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Buildings insurance is always more expensive when provided by your mortgage provider. Some lenders even add the insurance premiums to the home loan and you end up paying extra unnecessary interest. Even though your lender will probably require an administration fee to check and authorise your choice of insurance provider, it will be money well spent.
Building insurance needs to be properly worked out to stop you wasting money on a premium that is higher than it needs to be. The value of your home as far as insurance brokers are concerned is the cost to rebuild not its market value. You need to tell them how much it would cost to rebuild it, not how much it’s worth basically. Remember too that sheds, garages and swimming pools will almost always come under buildings insurance, so you’ll need to let them know about these. Getting a surveyor to check your building rebuild cost is often worth it as the money you spend on this can be recouped by you not paying more on your premium than is needed. Alternatively, you can use a house rebuilding cost calculator; all you need is the total floor area measured externally for each floor. www.calculator.bcis.co.uk
Contents insurance can also be complicated if you’ve got any specialist equipment or unique items such as artwork. Anything from surfboards to skis and bikes need to be mentioned when insuring your contents to make sure they are covered. Make sure you know exactly what they’re worth so that you don’t over or undervalue them as this can lead to either an inflated premium or invalid cover.
Normally buying both buildings and contents cover together at the same time from the same company will result in a saving. A recent survey of 600 insurance policies confirmed 85% of insurers gave discounts for combined cover. The AA research has found that the average saving of combined cover is £47.
You can cut up to 20% from your premium by volunteering for a higher excess – the first part of a claim you pay yourself. Agreeing to a £200 excess with one insurer results in a 5% saving.
By going online to an insurance company’s website direct you can save around 20% with Morethan and 25% with Direct Line. Shop around for special offers and other good deals when looking for insurance. By spending time on this you could save hundreds of pounds on your premiums. The various comparison websites are useful for getting an idea of general market prices, but be sure to check companies too as they may well have special offers that are not listed on comparison sites.
By paying for the total premium annually you can make further savings. Paying monthly by direct debit can increase premiums by between 1.5% and up to 10% depending on the company.
You can cut down on your contents premium by making your property more secure. Adding a burglar alarm will instantly reduce the premium. Directline gives 12.5% discounts for an approved and monitored alarm. But remember the monitoring part will cost around £20 a month. Fitting approved secure window and door locks can also give savings. Some insurers may require you to upgrade your security of your home (as a condition of the insurance) to their minimum standards in certain high-risk postcodes. Brand new homes are normally fitted with mortice deadlocks to BS3621 and window locks, as well as having laminated glass to doors and vulnerable areas. Look for the Secured by design logo. Join or start a neighbourhood watch scheme.
Details can be found at: www.neighbourhoodwatch.net
Make sure that if you do have any specialist equipment that it’s kept locked away and you tell your broker this so they can take it into account. An intruder is unlikely to take anything they can’t see, so keep it locked away to be sure.
Insurance providers may give an additional discount for smoke alarms, or charge a higher premium if you don’t have one. Do not forget to check the small print in the policy documents for exclusions and cover limitations.
Finally, be honest with your insurance company to ensure you have sufficient cover if the worst happens. It is better to be over insured rather than under insured. It can be a good idea to take photos of your valuables and possessions. Take a photo from the opposite corner for each room in your house. Keep receipts for all major purchases. You may need them to substantiate a claim.
No claims discount. Look for companies that offer a discount if you don’t make a claim.
Stop smoking. Smoking is an increased fire hazard that some insurers allow for in their quotes.
Check your credit rating. Some insurers check your credit rating and calculate the policy on what they find.
Check your policy - every year to make sure you are not over insured.
Senior discounts. Are you over 55 and retired, you may qualify for an additional 10% discount.
Getting cheap home insurance can seem difficult but with a little effort when choosing you could end up saving significantly on your annual premium. Here are some tips for saving on your home insurance.
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