UK Home Insurance Guide

UK Home Insurance Guide

UK Home Insurance Guide

How to find, compare and obtain the best home insurance cover

According to the ABI (Association of British Insurers), the insurance industry pays out £8.9 million a day settling home insurance claims. Despite the size and importance of the home insurance sector, they estimate 1 in 4 households in the UK do not have a home contents insurance policy.

In this guide, we explain key aspects of home insurance explaining why it is crucial as well as detailing the main components of a basic policy and any add-ons. We also look at how to compare home insurance policies and how to get the best home insurance quote.

In order to understand how you can reduce the cost of your home insurance, we first explain what factors insurers consider to calculate the cost of your premiums. The final part of our comprehensive home insurance guide explains how to make a claim on your insurance policy, why claims are turned down and what to do if your insurance company refuses to pay.

What is home insurance?

Home insurance is an umbrella term which covers a range of different home insurance policies. A basic policy protects your home (both the structure and its contents) from unexpected events such as theft, fire, damage (both accidental and malicious) and natural disasters like storms.

A standard UK home insurance policy varies in its coverage depending on your insurance provider. However, the most basic usually consists of:

  • Buildings insurance
  • Home contents insurance
  • Flood insurance
  • Subsistence cover

There are some additional elements which are sometimes not included in a standard home insurance policy. These optional extras (or add-ons) include accidental damage cover and home emergency cover.

Why do I need home insurance?

Home insurance is needed as a safeguard to prevent life’s unexpected incidents resulting in financial loss. When something bad happens to you and you are dealing with the loss of your home or treasured possessions, the last thing you need is to be worrying about how you can possibly afford to replace all the stolen or damaged belongings. When you consider that the average contents of a home are worth £21,000-£45,000 (depending on the size of the property), you can begin to understand how difficult it would be to replace all these items at the same time.

Having a home insurance policy gives you greater peace of mind and is best illustrated by the adage: ‘Hope for the best but be prepared for the worse’. The ‘worse’ in this case could be anything from a burst water pipe to a burglary.

What home insurance do I need?

Tenants in rented accommodation would only need home contents insurance since their landlord is responsible for buildings insurance. If you are a homeowner, both buildings insurance and home contents are necessary.

Unlike motor insurance, home insurance is not a legal requirement unless you have borrowed money to buy a house. In this situation, your lender only grants a mortgage on condition that you take out buildings insurance. This is because they want to protect their own investment (their share of your home).

The other components of home insurance would depend on your personal circumstances. For example, you would only need downloads cover if you have spent hundreds of pounds on downloading games, music, etc. and their loss would be a financial blow for you.

In order to understand what is included in buildings and home contents insurance, let’s look at the difference between them, explain in greater detail what standard policies include and exclude before outlining the most common home insurance optional add-ons.

What is the difference between buildings insurance and home contents insurance?

Buildings insurance covers the structure of your home such as the windows and roof while home contents policies protect your belongings. The easiest way to understand the difference is to imagine that you are moving house. Whatever you leave behind is part of your buildings insurance policy while the items you pack in the removal van are covered by your home contents insurance.

What is covered by your buildings insurance policy?

Buildings insurance covers you for any damage done to the outer and inner structure of the house including kitchen and bathroom fixtures and fittings. Some policies will also include external structures such as garages and sheds. This damage could be the result of natural disasters (storms, etc.) or man-made (vandalism or malicious damage).

In the case of your home being totally destroyed, this insurance policy also covers the cost of totally rebuilding the house from the bottom up. There are two ways to calculate the rebuild value of your home: sum-insured and bedroom-rated.

What is the difference between sum-insured and bedroom-rated buildings insurance?

Sum-insured buildings insurance estimates the exact rebuild cost including costs for demolishing and clearing the site plus any professional fees (for architects). Therefore, it will not necessarily be the same as the price you paid for it or how much it would be valued by an estate agent. To take account of rising prices for materials and labour costs, you should always make sure that your policy is index-linked.

