10 Tips to help you save money on your Home Insurance

It can be argued Home Insurance is the most vital insurance you will ever have/need. It protects the most expensive item most of us will ever have…. Our home!

At Bespoke Hub, we sourced a few ideas for saving your money on your home buildings and contents insurance, whether combined or separate.

We also want to help you make sure you’re in the right position to make a claim in the unfortunate event of an accident. There are some pitfalls to look out for!

Both over and under-insuring your home could lead to HUGE problems for yourself (as mentioned in our earlier blog post). People can unwittingly be sabotaging themselves!

We believe the following tips not only help save you money in the standard sense, but also save you BIG money in the unenviable event of a claim but ensuring you are insured CORRECTLY!

1. Accidental Damage

Should always be offered as an optional upgrade to any buildings or contents quotation. It safeguards against any damage you cause to the home such as spilling red wine on the carpet, or a little one kicking the football into the TV (a personal, still-raw, experience of mine).

These do invariably increase the premium of the policy but as most experts will say, it is a must have! Think of it as going from third party cover, to fully comp! So this will cost a few extra quid but will save you money when you accidentally hit a pipe whilst hanging up a picture on the wall and having a £3,000 escape of water damage claim!

2. Personal Possessions Cover

Again, this is an optional extra which is being taken up by great numbers! It covers your personal possessions on a blanket-like cover. It will limit the highest value item (usually to a minimum of £1,500) but will cover anything below that up to the requested amount.

So if you ask for £2,000 worth of Personal Possessions cover and have your bag stolen which had a i-phone, i-pad, watch, camera and RayBan’s in it. It would all be covered as long as no item is above £1,500 and the total value paid out will only be £2,000. (Not a bad add-on!)

***You will need to make sure mobile are covered as on a very small percentage of policies, they exclude mobile phone cover.

3. High Value/High Risk Items

Can save you LOTS of money or can cost you LOTS of money. Unfortunately, this is one you will have to research for.

If you have a high value item (i.e. an engagement ring, a Rolex watch etc) then you can add them to your home insurance policy to make sure they are covered in and away from the home.

This can cost only a few quid extra, or it can make the premium increase by hundreds (or even make your current insurer decline your insurance). If it is too expensive, then it may be best to look online for these companies that insure one off items and cover it that way.

4. Sub-letting Rooms

If you are having your mate stay for a little while, letting it out to a tenant or even having students, you home insurance providers need to know! They can reduce the amount paid out in the event of a claim or reject the claim completely if not told!

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5. Home Business

Again, if you do not tell your insurance providers about any business from the home, in the event of a claim, you may have the amount reduced or the claim completely rejected!

The can range from operating a full scale business from home, having a few people over for a yoga lesson to even clerical business work (doing the paperwork from home)!

6. Property Security

This doesn’t just mean CCTV cameras and burglar alarms. The security usually refers to your doors and windows.

This is one of the MAIN things to check through on your home insurance policy. Most people will have an endorsement on their policy stating that to be covered for theft and malicious damage, you need British Standard Approved locks. This is locks on ALL accessible windows and a 5-lever mortise deadlock or multipoint locking system on the final exit doors (again, this refers to all doors you can exit the house from i.e. back doors and side doors too).

If you have a standard Yale lock on your back door or one of your accessible windows doesn’t have a lock, you may be refused any compensation in the event of a claim.

7. Sum Insured, Blanket Sum Insured and Unlimited Sum Insured

This is ‘industry terms’ for the re-build value of your home.

Sum Insured:- is the re-build value of your home. This can be given when you purchase your house or by a chartered surveyor ( or you can get a free valuation from here). This is not the market value of the property!

Blanket Sum Insured:- This is where you request your actual re-build, but the company give you their blanket cover instead (which is higher). For example, you request a £125,000 re-build sum but AXA give you a £1,000,000 re-build instead.

Unlimited Sum Insured:- This is where you do not have to specify your re-build value as the insurer give you unlimited cover. This usually means they ask more questions to gauge the risk of your home.

If you go with an insurer who gives you unlimited sum insured or blanket cover, make sure you adjust this for your quotes upon renewal. i.e if you enter a quote with the re-build value of £190,000 but Insurance company A are the best price and give you £500,000 blanket rebuild cover in 2016, when 2017 knocks around DON’T FORGET to change the re-build to £190,000! It could save you hundreds!

8. Under-insuring

This is particularly important if you choose sum insured. It can be almost impossible to correctly estimate the re-build of a building but it is something you need to do in order to be insured correctly.

To put it into some form of perspective, imagine you have arranged £20k of home contents insurance cover (believing the collective items to be worth in the region of this), yet it later materialises that the contents (in pre-destroyed condition) were actually worth in the region of double that on the open market (say, £40k). Should a £5k claim be submitted following a burglary, the chances are that an insurer will only pay-out a sum of £2,500; arguing that only half the cover that should have been was in place at the time of the recorded incident.

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9. Exclusions/ Endorsements

This is where you NEED an eye for detail. If you choose non-standard insurance and go through a broker, they will clarify these to you. If you don’t have any non-standard issues and do it all online, this is where you can fall in the pitfalls!

It is important you read what is and isn’t covered. You may have gone through an online aggregator site and clicked ‘no’ to British Standard Approved locks on the questions set. An insurance company came up with the cheapest price and you have blindly taken the policy out. Within the endorsements may have the endorsement requiring BSA lock meaning if you have any theft or malicious damage occur at the property, it isn’t covered!

There can be various exclusions and endorsements ranging from ‘British Standard Approved locks required’ to ‘damage caused by DIY exploits’!

10. Vacant Property/ Unoccupied

If you leave the property unoccupied overnight for a period in excess of 30 days (or whatever set amount specified in the policy wording) you will NOT be covered correctly. Most insurers will reduce the cover amount which you have requested (so the full cover) and it will revert to FLEE cover… Only Fire, Lightening, Explosion and Earthquake will be covered. Nothing else!

If you are going on extended holidays and will be away from the home for 5 months, you NEED to get non-standard home insurance, if you are leaving the property unoccupied to sell, let or refurbish…. You need Unoccupied Insurance.

We can cover all Standard and Non-Standard risk and have specialist brokers waiting to help you find the right insurance for your bespoke needs!

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Cornwall and Devon Insurance Services Limited is a trading style of Riviera Insurance Services Limited who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA FRM 786116). We are covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). Private customers and micro-enterprises may pursue complaints with the FOS if we cannot resolve them. Further information is on the FOS website.

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