Getting home insurance isn’t just a simple case of buying the first policy you see – or automatically renewing your existing policy.
There are a number of considerations you need to take in account when getting covered, to make sure you get the most appropriate and cost-effective protection for your home:
- never automatically renew your existing home insurance policy. Your cover needs may have changed (for example, you have added a conservatory to your property or completely refurnished your home – meaning you may need to increase your respective buildings sum insured and contents sum insured amounts to reflect these changes);
- automatically accepting your existing insurer’s quote without shopping around could mean you end up paying more than you need to for your cover. Shop around online – or use a broker to do it on your behalf. You could save hundreds of pounds;
- subsidence used to form a standard part of all buildings insurance. In recent years and because subsidence is now becoming more prominent, some insurers do not offer this element of cover as standard. Make sure you know where you stand and either pay extra for the cover, or find an insurer who does include subsidence insurance as standard;
- in most cases, if you buy a combined home buildings and contents insurance policy, you will pay less than buying two separate policies;
- look at any exclusions. These are the risks that your policy will not typically pay out for;
- opt to pay a higher voluntary excess. The excess is the first part of any successful claim that you agree to pay and most policies will have a standard excess amount. Elect to pay a voluntary excess on top of the standard amount, and you may typically get a lower premium cost;
- ensure you understand what your obligations are under the terms of the cover. For example, if you have told your insurer you have an alarm (which normally attracts a discount on the cost of your cover), typically the insurer will expect you to turn it on every time you leave the home / at night. If you don’t and you need to make a claim, it could be rejected. This is because you failed to meet your obligations under the terms of your cover;
- if your property has experienced flooding or subsidence before, some insurers may refuse to cover you. The good news is that there are sympathetic insurance providers who will do their best to provide the cover at a realistic price;
- when paying for your insurance, note that some companies who accept monthly payments may charge an additional fee on top. If cashflow is an issue and you want to pay monthly, look out for those insurers who don’t make an additional charge.
Finally, once you have narrowed your choices down to a few policies, do compare them on a like-for-like basis. As an example, one may be the cheapest, but have a bigger standard excess to pay (which is fine if you are comfortable with the amount) than one that costs slightly more but which has a much lower excess.