From angry pet dragons to angry birds: bizarre home insurance claims

Insurer RIAS has unveiled some of the more unusual claims it has received in the past year.

Love Money
Last updated: 4 April 2018 - 2.39pm

From being bitten by an angry pet dragon to a goose destroying a barbecue, insurer RISA has revealed some of the most unusual, and downright bizarre, home insurance claims it has received in the past year.

I was bitten by a dragon

A man from Belfast angered his pet bearded dragon when he was cleaning his cage. The agitated reptile gave him a nasty bite, causing him to jump backwards and knock over his TV, resulting in a claim of almost £400.

Angry birds

Two magpies had a tiff in Kilmarnock which got so heated that they crashed through someone’s conservatory window. Over £400-worth of damage was caused.

Fighting children

Another instance involved some classic sibling rivalry. In Motherwell, a brother got a bit peeved, took off his shoe and threw it at his sister. However, he went a little off-target, hitting the TV and racking up a £667 insurance bill in the process.

A barbequed goose

An ambitious man from Enfield tried to barbeque an entire goose. Instead of a bird worthy of Christmas dinner, the barbeque completely melted, leaving him with a piece of abstract art and a £400 claim.  

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Getting the most out of your home insurance

Home insurance comes in two main forms: building and contents.

Buildings insuranceRi

Buildings insurance is essential if you have a mortgage. The amount of buildings insurance you need is decided by the rebuild value of your home, not the market price. You can breathe a sigh of relief as the rebuild value will probably be lower than the price you bought it for. You’ll be able to find the rebuild cost of your home on your survey report.

Failing that, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) publishes annual guidelines on rebuild costs which can be found on its website.

You may also need specialist buildings cover if you live in a listed property or an unusual home with a thatched roof, for example.

Before you settle on a policy, it’s vital that you shop around. Mortgage providers will often try and convince you to buy their home insurance, even if it’s not the best deal for you.

Just remember that you don’t have to buy it.

Those of you who rent needn’t worry as your landlord should have buildings insurance covered. 

[Related story: Motor and home insurance policies fall in price over past year]

Contents insurance

Contents insurance is advisable for buyers and renters. Make sure you have enough too, as people often underestimate the value of their possessions.

For example, if the actual value of your contents is actually 25% higher than the amount you’ve insured, your provider could decide to only pay out 75% of the total claim, leaving you with a hefty bill to cover for the rest.

Common items people underestimate are clothes, music and books. Take a room-to-room inventory to make sure you don’t miss anything.

You’ll need to add personal possessions to your contents policy if you have valuables like cameras, a laptop, jewellery or sports gear that you need to insure. This protects you out and about as well as in the house. 

Ensure you have accidental cover too as basic contents cover might not insure everything, like that red wine spill on your cream carpet.  

Opting for a higher excess can bring your premium down, but play around with the figures - there's no point going for a higher excess that won't reduce the cost of your policy by the same amount.

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