The important word in the previous paragraph is "valid"; insurance policies are contracts between the insurers and their clients and both parties have responsibilities and liabilities. Where insurers refuse to meet a claim, it is because it is not a valid claim, whether due to the policyholder having failed to comply with the terms of their policy, or trying to claim for an uninsured event. There is also a small minority who try to fraudulently claim for items they did not own, clearly not a valid claim!
The main reason for failing to adhere to the terms of the policy is not securing the property correctly. If your policy requires that you take specific steps to secure the property but you do not do that, any claim is likely to be declined.
Similarly, if a property is left unoccupied for more than 14 days and your policy requires that the water system is drained and the water switched off at the mains, if it is not, it may be considered that reasonable steps to ensure the property was protected from water damage were not taken.
We receive claims for theft of, or damage to contents where the client has taken just buildings insurance, or for claims on contents-only policies for structural damage to the building. In each case, there is no valid claim, so before submitting a claim, you should check your policy to ensure that you have the necessary cover for the claim being made.
Theft of or damage to valuables and personal possessions away from home will not always be covered, and where available it is only as an option at additional cost. Portuguese insurers do not offer this facility, but Ibex includes this option, which is called "All Risks" cover. iPad’s mobile phones, watches, jewellery, hearing aids, golf equipment, cycles – all are things that you would expect to take with you when you go out but unless you have specifically added “All Risks” cover for items such as these they are not insured outside your home.
For holiday or let homes “All Risks” cover is not available, nor is cover for the personal possessions of any non-family member staying at your holiday home so travel insurance is a must for any tenants.
An aspect of some old Portuguese policies is that electrical items had to be specified to be covered for power surge. The problem arises when TV’s, washing machines, fridges etc have been replaced over the years but the insurance policy has never been updated so everything originally specified is still insured under the policy, whether still owned or not, but replacement items are not. The 26” CRT television that was the best on the market when you bought in 1999 may still be on the policy despite you having replaced it (and several subsequent TV’s) in the intervening years, but the 60” Sony Smart TV that cost you €1300 last month IS NOT COVERED.
Current insurance policies include “First Risks” power surge cover which covers all electrical items up to certain limits (usually €5,000) without the need to specify anything and if you currently have “specified items” power surge cover so it is worthwhile speaking to our specialist advisors to see if you can upgrade your policy to “First Risks” level of power surge cover.
If you are underinsured and a claim is made the insurers will almost certainly apply an averaging clause so that, put simplistically, if you are insured for €100,000 but you should be insured for €200,000 the insurers will pay a maximum of 50% of any claim. Ibex has access to the Portuguese Insurance Institute average rebuilding costs so can confirm to you for your area of residence, but bear in mind that because they are average, your own property rebuilding cost may be higher or lower.
All in all, the simple message is “Check your policy” and this applies equally to recently acquired and older policies, although older policies may need more attention. Feel free to ask our specialist advisors to review your policy, even if not arranged by us, to ensure that you have the policy that best meets your current needs – what was suitable ten years ago may be inappropriate now.
If you have any queries, please don't hesitate to call into one of our offices in Almancil or Tavira to get the most suitable policy to meet your needs or call us on 800 860 708 / 289 399 774 for Almancil or 281 325 842 for Tavira. Or if you prefer, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org