See what has the most impact on home cover premiums, and what you can do about it

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Did you know that stopping smoking might not only have a positive impact on your health, it can also help reduce home insurance quotes?iStock_000001671239XSmall

Smoking is one of a number of factors insurers take into account when they’re working out how much to charge you.

How you can influence the cost of cover

It’s logical if you think about it. Fire is one of the main reasons people make a claim, and insurers therefore see smokers as a greater risk to their own homes.

With some of the main factors influencing the price of premiums there are choices you can make which, if acted on, could potentially reduce how much you pay.

Contents valuation

Although the total value of the things you own can have a major impact on insurance costs, most standard policies now have set maximum claim levels of around £40,000 to £50,000. So whether contents insurance is worth £10,000 or £30,000, you pay the same. However, if it’s much more or much less, it can be important.

What you can do: Short of having a mega car boot sale, there’s not much you can do about the value of the contents of your home! However, if you own very little, perhaps possessions worth only a few thousand pounds, it could be worth shopping around for an insurer that will change your premiums to reflect this. And if your home is packed with expensive stuff, it’s also very much worth shopping around as premiums will be tailored to reflect this.

Security

Insurers ask you a good number of questions about how secure your home is to partly decide on your home’s level of burglary risk.

What you can do: If you increase your home’s security to a high level, such as by having monitored house alarms, British Standard high-strength locks and powerful external movement sensor lights fitted, and join a neighbourhood watch scheme, insurers may reduce the cost of your cover.

Flood risk

Flood risk in relation to a property has a major influence on premiums. If you live near a body of water, and in particular on a flood plain, or in a house with a history of flooding, you’re going to pay more for your home cover than for a similar home elsewhere.

What you can do: Flood ‘proof’ your home. There are measures you can take which insurers may consider when it comes to fixing premiums. You can fit flood-proof doors and windows, for example, seal exterior walls and fit water-resistant skirting boards and air bricks.

How your home is built

If you have a home which isn’t made of standard bricks and mortar, the chances are the insurer will ask quite a few questions about it. Living somewhere with a thatched roof, or which is listed, for example, is probably going to mean paying more for your cover.

What you can do: There’s isn’t much anyone can do about the materials the home they live in is built out of. However, you should keep your home in a good state of repair as insurers may reject claims where they decide the cause is poor home maintenance.

Your postcode

The postcode for your property is a key factor insurers use when deciding premiums. It provides them with a wealth of information on everything from affluence and crime levels, to density of housing, types of property and risk of subsidence.

What you can do: There’s absolutely nothing you can do about your property’s postcode (except move home!). However, if you’re buying a home and paying less for your home cover is a major priority, it could be a good idea to use the postcode to find out more information about an area.

Size of home

Insurers usually ask how many bedrooms and bathrooms a property has as an indicator of size (they also may gain information about the general type of property on your street from the postcode). Generally speaking, the more bedrooms, the more you pay.

What you can do: If you’re considering adding a bedroom or two, or increasing  the size of your property in any other way, but don’t want to pay a great deal more for you cover, contact your insurer and ask how much, if anything, it could add to your premiums. Haggle with them as you might be able to get a better deal for your ‘new’ home.

Smokers

How you live your life can impact on premiums; this applies mainly to smoking. However, the job you do can also have an impact. Smokers generally pay more for home cover as they’re seen by insurers, whether true or not, as a greater fire ‘risk’ to a home.

What you can do: Stop smoking and change careers!

Policy Expert

If your home is your haven, you’ll want it to have the best protection. Compare quotes from our range of handpicked insurers and tailor a policy to suit you. For more information from Policy Expert, speak to one of our experts on 0330 0600 600 or email ask@policyexpert.co.uk

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Policy Expert.