Bedroom-rated policies estimate the rebuild cost based on the number of bedrooms your home has. To reflect how difficult it is to be accurate, the coverage offered by these policies tends to be higher than sum-insured insurance coverage.

Common exclusions to buildings insurance

Most buildings insurance policies will not cover you for general wear and tear. For example, fixtures do not last forever so an insurer will not pay to replace an old leaking washbasin. Another common exclusion is damage which has been caused as the result of poor maintenance of the building. For example, storm damage caused because the roof was already missing tiles.

Other buildings insurance exclusions to be aware of are:

  • Accidental damage (for example, as the result of DIY efforts)
  • Shoddy workmanship
  • Damage by pests (such as mice, birds or insects)
  • Storm damage to external garden structures such as fences

What is home contents insurance?

Home contents insurance protects you in case of damage, loss or theft of the personal possessions contained in your home – from furniture and domestic appliances to clothes and jewellery. Belongings which are kept in outdoor buildings (like sheds) can be included only up to a specified limit. However, any home insurer will expect to see some basic security measures to deter thieves, such as secure locks on the doors and windows.

Some policies will also cover you when items such as electronic devices are taken out of the house – whether that is in the UK or abroad. For other insurers, items like laptops and mobiles can be added as an ‘all-risks extension’ clause for an extra fee or can be protected by a standalone personal possessions policy.

There are two types of policy: new-for-old and indemnity cover. New-for-old policies means that insurers will reimburse you for the current value of your possessions. Indemnity cover is cheaper to buy, but your insurance provider will only pay out for how much your personal belongings were worth second-hand (allowing for general wear and tear).

What are the different types of home contents insurance?

There are three kinds of home contents insurance policies: bedroom-rated, sum-insured and unlimited sum-insured.

A bedroom-rated policy allocates a value to your possessions according to the number of bedrooms in your home and so is the least accurate. For a sum-insured policy, you need to list all your belongings room by room and give them a monetary value. The most expensive type of home contents insurance is unlimited sum-insured, but this extends coverage for all items in your home. It is a guarantee that you will not be under-insured.

What exclusions are there for home contents insurance policies?

Accidental damage, whether caused by people or pets, is not covered by standard home contents insurance. Insurers also have a single article limit (usually £1,500-£2,000) which is the most they will pay for one individual item. If you have possessions worth more than this limit (for example, jewellery or antiques), then you will need to add them to a standard policy (with their stated value and proof such as a receipt).

Another common exclusion to home contents policies is the ‘pairs and sets’ rule. If you have possessions which make up part of a matching pair or set (such as a sofa and armchairs), the insurer will only replace the one which is damaged or stolen.

Home Insurance Resources
ABI – Association of British Insurers
Financial Ombudsman Service
What is flood insurance?
UK landlord insurance
Insurance for holiday homes
House insurance for empty property

Flood insurance explained

Insurance against flooding is usually included as a standard component of both your buildings and home contents insurance policies. However, you should always read the fine print before taking out a policy.

What is flood insurance?

The flood insurance component of home insurance policies protects you if your home and its contents are damaged by floods – whether this is from coastal/river flooding, heavy rain or a burst pipe. Apart from paying for the necessary repairs to the building, your insurance provider will also cover the cost of replacing damaged possessions, the removal of waterborne debris and the fees of surveyors and architects.

How do I know if my home is prone to flooding?

Each UK country has an online flood map which highlights regions of the country which are prone to flooding. Once you have entered your postcode, the colour-coded areas on the map show the likelihood of your home being flooded. You could also check with the environmental department of your local council for information about previous floods.

If your property is at risk of flooding, you must inform your insurer. If you do not disclose this information, any claim you make will be rejected.

Image showing homes in the UK flooded by rising rainfall
Flood insurance cover is a must in many parts of the UK. A changing climate means rivers are more likely to burst their banks with increasing rainfall.

