Cover with confidence: rules of thumb for a successful claim

Aviva has outlined some top tips for consumers to use when buying insurance to help ensure there are no surprises and to avoid the more common stumbling blocks when they come to make a claim.

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The simple insurance know-how aims to help ensure consumers’ insurance expectations are met, and to avoid misunderstandings which can surface when a claim is made. 

Aviva’s first UK claims report shows that in 2017  the insurer  accepted 96% of all insurance claims, paying out £3.6 billion in cash settlements and services – the equivalent of more than £10 million every day, or £7,000 every minute.

Aviva says there is more the industry can do to help, as well as consumers actively equipping themselves with the facts to buy their insurance in an informed way.

Top tips to manage your individual insurance needs

With all insurance policies, consumers should be clear on the policy terms and conditions before they purchase and should work closely with their insurer to provide full information about their circumstances, as needed.

Aviva says the following steps are some of ways that consumers can also help ensure that they have the right cover in place.

Home insurance

  • Read your policy and understand what’s covered, as well as your policy limits. If you have a standard policy, you might consider choosing additional cover for accidental damage to contents, or home emergency and boiler breakdown cover
  • Keep your property maintained and in good repair. Most home policies do not cover gradual wear and tear, the effects of damp or dry rot, or damage to fences, gates and hedges
  • Make sure the information you provide is correct and tell your insurer if you make any changes to your home such as a change in occupancy or building works.

Travel insurance

  • Check what you need to tell your insurer about your health, for example any pre-existing medical conditions or tests and investigations
  • Understand the specific cancellation reasons that you are covered for if you need to cancel your holiday
  • The policy start date is important. We recommend that consumers arrange their travel insurance to start from the day they trip is booked, not the day that the holiday starts, to ensure there is cover for any listed cancellation reason before the trip.

Motor insurance

  • Know your policy excess, which is the amount you need to pay in the event of a claim before the insurance company pays the rest.  Customer claims are rarely declined on motor policies , but when this happens it is often because claims are made for values within the stated excess
  • Consider personal belongings cover on your home contents policy to cover your possessions in case they are lost, damaged or stolen while in your car
  • Install a dash cam such as the Aviva Dash Cam functionality on its drive app. These can help determine who is at fault in an accident, which means you’ll be able to protect your no claims discount and excess.

Life insurance, critical illness and income protection

  • Provide accurate statements about your health and lifestyle when taking out the policy - claims may be declined if insurers are not made aware of potentially relevant information
  • Regularly review your protection cover to see if it still meets your needs, especially if your circumstances have changed, for example you have started a family or have a bigger mortgage
  • Familiarise yourself with any exclusions on a policy and what specific conditions are and are not covered – and assess whether the policy meets your needs.

Health insurance

  • Be aware that you won’t normally be covered for any medical condition that exists before you take a policy out
  • Understand the excess on your policy, which is the initial amount that you will have to pay each year if you make a claim, before your insurer pays the remaining cost of the treatment
  • Know what your policy covers. Different policies offer different levels of protection and you may want to add on extras such as out-patient cover, or to be able to choose where you have treatment.

Check if you are unclear

  • If you are unclear about any aspect of your insurance, speak to your broker or adviser, if you have one, or call your insurer and ask them to explain.

Andy Briggs, Chief Executive Officer, Aviva UK Insurance, said: 

"People take out insurance because they want to know they are covered if something goes wrong in their life. We understand it is frustrating when a claim is declined, and we want to avoid these nasty surprises that aren’t helpful to our customers.

There is a lot that people can do to help ensure their claims are settled quickly in a fuss-free way, and that’s to really understand what their policies do and don’t cover, to add to their cover if there is something missing, and to be completely open with their insurer about any pre-existing matters that won’t be covered.

“At Aviva, we want to provide financial support to all of our customers who meet challenging times in their lives, and while we will always look at ways to pay more claims, we also need our customers to take action to actively manage their insurance.”

Media enquiries:

Melissa Loughran, Aviva UK Insurance Media Relations:
01904 452791

Instinctif Partners:
020 7457 2020

All figures are 2017, compiled for the Aviva UK claims report

Notes to editors:

  • We are one of the UK’s leading Insurance, Wealth & Retirement businesses and we operate in the UK, Ireland and Canada. We also have international investments in India, China and Singapore.
  • We help our 18.7 million customers make the most out of life, plan for the future, and have the confidence that if things go wrong we’ll be there to put it right.
  • We have been taking care of people for more than 325 years, in line with our purpose of being ‘with you today, for a better tomorrow’. In 2022, we paid £23.2 billion in claims and benefits to our customers.
  • Aviva is a market leader in sustainability. In 2021, we announced our plan to become Net Zero by 2040, the first major insurance company in the world to do so. This plan means Net Zero carbon emissions from our investments by 2040; setting out a clear pathway to get there with a cut of 25% in the carbon intensity of our investments by 2025 and of 60% by 2030; and Net Zero carbon emissions from our own operations and supply chain by 2030.  Find out more about our climate goals at and our sustainability ambition and action at
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  • Aviva is a Living Wage and Living Hours employer and provides market-leading benefits for our people, including flexible working, paid carers leave and equal parental leave. Find out more at
  • As at 31 December 2022, total Group assets under management at Aviva Group were £352 billion and our estimated Solvency II shareholder surplus is £8.7 billion. Our shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and we are a member of the FTSE 100 index.
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