Are your social media posts invalidating your car and home insurance?

A couple snorkeling on holiday

September 8, 2021

Recent research from MoneySuperMarket shows us how policyholders are invalidating their cover, leaving them unable to make a claim on their policies and wasting previously paid premiums.

If you’re planning a staycation getaway or you’re going overseas to enjoy some heat and sun after being stuck at home for most of the previous year, your car and home insurance policies are probably the last things on your mind (understandably).

“Just get me to the beach with a cocktail in hand”, right?!

But if you’ve been posting holiday snaps and selfies while on your travels, you can think again about making a claim if you need to cover the costs of any stolen items or damage that occured while you were away.

Insurance often comes with a reputation of not paying out - but that only ever happens when policyholders are not carefully abiding by their terms and conditions and there are many ways in which you can void your policy, hence why payouts can be refused.

Below, we highlight all the ways people are, perhaps innocently, voiding their insurance policies and we provide tips on what to consider to prevent this from happening.

Common home insurance invalidations

According to MoneySuperMarket’s study, the most common way people invalidate their home insurance is by failing to close windows when leaving their house (27%), followed by posting holiday photos on social media platforms while away (16%) - the second most common.

By posting photos while on your travels, potential thieves could also have access to these pictures on social media, so you’re essentially letting everyone know (including the burglars) that no one is currently at your home - creating a perfect opportunity for criminals. This is why, in the event of a claim, your insurer is very unlikely to pay out - and don’t assume they won’t check your Facebook or Instagram profile because they will!

On top of this, the following are also common mistakes made by policyholders:

% of people
Not disclosing any home improvements/renovations to insurance provider (especially significant projects like a home extension) 16%
Leaving the door unlocked while no one is home 12%
Having a friend or family member stay for more than 30 days 10%

You must inform your insurer about any major home renovations as your existing policy does not cover the cost of repairing or replacing any damage to these improvements, so you won’t be able to make a claim.

Also, if you go to make a claim after a burglary, but the insurer sees that there was no forced entry due to open windows, you’ll be refused a payout and you’ll have to cover the cost of replacements or repair yourself.

Likewise, if you claim on your home insurance and your provider discovers that you have someone else living with you who you have not declared, they are very unlikely to provide a pay out.

For more information on how you could be voiding your home cover, read our guide: 10 things that could be invalidating your home insurance

What common mistakes can void car insurance?

Surprisingly, MoneySuperMarket’s study shows that the most common way drivers void their car insurance policy is by failing to let their insurer know that they have a new job or their existing job title with the same company has been altered (16%).

If you’ve been promoted or you’ve changed roles and moved to another company, your car insurer will need to know as soon as possible. This is because some jobs are considered riskier than others, so the premiums can differ depending on the occupation.

If, for example, you were involved in a car accident and you needed to make a claim on your policy, when your insurer realises that the job role stated on the policy is incorrect, they will not provide a payout as your policy is invalid, so you’ll have to cover all costs yourself!

Here are more common mistakes made by car insurance policyholders (according to MoneySuperMarket):

% of people
Driving with an unrestrained pet 15%
Failing to inform your insurer after being involved in an accident that caused damage to your vehicle 11%
Failing to inform your insurer of your main address 7%
Providing your insurer with wrong information regarding where your car is usually parked overnight 7%

When applying for a new car insurance policy (if you are switching to save money) or when you renew cover with your existing insurer, it is crucial that you are completely honest and answer all questions accurately - otherwise, you risk driving around without the right cover, which is a driving offence that could land you with points and a fine.

Read more about voiding car cover in our guide here: 7 common mistakes that could void your car insurance

Beware - Burglaries are on the rise

Something else to be aware of is the rise in the number of house burglaries that are taking place now that more people are going back to work and taking trips away after the pandemic.

According to Churchill’s burglary barometer, there has been a 6.2% increase in the number of home thefts in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the first quarter, equating to around 3,600 more burglaries between April and June than the number of burglaries that occured between January and March. 

Even more surprisingly, around 34% of home burglaries occur while there is someone inside the property, which is more than the number of burglaries that happen overnight (22%) and while the residents are on holiday (19%) or out during the evening (15%).

With this in mind, it’s a good idea to make sure you are not making any simple mistakes that will void your home or car insurance should you need to make a claim on either.

This includes making sure that you:

  • Close and lock all windows and doors before leaving your house
  • Put any visible, valuable items out of plain sight (i.e. handbags, purses, phones, etc)
  • Make your home look like it’s lived in while you are on holiday (i.e. set light timers)
  • Have installed appropriate home security devices and they are working properly while you are not at home or away on holiday (ensure these are approved by your insurer)

By bearing all of the above in mind, you’ll avoid wasting money on monthly premiums and you won’t be left in a sticky situation when it comes to making a claim on your policies.

For more tips and advice, be sure to check out our related articles below.

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