Out of the house – and back to reality

Big Brother is over for another year – and if it feels like a long time for viewers just imagine what it feels like for some of the housemates particularly if they’ve not won the £100,000 prize.

By the time the housemates left the house they will have been in there for a full 94 days. For those who have made it from start to finish, they’ll be coming back to a different world, where they’ll have a lot to catch up on.

For those such as Carole, the 53-year-old youth worker, they’ll return to houses which have been empty for months and if the reality stars get a second among fighting off the media they might find that their going to have a bit of dusting to do.

Returning to reality from reality TV means getting back to normal. And leaving your house empty for this length of time brings up a number of insurance issues. Coming home on Friday night, they will all be hoping that everything was as they left it.

Since you’ve been gone

Home contents insurance, the policy which covers your possessions against accidents and theft normally have many conditions. Depending on your policy, certain events or possessions may not be covered. Generally speaking, the more you pay for your insurance the more likely you are to be covered for every eventuality.

One of these little known conditions is that most insurance policies don’t allow you to leave your house uninhabited for more than a certain amount of time. Figures from MoneyExpert.com show that this condition applies to almost 95% of policies on the market.

Unfortunately for Carole and her Big Brother mates, the average length of time you are allowed to leave your property unoccupied on the majority of policies is 60 days. There are many policies out there which only allow 45 days and some such as Allianz Cornhill and Countrywide who set the limit at 30 days, which might not even cover a long holiday away for some families.

Think about the conditions

The chances are that there is a policy out there which will fit your needs and that it’s just a case of finding it and asking the questions.

An obvious one you’re going to want to know the answer to is, what is the maximum you will be covered for if your contents are destroyed in a fire? Some policies will cover you for as much as £10,000,000 while others only pay out around £20,000.

A second aspect of cover that many people want to know is whether their garden furniture is covered on their contents insurance. In most cases it will be but it’s probable that the insurer will have set a cap on the amount they are willing to pay out for this, normally around £500. The same goes for bicycles which are likely to have the payout capped at around £500-£1000.

Check the small print

After purchasing your insurance you will be sent a document detailing the terms and conditions of your cover. If you spot that your glassware is not insured as one or two policies specify and this unacceptable to you, there is a "cooling off" period in which you can decide whether you want to keep the policy. This period will normally last around 14 to 21 days.

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