Your home and its contents are probably the most expensive assets you own, so insuring these assets is a necessity. As with all expenditure it is important that you get value for money and reduce your outgoings whenever possible.
To help you I have put together a guide that gives you some great tips for saving money on your house and contents insurance.
There are a number of comparison websites available where you can input your details and be provided with costs of several policies across a range of insurers. Make sure, however, that you compare like with like by checking the policy details offered by each insurer.
Buy a combined buildings and contents policy
Although buildings and contents policies are sold separately it make senses to purchase a combined policy. Firstly, a combined policy will almost certainly be cheaper than two separate policies. Secondly, if you do make a claim on both your buildings and contents at the same time it will be dealt with by just one company, making the whole process simpler and, hopefully, quicker.
Insure your property for the correct amount
You should insure your property for the cost of rebuilding the property if it was totally destroyed, not its market value. The rebuild cost should be lower than the current market value as it will not include the value of the land that your property is built on. To get an idea of the rebuilding cost of your property try this useful rebuilding cost calculator. Over insuring your property will only increase your premiums but will not provide a bigger payout if you claim.
Make sure your contents insurance is adequate
With contents insurance you are covering everything that you would take with you if you moved. It is important that you insure for the correct sum, as it is very easy to underestimate the value of your contents. Just think of your house right now and mentally walk through each room making a rough calculation of the value of the contents in each room. Don't forget, you must include furniture, electronic equipment, clothes and all your garden equipment as well. If you carry out this calculation you may be surprised at the total value of your contents. Here is a useful home contents calculator that will make this job easier.
Only pay for what you need or want
There are many extras, such as legal costs, accidental damage and cover for contents taken outside the home, that insurers will add into their policies and charge an extra premium. Go through these additions and work out the extra cost then only pay for those you need or want.
Increase your excess
Insurance companies will always have a compulsory excess included in their policies, this is is the amount the policyholder must pay on every claim. You will have the option to increase this excess if you want, which will reduce the premium you pay. Remember, this excess is payable on each and every claim so make sure that it is an affordable amount.
Pay your premiums annually
If you choose the monthly payment option the insurer will charge you up to 30% interest on your premium payments so pay annually wherever possible.
Insurance policies are an annual contract but insurance companies will always assume that you want to renew. They will send you a new policy and take the, usually increased, premiums if you let them. Put a note in your diary prior to your policy renewal date and then shop around for a cheaper deal.
Secure your home
Most insurers will give a discount to customers who have fitted a burglar alarm and secure locks on all external doors. Although changing the locks on doors is an extra expense you will soon recoup this cost in reduced premiums, as well as have a more secure home. Contact your insurance company before fitting a burglar alarm or new locks to make sure you fit a recognised brand that will qualify for a discount.
Join a neighbourhood watch scheme
Many insurers will give a discount of around 5% for customers who are members of their local scheme. Also, if you join a scheme you will often receive regular newsletters updating you on crimes in your area together with useful contact numbers.
Image - Renjith Krishnan