Should you stick with your home insurance provider?

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Plenty of people take out home insurance but never actually need it. Unfortunately, this also means that a good many of them don’t ever really think about it either.switching home insurance providers If so, they could either be paying more than they need to for their cover, or a policy which isn’t quite right for their circumstances anymore, or in fact both.

Sticking with your insurer can be costly

While it might be the case that your current provider gives you a great deal each year at renewal time, and possibly the best customer service, it’s highly unlikely. Insurance companies, as with many others, take advantage somewhat of people’s inertia and often simply automatically put up the cost of your insurance each year. This will especially be the case for those who signed up for what’s known as ‘auto-renewal’ (whereby, unless you say otherwise, the insurer simply roles over your cover into the next cover period). So don’t be lazy. One quick call each year could save you hundreds, if not thousands of pounds in the long run.

Here’s why you might want to switch providers:

  • Your life circumstances have changed

There are many changes which can happen in life that you should tell your insurer about to make sure your cover remains appropriate to your circumstances. Some of the most common include having children, getting divorced, taking in lodgers, renting out a property and moving to a new home. Insurers need to know who is living in a home full-time as this changes your ‘risk’ profile, and therefore potentially your cover requirements. Children, for example, are seen as higher ‘risk’ to a home’s contents, for obvious reasons! If you move, the insurer needs to completely re-assess where you’re living and what that means for your insurance. And renting out your home will require cover of a different order.

  • Your premiums keep going up

You might eventually notice that your premiums have been steadily rising for a number of years. This is the price of inertia; many insurers will steadily increase the cost of insurance for those who don’t kick up a fuss and ask for a better deal. Even if your premiums have stayed the same, you should still compare deals by getting quotes from other insurers.

  • Your neighbours pay less

It’s perhaps not the most common over-the-fence chit chat (or it might be if you’re that way inclined!), but if it’s a very similar property to yours, finding out from a neighbour how much they pay for their home cover, and how good that cover is, can be quite revealing. You may well find it’s less than you pay; another reason for demanding a better deal.

  • You’re improving your home

Many people make home improvements without telling their insurer. From kitchen extensions to conservatories and loft conversions, you need to contact your home cover provider before work starts so they can potentially adjust your policy accordingly. This applies both for while the work is in progress (builders can cause accidental damage!) and once it’s finished. A home with a larger number of bedrooms than before, for example, and potentially more contents in it, may require a greater level of cover. Or you may have converted a side garage into a properly connected bedroom, or built new rooms above a downstairs kitchen, either way, you have to tell your insurer. Apart from making sure you’re properly covered, it’s a good chance to re-negotiate your deal.

  • Terrible customer service

While price is just about the key consideration for most people when buying home insurance, it shouldn’t be everything. There’s no point in having a great deal if your insurer gets your cover limits and policy wrong, or it’s a nightmare when it comes to claiming. Check out what others are saying about an insurer’s level of customer service online and ask trusted brokers for their opinions. If you really don’t like the service you’ve received from your insurer, it’s probably a good idea to switch.

  • Combine your cover

It may be that you have your buildings cover with one insurer, and your contents cover with another. If so, it’s probably costing you money. Some people still make this mistake, but in nearly all cases it would be cheaper (and somewhat easier when it comes to renewal and making claims) to buy a combined policy deal with one provider. The savings are usually significant when compared to taking out two separate policies. If you do have separate policies with separate insurers, approach both and see what terms they’ll offer you for a combined deal. Also, shop around so you can compare what you’re being offered.

Policy Expert

Our dedicated customer service team is always on hand to help – either online or over the phone. Whether you want assistance in finding the right policy or even handling a claim, we make sure it’s all handled by experts. For more information speak to one of our experts on 0203 014 9300 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.