Whether you are taking out a home insurance policy after having moved into your first property, or it is that time of year again when you need to renew your existing policy it makes sense to spend a little time, either on the telephone or online, comparing insurance providers and gathering together a few quotes. Buying home insurance has never been easier with the introduction of the internet as you can access all the main insurance providers with just a click of a mouse. However, it is important that you do your homework first before taking out a policy as you could end up paying far more with one provider for a policy that has fewer benefits than one sold to you by one of their competitors.
It can be tempting to stay with your existing insurance provider and simply renew your policy with them year after year. However, it is certainly worth shopping around, especially if you have had no claims in the past, as it is highly likely that by switching provider you will save money. Even if you have made a claim quite recently other providers will still often offer you a lower premium if you explain to them exactly what happened and the costs incurred. Infact, the longer the length of time since you last switched, the more money you are likely to save; you could end up reducing your premium by literally hundreds of pounds!
The cost of home insurance has reduced quite considerably over the past ten years, and this, in the main, is due to the introduction of price comparison sites. By spending just a few minutes online you can obtain quotes from literally hundreds of home insurance providers ensuring that you get the very best deal. Before you start gather together details of your current policy, if you have one, so that you can make an accurate comparison. If you are comparing your current policy though it is important to bear in mind that some of your details may have changed; you may have moved house or bought an expensive item that will need additional cover. If this is the case, then be sure to amend these details when searching for a new quote.
When deciding exactly what type of policy you need firstly you will have to determine whether you require buildings insurance, contents insurance, or both. If you have a mortgage on your property you will need buildings insurance that will cover the cost of rebuilding your home if it sustains serious damage, for example, due to fire or flood. This amount is not simply equivalent to the market value of your home, and you will often find it in your mortgage documents. If you rent your property then buildings insurance is the responsibility of your landlord.
Whether you are a homeowner or a tenant it is wise to take out contents insurance to safeguard the contents of your home against theft or damage. Before taking out contents insurance you need to find out how much the contents of your home are worth; as a general rule of thumb a single person, or a couple will require around £30,000 worth of cover, and a family will need considerably more; around £70,000. If you have items that are of particularly high value then you may have to take out additional insurance cover to protect them; check with your insurance provider before signing up.
Another important factor to consider when shopping for home insurance is the excess on the policy. This is the amount that you would have to pay yourself towards any claim you might make. The excess payable can vary enormously between providers; the cheapest policies often have the highest excesses. However, buying a cheap policy with a high excess can be a false economy as you could end up with an excess so high that it is not really worth making a claim.
All insurers offer additional add-ons. Many offer cover for home boilers and plumbing emergencies that cover the cost of sending someone out to your property but rarely cover the cost of replacement parts. Accidental damage cover is also another option, and is useful if you have items in your home that would be costly to replace if damaged by, for example, paint spills etc. A useful type of additional add-on is cover for items that you take with you outside of the home including laptops, tablets and mobile phones. Some insurers also offer cover for bicycles whilst you are out and about; incorporating this type of cover into your home contents policy is often cheaper than taking out stand-alone cover for these types of items.
When determining your home insurance premium insurers take into account a number of different factors one of which is the number of years during which you have remained claim-free. This is known as your ‘no-claims discount’ and it is sensible to take this into account if you are considering making a claim on a relatively low value item as you can end up paying more in premiums at a later date than the payout you receive.
Buying home insurance is considerably easier nowadays as you can access the majority of providers, and receive quotes online. However, it is important that you familiarise yourself with all aspects of the home insurance buying process before you commit to a particular provider.