Making a claim on your insurance policy

This advice applies to England. See advice for See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland, See advice for Wales

If you've taken out insurance and something happens, you might need to make a claim.

This page tells you what you need to think about before you contact your insurer and also what to do if someone tries to make a claim against you.

Making a claim

If you need to make a claim contact your insurer as soon as possible and ask them to send you a claim form. They may be able to email this to you to speed things up. Complete the claim form carefully and keep a copy for yourself.

The Association of British Insurers have more information on flooding and insurance, including what you can expect after a flood at

Check the following things before you send off your claim:

  • you're within the time limits for making a claim

  • you're covered for what you're claiming for

  • how much the excess is. The excess is the amount of money that your insurer will take off the claim. It may not be worth making a claim if the amount you're claiming for is less than this

  • the small print. Make sure there's nothing in the terms and conditions that prevents you from claiming

  • whether it's a new for old policy. If it isn't, the amount you get for items you're claiming for will be less than the cost of replacing them. This is because the insurer takes off money for wear and tear.

You'll need to include copies of all paperwork that will help your claim, including receipts or medical certificates. You should also keep copies of the originals in case your claim is queried or refused.

Your insurer may ask if you have other insurance that may cover the claim. You'll need to let them know if you have other insurance that may also offer cover, for example, home contents insurance.

It's important not to exaggerate your claim since this could lead to the whole claim being rejected.

If you're making a large claim you may want to use a loss assessor, who can help you prepare the claim and arrange for items to be valued. You can find a loss assessor by searching online.

Do you have to claim on your insurance?

You don't have to make a claim on your insurance policy, even if you're entitled to do so. In some cases, if the amount is quite small, you may not want to make a claim because if you do so your future premiums could increase by more than the amount you have claimed.  

However, it's a good idea to make an insurance claim if someone has been injured. Personal injuries can be expensive, and they can leave long-term health problems.

Even if you don't want to make a claim on your insurance policy, you must always tell your insurer about an event. If you don't report it, you may find that this leads to problems later on if you do want to make a claim.

Someone is making a claim against you

If you find out that someone is making a claim against you should tell your insurer as soon as possible and send them any paperwork you receive. You should not admit anything is your fault without talking to your insurer first. This is called admitting liability.

Next steps

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Page last reviewed on 20 February 2020