When comparing home insurance quotes, it’s fairly easy to end up getting in a muddle and not make fair comparisons.
You could find what you think is a great deal, only to realise to your cost when you make a claim that it wasn’t right for you and didn’t include the elements of cover you thought it did.
Here are the key things to watch out for when searching around for home insurance cover, either for the first time or when renewing each year.
Bear in mind that you should only compare quotes for similar policies, otherwise the comparison will be somewhat meaningless.
If one quote is for a policy which includes cover for your possessions when you take them with you away from your home, for example, but another isn’t, it’s not a fair comparison. In this scenario, the quote with the extra cover is almost certainly going to cost more.
Likewise, the very cheapest policies may only offer to cover items on a ‘wear-and-tear’ basis (in other words, you’ll get the second-hand value, not the cost of a new replacement). But most standard policies offer ‘new for old’ cover which replaces an item as it would cost new. Again, the difference is fundamental, so comparing quotes for policies with such different approaches wouldn’t give you a relevant comparison.
Know what you want from your Home Insurance
You need to know what you want from your home insurance before you go out there to compare policy quotes.
Ask yourself a number of questions such as; how much cover do you need? What would it cost to rebuild your home? Do you want cover for when you’re away from your home too? Do you go away for considerable periods at a time? Do you want cover for accidental damage? Should legal expenses cover be included? Do you have highly valuable items such as antiques and jewellery which might need extra cover?
It’s a good idea to write down your basic requirements so that you input the same information for each quote.
Check Cover levels
Knowing how much cover you need is just about the most vital factor when getting quotes for home insurance.
It’s common for people to under-estimate the value of the contents of their home by an average of £15,000 to £20,000, once all items, including carpets, sofas, curtains, bathroom suites and other types of ‘possessions’ people often overlook, are taken into account.
And estimating how much it would cost to re-build your home from scratch, which is ultimately what you may want the buildings element of your cover to financially protect you for, can be tricky.
Many standard policies now offer a blanket maximum figure of £500,000, which is sufficient for most UK homes, but not all do. It’s your responsibility to check the figure would be enough. If you’re not sure, ask local builders or get a surveyor round.
Consider using a broker
The services of a home insurance brokers cost you nothing, and often they may be able to find you a deal which is better, and costs less, than you’d be able to find yourself or by using online comparison sites.
A good broker can help you decide how comprehensive your home cover needs to be, check the small print for you, and ensure you give the right information, as well as often accessing exclusive deals which you can’t find elsewhere.
Consider Excess levels
Some policies have fixed levels of excess as standard which you might find quite high (£250 is not uncommon). The ‘excess’ is the first part of a claim that you have to pay before the insurer covers the rest.
Most policies have a fixed minimum and this can slip by unnoticed if you don’t check the small print (which is where the broker comes in).
If the excess was £250, and you had to claim for a stolen iPad, for example, you might find it’s not worth bothering with as the excess is as much as the item is worth.
The excess can also vary depending on the type of claim. So, for example, the excess on subsidence claims is usually quite high on all policies, but the difference can still be hundreds of pounds, if not thousands, depending on the insurer.
No Claims Discount
If you haven’t made a home insurance claim for a number of years, the chances are you’ll find insurers offer you what’s called a ‘no claims discount’ (as you’re seen as less of a ‘risk’). Some insurers will offer discounts far greater than others. Up to 50% off premiums is not unheard of, so make sure you ask for one.
Many standard home insurance policies may appear to be quite similar, offering similar claim limits, and elements such as new for old, accidental damage and no claims discounts, for example.
However, the devil is in the detail and exclusions will apply. Some policies will have a far greater number of exclusions then others. These might include no cover for bicycles, or items lost, damaged or stolen in the garden.
As an online home insurance broker, Policy Expert help our customers to compare insurance products and find a policy that’s right for them. Customer care is at the heart of everything we do and we have a dedicated customer service team on hand by phone, email, twitter and instant chat. For more information on Home Insurance from Policy Expert, speak to one of our experts on 0203 014 9300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org