Your home is likely to be the biggest investment you’ll ever make, so protecting it against potential disasters is a smart and logical step to consider. If you have a mortgage, it will likely be part of the conditions that you have insurance to cover the cost of rebuilding your home in the event of fire or other serious damage. Unlike car insurance, home insurance isn’t compulsory by law so if you own your home outright you might think to save yourself a few pounds and forego the cost of home insurance. However, house insurance needn’t be expensive and can provide valuable peace of mind in the event disaster strikes.
The premiums offered by insurance companies will be dependent on your circumstances and the amount and type of cover you need. Buildings insurance, for example covers the structure of your home and permanent interior fittings such as baths, toilets, fitted kitchens and interior décor, as well as protecting you in the event of serious damage, like fire, flood or collapse. Contents insurance covers your moveable belongings, while joint cover protects both buildings and contents under one policy. If you require both types of cover, it’s often cheaper to have a joint policy and you may find it easier to only have to deal with one company. However, there are also other ways to help reduce the cost of your home insurance.
If you’re moving into a new home, you never know who might have a key for your front door, so it’s a good idea to change the locks. Fitting approved locks on doors and windows will help reduce your premium, so consider fitting key locks to windows and patio doors and BS 3621 deadlocks to your outside doors. Also consider installing an approved burglar alarm, which can cut your premium by up to 10 per cent and, if your neighbourhood has one, it’s a good idea to join the neighbourhood watch scheme – a move that could lower your premium by up to five per cent. However, remember to inform your insurer of any changes you make to your property, as failing to do so could invalidate your insurance.
Many break-ins happen when its dark and you’re not around. Using time-switch lights (which turn lights on and off at a given time) gives the impression that someone is at home, meaning burglars are more likely to think twice about attempting a break-in. Alternatively, consider light-sensitive switches which turn lights on or off depending on levels of ambient light, and can be set to switch on and off at random intervals. Installing motion-activated exterior lighting can also help deter burglars as unwelcome guests are less likely to loiter if they’re in the spotlight, while animal lovers could also lower the cost of their premium by employing man’s best friend to guard the house when you’re not around.
Increasing the standard policy excess is another method of reducing the cost of your insurance premium. If you are willing to cover more of the cost of any claim, you’ll pay less for your premium as a result, while having no record of previous claims will also help to keep costs down. If you do have to make a claim, consider whether it’s worth doing or cheaper to foot the bill yourself so future premiums don’t increase.
The home insurance quote isn’t necessarily the cheapest quote, so be sure to shop around to make sure any quote encompasses all your requirements. Use a financial services comparison website to explore the insurance market, while getting a quote and buying online can often yield further discounts; but check to make sure that the levels of cover offered are sufficient to replace your possessions in the event of loss, and that you’re not paying for added extras you don’t need.
Remember, the world of insurance is competitive and insurance companies want your business. If you find a cheaper quote elsewhere that matches your requirements you may be able to haggle a better deal from your existing insurer.