card statement showing a debit for the item you’re claiming for. If you use online banking, you can easily download historic bank statements.
Seller’s email or invoice
For online purchases, you can typically find an email confirming your purchase or can download an invoice online from your purchase or order history. For example, you can easily locate and download an eBay receipt or Amazon proof of purchase by logging in and searching your purchase or order history on both of these retailers’ platforms.
If an insured item is an expensive or priceless family heirloom or a gift, you should always arrange for such items to be professionally valued so that should you ever have to make a claim, you can provide a copy of the valuation to your insurer as ‘proof of value’.
If you didn’t get a valuation and need to claim, see if you can dig out any photographs of the insured item.
For example, there might be a photo of you on a special night out on social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram wearing the expensive item of jewellery you’ve lost or had stolen.
Or, if it’s an expensive item of furniture, antique or expensive piece of electrical equipment, see if you can find a photo where the item in question was perhaps captured in the background.
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Straight away; you can usually make a claim from the policy’s inception date although your insurer would no doubt find this slightly suspicious!
And whilst you typically have up to 180 days to claim, it makes little to no sense to delay contacting your insurer as this will just delay your claim being processed and your damaged, destroyed or stolen item from being repaired or replaced.
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Not necessarily - it depends on:
- the value of the item you’re claiming for
- how much your excess payment is
- how many years No Claims Discount you have built up and could lose
You’ll have to weigh up whether the cost of replacing something yourself will equate to less or more than if you were to claim, pay an excess and lose your premium-saving No Claims Bonus. Making a claim will typically increase your home insurance premiums for around five years.
Domestic insurance claims needn’t be a headache if you follow our top tips and tricks for preparing for and making a contents insurance claim:
- Buy the right policy: Whilst this point doesn’t relate to claiming, it’s important that you buy the best policy that sufficiently covers all of your high-value contents. Always check the small print (a policy’s terms and conditions) for single item price caps and exclusions.
- Set up a home insurance file: Keep a file to specifically hold all of your home insurance details in one place such as receipts, invoices, valuations, photographs of high-value items and your policy documents.
- Have the emergency claims line number to hand: If you have an emergency situation, you don’t want to be rifling through your policy documents to find the emergency claims line number; instead make sure the number is stored on your mobile phone should you ever need to use it.
- Collate evidence: Take photographs or videos (or both) of the damaged item(s) you want to claim for.
- Speak to your insurer first: Don’t be tempted to try and repair, throw away or replace a damaged item until you’ve spoken to your insurance company and sought their advice as to what you should do next.
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