Top ten tips for getting the best price and protection

by Adrian Waters

1. Take note of any clause regarding 'reasonable care'

Insurers demand you take basic precautions such as locking your doors and windows and keeping valuables from plain sight.

2. Make sure you meet the security measures required by your insurer

Most insurers will require rim lock or mortice deadlock (British Standard 3621). When possible, it is worth installing a NACOSS approved burglar alarm and join a neighbourhood watch scheme. Increased security such as this can lead to a reduced premium of 5-10%.

3. Make sure you understand the amount of excess you have to pay

One way some people reduce their cost of insurance is to increase the excess they will pay (the amount of money which you have to pay towards the cost of each claim ). Be sure that you will be able to pay the excess amount in the event of a claim.

4. Know what your single item limit is

This limit is usually between £1,000 and £1,500. The single item limit is the most the insurer will pay out for any one item. If you own anything valued over this amount, you will need to individually list them on your policy and you may have to pay a higher premium. This is worth it to protect your most valuable possessions.

5. Check your cover for accidental damage

Cover for accidental damage is not often automatically included in buildings and contents insurance policies. It is a useful option and should not alter your premium hugely. It provides cover if your possessions are damaged accidentally, for example if put your foot through a ceiling board from your loft, drill into a pipe while doing some DIY or spill on your carpet.

6. Know what is not covered under your policy

Not all policies automatically cover things like garden fences, sheds and tools, money and credit cards.

7. Update your contents insurance regularly

The value of your household's contents rises every time you make major purchases such as new home entertainment equipment, designer clothes or more expensive kitchen appliances. If you keep your policy up to date when you make new purchases you are more likely to be able to claim for any items stolen or damaged.

8.Talk to your insurer if you will be away for any length of time

Whether you are travelling, working or have a 2nd home; if you are going to be leaving your home empty for a long period of time, check the number of days your policy allows you to be away and still be covered. For very long periods of time there are special policies available. Ask their advice.

9. If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, inform your insurer

Living in a flood zone will often mean limited home insurance options. It is better to have an honest conversation with your insurer, rather than only tackling the problems when you need to make a claim.

10. Check if you can cover your children's belongings

If your children have grown up and are studying at a college or university away from home, your policy may cover their belongings whilst they're away. Check any requirements regarding security and what happens during holidays.

Shop around

It pays to shop around when looking for home and contents. This is why, at Insure My House, we bring all the leading insurers together in one place. You can choose the best cover and price from an array of 54 products from the nation's best known home insurance companies.

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