As the UK starts to recover from the widespread flooding caused by this winter’s storms, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) expects insurance claims for the damage caused to reach £1.3bn. This equates to 15,000 claims with over 3,000 families being housed in alternative accommodation. The average claim for damage stands at £50,000.
When watching the news reports and dramatic footage of the damage caused by the floods, did it make you think about your insurance policy? Would it stand up to a claim of that scale? Have you got the right level of cover for your needs? When shopping around for a new policy, price is often the biggest driver. Whilst this is an important factor, it’s also essential to compare levels of cover and check for things that are not included. Make sure the policy includes everything you need but excludes unnecessary extras.
Did you make any assumptions when you took out your last policy? Some insurance companies automatically include certain features as standard but others class them as optional extras. Things to consider are:
Comprehensive accidental damage cover – less than one in five home insurance policies automatically cover you for damage you cause yourself, by accident.
Home emergency cover – less than one in five home insurance policies automatically provide help for home emergencies, and more than half don’t offer this as an option at all.
Personal belongings cover – items taken outside the home are usually not covered as part of a standard home contents policy.
How does your policy score?
One thing to look for when shopping around for home insurance is the product’s Defaqto Star Rating. This is an independent and trusted industry standard which assesses a financial product’s quality and comprehensiveness. A 5-star rated product will give you instant peace of mind.
How can I reduce my premiums?
Once you’re happy that you’ve got the right level of cover for your needs, there are a few things you can do which might help to reduce your premiums:
- Improve security. You might get a discount for joining your local Neighbourhood Watch scheme. Installing security lighting can often help. Some insurers will only insure you if you have BSI approved locks on all outside doors and windows.
- Install alarms. Smoke and burglar alarms are both important. Make sure they’re approved models – a NACOSS alarm (National Approvals Council for Security Systems) could earn you a reduction on your premiums.
- Increase the excess on your policy – If you’re happy to cover a bit more of the cost of a claim yourself, your premiums may be lowered.
- Build your no-claims discount. If you don’t claim for a few years you might get a discount, but not all companies offer this, so check before you buy.
- Buy buildings and contents insurance together. You might get a discount if you get both from the same company. Also, if there’s a fire, or something else that affects both the building and your possessions, it may be less hassle if it’s all managed by the same insurer.
- Pay annually. Monthly premiums often cost more. Though some insurers will allow payment by instalments for no extra charges so it’s worth shopping around.
- Take advantage of offers. Some insurers guarantee to beat any quote (or the renewal of your current policy) by up to 10%, on a like-for-like basis.
Don’t forget you run the risk of invalidating your policy if you provide an insurance company with inaccurate information. Make sure any details you provide are truthful and honest and you keep your insurer up to date with any changes buy generic synthroid.
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* includes Insurance Premium Tax of 9.5%. Standard contents cover only, where customer has at least 6 years no claims discount.