Can I still get flood insurance if my home has been flooded before?

Flood insurance is still possible if your home has previously been flooded though previous claims for flood damage will push up the price of your home insurance. It has been estimated that being flooded before can add up to £280-£300 a year to the price of your premiums while living closer than 400 metres to a body of water can add £140-£160 a year to your home insurance.

If the location of your property and previous claims makes your home insurance too expensive, you might be eligible to access flood insurance through the joint government-insurance industry Flood Re scheme. Owners of private residences built before January 2009 in higher-risk flood areas can access cheaper flood insurance as the flood risk element of the policy is underwritten by the scheme’s funds. You can download a form from the Flood Re website and then send your completed registration to them via email or post.

If your property is not eligible for the Flood Re initiative, you should contact the BIBA (British Insurance Brokers’ Association) for a list of brokers who specialise in flood insurance.

What is subsidence insurance?

Subsidence insurance covers you financially if the foundations of your home start to sink because of the instability of the soil. This gradual collapse can lead to vertical cracks in external and internal walls (including bricks and plaster) and doors/windows which do not open or close properly. Your insurance provider will pay for the structural damage to be repaired and in the worst-case scenario, cover the cost of shoring up the sinking foundations by underpinning your home.

Although subsidence insurance is a standard component of your buildings insurance, you should always read through the policy terms and conditions to make sure it is included. Repairs to the garden and outdoor structures (like sheds and outer walls) are usually excluded from this policy. If the insurers find evidence that the builders did not adhere to good building practices, this is another reason why any insurance claim could be rejected.

How do I know if my house is at risk of subsidence?

Evidence of subsidence can often be revealed during the structural survey which is carried out when you purchase your home.

There are certain factors which make your home at higher risk of developing subsidence. These include:

  • Trees or shrubs built within 5 metres of the house
  • Leaky underground pipes or drains
  • Close proximity to past or present mining and quarrying activities including fracking
  • Periods of prolonged drought or heavy rain (usually sandy or clay soils)
  • Properties built in Victorian or Edwardian eras (when foundations were shallower)

Can I take out subsidence insurance if my area has a history of subsidence?

Subsidence insurance may be available in high risk areas but you might have to contact the BIBA for the name of a specialist home insurance broker and expect to pay higher premiums. This is because you will represent too high a risk for your regular home insurer. This risk factor might be higher even if you have never made a claim against your subsidence insurance policy, but your property is located in an area which has had problems in the past.

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What are the most common home insurance add-ons?

The optional extras which you can add to your standard home insurance policy include:

  • Accidental damage cover
  • Home emergency cover
  • Legal expenses cover
  • Personal possessions insurance (also known as an all-risks extension)
  • Alternative accommodation cover
  • Downloads cover
  • Freezer (contents) insurance

Which ones to add depends on your personal circumstances. When deciding whether to add them, you should always weigh up the likelihood of something going wrong and the potential financial loss against the resulting increase in your premiums. For example, adding emergency cover to your home insurance policy can increase your premiums by £30-£40 a year. Only you can judge whether these optional extras are worth it.

Let’s give a brief overview of the most common types of home insurance add-ons.

Accidental damage cover

Accidental damage cover reimburses you for any damage which occurs as a one-off mishap (rather than the result of general wear and tear). It covers the usual range of accidents which might happen in the home such as breakages and spills.

Home emergency cover

This optional add-on covers you financially for any home emergencies such as lost keys, burst pipes and broken boilers. The insurer usually provides homeowners with a 24-hour helpline as well as covering the cost of calling out any tradespeople. Call-out fees, labour costs and materials will all be reimbursed as part of home emergency cover.

