How Can I Reduce the Cost of my Home Insurance?
While home insurance is an essential cost to protect your home and belongings, there are things you can to do keep your premiums as low as possible.
Don’t just assume your current insurer is offering you the best deal – with any type of car insurance, it always pays to shop around. Use multiple comparison sites to compare what different insurers are offering and go direct to insurers that don’t appear, as some of them will only sell directly to customers.
While you don’t want to be paying too much for your home insurance, you definitely don’t want to have less cover than you need. If you ever need to claim you could find yourself unable to repair or replace your belongings, unless you can do so out of your own pocket.
Choose a Combined Policy
Buying your buildings and contents insurance as one combined policy, as opposed to two separate ones, could save you money overall. That said, don’t just assume that is the cheaper option – compare the cost of a combined policy with the cost of buying them separately before you make your decision. In short, do your research.
Don’t Pay for Cover You Don’t Need
Every insurer will offer you optional add-ons when they sell you a policy. These extras can include things like legal cover, accidental damage and home emergency cover and each one will add an extra cost to your premium. If you feel you will benefit from these add-ons, then they are worth paying for. But make sure you really consider each one and its cost carefully.
Remember, unless you own your property you do not need buildings insurance: it is a landlord’s responsibility to cover the building they rent out.
Pay Your Premium Up Front
Most insurers will add interest to monthly instalments, which means that overall you will pay more for your policy. If you can afford to make a one-off annual payment instead it could be a more cost-effective option.
To help make sure you only pay for the cover you need you should aim to be as accurate as possible with the value of your home and its possessions.
The best way to get an accurate figure for your contents insurance is to do a room-by-room inventory of your belongings. Be sure to include items in the shed or garage as well as all clothes, furniture, carpets and curtains.
For your buildings insurance, you need to base the value of your home on an accurate rebuild value, that is what it would cost to rebuild your home from scratch – this is often lower than the market value of your home. Your mortgage lender or insurance provider should be able to advise you on this, or you could use an online calculator or contact a professional surveyor.
Try to match your buildings-insurance cover to your rebuild value as closely as possible, and make sure you review it regularly, especially if you renovate or extend the property.
Agree a Lower Excess
The insurance excess is the amount you have to pay towards any claim you make, and you can usually opt for a higher excess which in turn will reduce your premium. Make sure any voluntary access you agree is affordable, as you will have to find this money in the event of a claim.
Making your home as secure as possible can mean cheaper home insurance, as well as helping you to build and protect a no-claims bonus (a discount that gets bigger with every year you don’t claim).
There are several security measures you can take that an insurance company will look favourably upon:
- Install a burglar alarm be sure to fit a model that is approved by your insurer and pay attention to any conditions (for example, your insurer may insist on it being on at all times)
- Get the right locks: you should make sure all your external doors and windows have locks that are approved by your insurer
- Install a safe: keeping valuables in a safe could lower your premium
- Join the Neighbourhood Watch scheme: some insurers reduce your premiums if you are a Neighbourhood Watch member
Taking steps to reduce the risk of your home being damaged may not directly result in lower insurance premiums, but it will reduce the risk of you needing to make a claim, which will in time increase your no-claims bonus. Simple things like fitting smoke alarms, insulating water pipes and keeping it generally in good condition can all help protect your home.