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Home insurance is a necessity that you can’t really afford to be without if you’re a home owner. Even if you’re renting, you should seriously consider taking out household (contents) insurance to protect against loss or damage to your possessions.
But if the cost of your home insurance quotes is very steep you may wonder if it’s worth taking out a policy in the first place. Think about what you own in the house, room by room, and decide how much it would cost to replace it all – then think about how many years’ worth of premiums that would have cost.
There are some ways of reducing your home insurance premium, though, all of which are easy enough to put in place. For example, by applying for a policy online rather than by telephone you could save 10% there and then. Or join a neighbourhood watch scheme and fit good locks to your house and your premium will be further reduced.
Don’t take out more cover than you need. Carefully calculate how much your contents are worth and neither under- nor over-estimate their value. This will ensure that if you have to claim you’ll get back the cost of your lost items, but that you’re not paying over the odds for your insurance in the meantime. Insurers work out how much to charge you for premiums based on the level of risk that your property poses (i.e. what the chances are that they will have to pay out a claim) and how much they would have to pay out if you were to submit a claim. If you ask for more cover than you need, you might be putting pounds you’re your premium unnecessarily.
The value of your house itself is how much it would cost to re-build, not its market value. That value can normally be found on your mortgage deeds, but if that’s very out of date you should consult the Building Cost Information Service, which is a calculator available through the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
When you’re selecting policies for contents insurance and buildings insurance, shop around for both types. You don’t have to get both policies from the same provider and whilst one company might be cheaper for contents insurance it might be relatively expensive for buildings cover. Some insurance companies offer a discount if you take out both policies through them, so check this as well and decide which is your cheapest option.
Shop around for the cheapest quotes, either direct with the insurer (some companies don’t use brokers or comparison sites), through a broker or via a price comparison website. Remember that if you use a broker or comparison site the insurance company will have paid to use those services and some may pass on those costs in their premiums.
Finally, if you’ve received a renewal quote from your existing home insurance provider, shop around for cheaper quotes. You can always take those quotes to your existing provider and use them to haggle for an even cheaper quote, which they may give you if you have been a good and long-standing customer.
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