Legal expenses cover

This add-on to a standard home insurance policy will pay for any legal action taken by or against the policyholder. This includes accidents and resulting injuries which occur on the homeowner’s property covering both the legal fees and any court-awarded compensation for liability. Legal expenses cover will also pay for any court action taken by the policyholder against others such as disputes over property boundaries with neighbours. This extra component adds an average of £25-£35 per year to your insurance premiums depending on the level of cover.

Personal possessions insurance

Also known as an all-risk extension, personal possessions insurance covers the policyholder for the loss, theft or damage to any possessions regularly taken out of the home. This includes handbags and wallets/purses as well as electronic devices such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops. Claimants would have to prove that they had taken care of their belongings. For example, not leaving a mobile unattended in a public place. You should expect to pay an extra £12-£26 a year depending on the value of the belongings being insured.

Alternative accommodation cover

If your home were to be uninhabitable because of a serious problem like a fire or flood, alternative accommodation cover would pay for the cost of somewhere else to live until repairs were carried out. All policies have restrictions about both the monetary value and limits (in terms of weeks/months) of the alternative accommodation. You should always check that this is sufficient. After a fire, for example, would 12 weeks of alternative accommodation be long enough until your home is habitable again?

Downloads cover

This home insurance add-on pays for the cost of replacing any lost digital material – whether this is files, music, ringtones or games. This loss could be the result of the theft or damage to an electronic device but does not cover you if the material was accidentally deleted. Your insurer might expect you to prove that your purchase of the downloads was from a legitimate site/source, and coverage is usually limited to £500-£1,000.

Freezer contents insurance

If a power outage or broken or faulty freezer mean the loss and spoilage of the freezer contents, this insurance policy would pay for replacement shopping. This policy usually excludes freezers which are older than 10 years old and limits the monetary value of the freezer contents. It is possible to increase the limit of your coverage at times when the freezer might be fuller than normal. For example, at Christmas.

UK Home Insurance FAQ

Where can I find home insurance?

Home insurance is available from all the major UK insurance companies as well as from insurance brokers. Mortgage providers, banks, motoring organisations and debit/credit card providers also offer home insurance. Some supermarkets and High Street shops are increasingly extending their range of services by offering their customers home insurance policies too.

How much does a home insurance policy cost?

In 2020, the average cost of a buildings insurance policy was £111 a year while a standard home contents policy annually costs £66. However, you can make savings of about a third if the two policies are with the same insurance provider. Optional add-ons will increase the size of your premiums while the installation of basic security measures can all significantly reduce how much you pay for home insurance.

What does the excess mean in home insurance policies?

When insurers talk about excess in their policy documents, they are referring to how much money you will be expected to contribute to any insurance claim you make. The higher your excess, the lower your premiums will be. Individual components of a standard home insurance policy usually have an excess of £50-£100. This is with the exception of higher value insurance claims such as for subsidence which usually have a much higher excess (£1,000-£2,000).

Does my home insurance policy cover me when my house is empty?

If your absence from home lasts up to 30 days (for example, when you are on holiday), then your home insurance policy remains valid. For periods of 1-3 months, you should contact your insurers because there might be restrictions or additional charges. Simple preventative measures like installing better security features or turning off the water at the mains can reduce how much extra you will have to pay. Home contents insurance is not necessary if the house is standing empty and unfurnished but, buildings insurance is a must. In this situation, you will have to contact your insurer and take out a specialist home insurance policy.

What home insurance does a landlord need?

A landlord would require buildings insurance, home contents coverage (for furnished property only) and public liability cover (including a legal expenses component). Optional add-ons include rent guarantee insurance, alternative accommodation cover and home emergency coverage. Instead of taking them out as standalone policies, it is often cheaper to take out a specialised landlord insurance policy which includes all the necessary components.

What home insurance do I need as a tenant?

If you are living in rented accommodation, you will need a home contents policy to reflect the value of your personal belongings. Building insurance is not necessary as it is the responsibility of your landlord. If you are living in an HMO and are insuring the contents of a single room, you will need to install a lock on the door. Any of your possessions stolen from the communal areas of the HMO (such as the shared living room) will not be covered by your policy without evidence of forced entry.

