Have you breached the conditions of your car or home insurance? Even if you are careful to take all the necessary precautions, new research has found that you could still fall foul of insurer’s small print without knowing it.

A report in the Daily Mail has revealed that consumers are regularly having insurance claims rejected for innocuous or minor breaches of their policy without knowing it. Keep reading to find out more.

Experts urge consumers to declare anything unusual when taking out insurance

Small print in insurance policies are leaving consumers out of pocket because of technical details within the cover that are being breached by unwitting policyholders.

That’s the result of research by the Daily Mail following the report that a driver had their car insurance claim revoked because they had a religious sticker in the back window. The newspaper reports that the insurer claimed this counted as ‘a modification they had not been notified of’ – therefore making the policy invalid.

Experts are advising consumers to err on the side of caution and declare anything unusual rather than risk their insurance not paying out in the event of a claim.

Ian Crowder, insurance specialist at the AA, says that even a roof rack can count as a car ‘modification’ while you should always declare any alloy wheels or ‘go faster’ stripes.

The report also revealed that many insurers don’t routinely pay out for claims that you may assume would be covered under your policy. For example, many motor insurance policies won’t cover you if you put the wrong type of fuel in your vehicle – a mistake that around 150,000 Brits make every year.

Buying a new car could also see a hike in your insurance premium. This is because insurers believe that people are more likely to have an accident in a new car as they are unfamiliar with the controls – meaning your premium may be higher in the first year of ownership.

Home insurance can also catch out policyholders

It isn’t just car insurance policies that have complicated small print. Home insurance also contains many conditions which are catching people out while many people simply find themselves underinsured.

Katie Lomas, head of home insurance at Direct Line, says: “When buying insurance, people should consider their lifestyle, and make sure that they have adequate cover for their needs.

“Policies also often contain a limit on any one item and the total amount of valuables they can claim for, and it is vital to check those limits are sufficient.”

You should also be careful when considering covering your contents ‘away from the home’. A spokesman from LV= says: “You might think that your home insurance applies equally whether you are in your home or in the garden, but often it doesn’t.

“‘For example, if you drop your iPad in the garden and it breaks, some insurers would not cover this damage as it happened outside the home.”

A spokesman from the Association of British Insurers says: “Consumers should make sure they answer all insurer questions honestly and to the best of their knowledge.

“And if you’re unsure whether information is relevant or not – include it.’”