Time to get those magnifying glasses out and trawl through your house insurance terms and conditions – not doing so may be a costly mistake.

Checking contractual small print can be a laborious, time consuming and frankly boring task. However, when it comes to something as costly and important as house insurance doing so can pay dividends.

Your circumstances

Perhaps the most important factor to take into consideration is how the policy stacks up against your personal risk factors. Put more simply how comprehensive is the policy with regard to the things that cause you the most worry. For example; if you live in an area that is blighted by crime you will want a policy that isn’t going to quibble over details should your house be burgled. If you live near a river that is prone to bursting its banks you need a policy that comprehensively covers water damage.

However, although particular factors may be of paramount importance to you, it is important not to neglect other areas of your house insurance policy. Not every policy is 100% comprehensive but at the very least being aware of the particulars of your policy can save you from nasty surprises should you have to make a claim.

Talk to your policy provider

If you are unsure about any aspect of your policy the best thing to do is to talk to your house insurance provider. On the whole they will answer any question you may have and clarify any points you may be unsure on. If your provider obfuscates or refuses to address your concerns the best advice would be to start looking for a new insurance company. After all if that’s how they act when asked a straightforward question how will they behave when you come to make a claim?

New legislation

Legislation brought into effect in 2005 now means that the critical point of any policy can no longer be hidden away in the small print. However, this legislation is by no means comprehensive, and what the insurance company considers key information may not be important to you; your priorities may lie elsewhere. So the simple message is read your house insurance contract, and read it thoroughly.