Does my home insurance policy cover me if I work from home?

Not necessarily so you should always notify your insurers if you work from home. The extent of the coverage which you need depends on what kind of work you do. If it involves clerical or administrative work, then your equipment (such as computer, printer, etc.) might be included in your existing home contents insurance policy or can be added for a nominal sum. If your home-based job involves meeting customers at home, storing large amounts of materials or highly specialised equipment, you will probably need to take out business insurance as well. This might consist of additional components such as public liability cover.

Are university students covered by their parents’ home insurance policy?

Yes, if the parents have taken out personal possessions insurance or have an all-risks extension add-on to their basic home insurance coverage. However, it is always a good idea to read the terms and conditions or check with your insurer. University students – whether in halls of residence or in private rented accommodation – tend to be at higher risk of theft so it is often better to take out a separate tailor-made student insurance policy. In this way, parents can protect their no-claims bonus.

Do I need home insurance for a new build?

Yes, the NHBC ‘Buildmark’ warranty means that the builder is responsible for putting right any structural defects as the result of poor workmanship or defective materials within the first 2-10 years after construction (depending on the fault). However, home insurance is still necessary. This warranty does not protect you from damage or loss as a result of fire, theft or natural disasters like storms.

What happens to the cost of my home insurance after I make a claim?

If you make a claim on your home insurance policy, you will lose your no-claims bonus (if offered by your home insurance provider). This will mean an increase in the size of your premiums when taking out a new policy. It has been estimated that a claim can result in a further 13%-15% increase in the cost of your insurance. For more expensive claims such as ones for subsidence, the cost of your insurance could triple.

Comparing home insurance policies – is cheapest the best?

When comparing home insurance policies from different insurers, you should not only consider the final cost of the monthly/annual premiums. Of course, price is important but the cheapest does not always mean the best. Cheap home insurance policies might have so many restrictions and exclusions that if something happens, you might find yourself out of pocket because you are not covered for every eventuality.

In order to compare home insurance policies from different companies, you should also consider:

  • The amount of coverage and any exclusions
  • Any restrictions or limitations about potential claims
  • The size of the excess
  • The size of the no-claims bonus

How to obtain the best home insurance quote

The best home insurance quote is one that gives you the most comprehensive home insurance coverage at the most reasonable price. There are various ways to do this.

Shopping around for home insurance

Prices for home insurance vary, so you should never take the first quote you are given. Price comparison sites and contacting insurers directly (online or by phone) will give you a range of prices which will allow you to choose the best one when comparing both the cost and the coverage.

Complete the insurance questions honestly and in full

In order to receive an accurate home insurance quote you will need to provide the insurance company with both personal details and key information about your property. Be as accurate and honest as possible when completing the form. Any inaccuracies could affect the quote you are given and have an impact on the validity of any future claim. If you do not know the answer to a question (for example, about the risk of flooding), find out. Even giving the wrong answer out of ignorance could still result in claims being denied and policies being cancelled.

Contact your existing insurance provider

If you have other insurance products, such as motor insurance, it is worth contacting this insurer. They might be prepared to offer you a favourable price as a loyal and valued customer.

Adjust the home insurance coverage

Many price tools on insurance comparison sites or the websites of insurers allow you to change key elements of the quoted insurance coverage. This is invaluable as making small adjustments can allow you to ensure that you are comparing like-with-like and will also let you ‘tweak’ the cost of your premiums so they are affordable.

Ask insurers about measures to reduce the quote

Understanding how insurance companies work out premiums can help you reduce the quote. Ask the insurer if there are any simple and inexpensive changes you could make to your property which would be viewed favourably and cut the cost of your premiums.

