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We have got a home insurance from ING and the only paper work received at that time mentioned a limit of approximately 40K EUR. Our house has been broken into in July, and close to 30k eur worth of watch and jewelry were stolen. After filing our claim,we are informed that our limit actually is 7k EUR for jjewelry and watches, and that we could have found the information on the website. iis there anything we can do, given that the document was not supplied to us before? Thanks.

by Ays on 29 Sep 2013
Filip Declercq

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1. If you didn’t receive the general conditions, or a document whit a link where you could find it, then ING failed in their information obligation.
In the general conditions you can see if there is a special limit for jewelry/watches. Some insurers have apart limits for it.

2. Other possibility could be that your insured content sum is underestimated. It is your responsibility to give ING the right figures.
If the expert of ING, at time of claim settlement, thinks the value of your household content is, at that moment, 175 K €, then you are largely underinsured.
In that case, if 30 K € is stolen, they will apply the proportionality rule.

The principle of the proportionality rule:
if the value of your goods is 175 K and you’re only insured for 40 K, then you insure yourself for the other 135 K. This means they reimburse 40/175 (30*40/175 = 7K), and you pay 135/175 yourself (30*135/175 = 23 K).

Of course there will always be some discussion about values. Is it 170 K or 180 K? But, here there is a massive difference between 40 K and 175 K.

It is as a layman not simple to estimate the values of your house and content. Therefore Belgian legislation has foreseen some fill out grids, mainly for the value of the house, but some insurers also have a system for content. If these grids are correctly filled out, it should be mentioned in the policy, and the proportionality rule may not be applied. If ING failed to give you a system (for the house, not necessarily for the content) to exclude this proportionality rule, it is my opinion that they failed in their information duty.

There is also another way to prevent from the proportionality rule:

If you only want to be insured for 40 K and want to be reimbursed 30 K when 30 K is stolen/damaged, you could choose the 1st risk insurance. In a 1st risk insurance there is no proportionality rule. But it is of course more expensive, and most insurers in Belgium don’t accept this kind of fire/theft insurances.
On the other hand, if you have a damage of 60 K, then you cannot claim 60 K, because you’re only insured 40 K. So, in this case 40 K is your maximum reimbursement.

3. Some people think that being insured directly with the company is cheaper. Nonsense! It is my strong opinion that brokers have an added value without a large price difference. A broker will inform you better than the direct company, he has also more choice to offer you, as he works for several companies as an independent. He will also be more careful to offer you a contract with higher jewelry limits, if he knows you have lots of them. Direct company can only offer their solution, and if it doesn’t fit you really, they still will sell it to you as the best solution. In fact it is their only solution.
A broker will also watch that your contracts are often adapted to the new/real situation.
In case of a claim it is his duty to make sure that claims are settled correctly with the company. He could negotiate with the company with his insurance knowledge or charge a counter expert.
How do you recognize an independent broker? By this sign:

Your broker, your best insurance.

by Filip Declercq on 15 Oct 2013

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