How insurers work out the cost of your home insurance premiums

Insurance providers work out the cost of your home insurance policy depending on the extent of the coverage you want (including optional add-ons) and the size of your excess. The size, age/condition and type of property plus the materials used in its construction also have an effect on the size of your insurance premiums.

Insurers use sophisticated logarithms to price your premiums depending on the likelihood of your making a claim. The greater the probability of your asking for an insurance pay-out, the higher your home insurance will be. Knowing which factors they consider is important because you can customise your policy to cut the cost or take preventative measures to reduce the risk you represent as the result of possible theft or loss of your possessions.

Some of the factors they consider in working out the cost due to your risk factor as a potential claimant are:

  • The installation of any security measures
  • Your personal circumstances, such as whether your profession requires frequent overnight absences from home
  • Your personal lifestyle
  • Your postcode (this will allow insurers to access information about crime statistics in your neighbourhood as well as whether there have been previous claims for serious issues like flooding or subsidence in the area)
  • Your insurance claim history (if any)

How to reduce the cost of your home insurance policy

Apart from increasing the size of your excess and paying for a combined buildings-home contents insurance policy, there are other ways to reduce the cost of your home insurance.

Pay home insurance annually

If you can afford it, it is much cheaper to pay for your home insurance as a lump sum every year. This is because monthly instalments are effectively treated as a loan and an average APR of 6% is charged on such policies.

Boosting home security arrangements

Your home insurer would expect you to take basic preventative measures to deter burglars such as keeping doors and windows closed and locked when no one is home. However, they might also have specifications about the types of locks you should have such as a 5-level mortise deadlock (BS 3621). If external structures (such as sheds) are included in your insurance policy, do not forget to install locks on the doors too. Before installing any new locks, make sure that they satisfy your insurer’s minimum standards. Measures such as joining a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme can also reduce the size of your home insurance premiums.

Installing home security alarms

The installation of a smoke detector, motion detector, fire alarm and burglar alarm can all reduce the price of your home insurance premiums. Before installing them, you should ensure that the brand/model is approved by your insurance company.

Use your no-claims bonus

Although not offered by all insurance providers, you might be entitled to a discount if you have never made an insurance claim before. If you are considering making an insurance claim for damage which is for a small amount, it might be worth paying for it yourself instead of losing your no-claims bonus. Even if you decide not to make a claim, you must still let your insurer know about any incidents which might affect the size of your premium. Not doing so could lead to any later claim being denied.

Take measures against flooding

The installation of one-way valves on drainage pipes, air-brick covers and flood boards can limit damage to your property in areas prone to flooding and can also reduce the cost of your insurance premiums.

How do I make a claim on my home insurance?

In the documentation provided with your home insurance policy, you should have been given the phone number of your insurer’s 24-hour claims hotline. Although insurers usually give you 180 days to make a claim, you should do so as soon as possible after the damage or theft has been discovered. This is because of possible delays in settling your claim.

You must tell your insurance provider your policy number. You must also give them a detailed description of the incident including: the date/time, what happened, the extent of the loss and its estimated cost. In the case of criminal damage or burglary, your claim must be accompanied by the police crime reference number.

If you are claiming because of damage caused by natural disasters such as flooding, you should try to avoid clearing away until the damage has been seen by a loss adjuster from your insurance company. If you need to move things (for example, to make your property secure), you should always take photos as evidence or keep remnants of the destroyed items (such as carpets and soft furnishings). If repairs have to be made to secure the property (such as repairing a broken window), you should keep the receipt to be reimbursed by your insurer later.

How long your home insurance claim takes to be settled depends on its size. Although small amounts might be approved within days/weeks, larger claims might take months. Your insurer will notify you within 15 days of their decision or that more time is needed.

Why are some home insurance claims rejected?

According to the ABI (Association of British Insurers), 94% of home insurance claims are approved, but the most common reasons why insurance providers might turn down your claim include:

  • Inaccurate or non-disclosure about key information regarding your personal circumstances or the property (even unwittingly)
  • Neglecting to maintain the property
  • Not informing the insurer of changes in the use or contents of the property (such as new purchases) or changes in your personal circumstances
  • Lack of coverage or the right level of coverage
  • Claim value less than the excess level
  • Lack of evidence about the value of possessions (for example, proof of purchase such as receipts or credit card statements)
  • Damage being the result of wear and tear (rather than accidental)
  • Not showing ‘duty of care’ (For example, not looking after your belongings when in public places or leaving windows open resulting in a burglary)

What to do if your home insurance claim is rejected

Your home insurer should give you a reason why your insurance claim has been rejected. If, after re-reading the terms and conditions of your policy, you believe that they are mistaken, your first step is to let them know. Always keep copies of any correspondence from or to your insurer or keep records of any phone calls (who you spoke to, date/time and a summary of the conversation).

The insurance industry is regulated by the FCA. Therefore, if your insurer continues to refuse your claim, you could make an official complaint to the FOS (Financial Ombudsman Service) within 6 months of their refusal. The complaints procedure is completely free of charge and you do not need legal representation.

The FOS is an independent body which will evaluate the validity of your complaint. Although their decision is binding for the insurers, you have the option to bring a case against the insurance company through the civil courts if the FOS’s decision goes against you.

The FOS finds over a third (35%) of buildings insurance claims and just over a quarter (26%) of home contents insurance complaints in favour of the policyholder. It is therefore worth thinking about lodging a complaint if you feel your insurer has been unfair in rejecting your claim.

10 tips for better and cheaper home insurance

Our tips will help you find the best home insurance so that it reflects your needs, saves you money and ensures that claims are not refused.

Choose the right level of insurance cover

The best home insurance policy covers the true cost of rebuilding/repairing your home and replacing your possessions. If you are under-insured, you will be left out of pocket while being over-insured means you will be paying unnecessarily expensive premiums.

Set the right level of excess

Be realistic when deciding the excess (how much you contribute to an insurance claim) you are prepared to pay. Although increasing the excess will lower your insurance premiums, make sure that you can afford to make up the sum from the insurer.

Do not limit your searches to price comparison sites

Many of the UK’s leading insurers are not included on price comparison sites so don’t forget to visit their websites when shopping around. You should get quotes from at least 5-10 different insurance providers before deciding which is the best policy for you.

Buy a combined buildings-home contents policy

You can make considerable savings if you take out your buildings and home contents insurance from the same provider. Another benefit is that, in case of a claim, it will be easier to deal with one insurer rather than duplicating all the necessary paperwork.

Do not double up on home insurance

Some card providers offer insurance as part of a promotional package for loyal customers. Always check what their policy covers before taking out supplementary insurance.

Customise your insurance policy

Home insurance policies are not a one-size-fits-all financial product. Always speak to your insurer about your personal circumstances so that you can adapt the standard home insurance policy with add-ons to reflect your own individual needs.

Always read the terms and conditions of the insurance policy

Never assume that you are covered for every eventuality unless it explicitly says so in the terms and conditions. If in doubt, you should always ask your insurer what exclusions there are and if necessary, pay extra for an add-on which suits your own circumstances.

Be accurate in evaluating your possessions

If you choose a sum-insured home insurance policy, you should be as accurate as possible in estimating the rebuilt cost of your home or the value of your possessions. A chartered surveyor can help you or you could use an online valuation calculator.

Update your insurance policy regularly

If there is a change in your personal circumstances, you should always notify your insurer immediately. Not only will this ensure that your coverage is up-to-date, but not doing so could invalidate any claims you later try to make.

Don’t allow your home insurance policy to auto-renew

Insurers always save their best offers for new customers so you should start looking around for a new policy about a month before it expires when you receive their notice of renewal. Quotes from rival insurers can also be used as a bargaining tool to bring down the cost of your premiums.

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