Tips to cut your home insurance premium

Although home insurance is not a legal requirement, it’s a good idea to insure your home and the things inside it so you’re covered in the event of a fire, burglary or natural disaster. Home insurance is a sound investment to cover you if the worst should happen, and some mortgage companies will actually make it a condition of your loan to at least have buildings cover.

Home insurance is split into two types: buildings insurance (which covers damage to the structure of the building) as mentioned above and contents insurance (which covers damage to or loss of personal possessions). The cost of a home insurance policy is based on the risk posed, so remove some of the risks and your premium will fall. Here are some ways you can cut the costs:

Make your house more secure

If you get a burglar alarm installed, this can make your home a lower risk in the eyes of insurers. There are a few different types on the market now, including audible alarms which emit a siren when an intruder is detected, monitored alarms which automatically alert a security centre and GSM alarms which can be controlled using your mobile phone. Make sure you test your alarm every few months and get it serviced once a year.

Fit approved deadbolt locks to all external doors and key operated locks to windows. Insurance approved locks will normally have anti-drill plates, anti-saw bolts running through the deadbolts and will carry the British Standard Kite mark symbol. If you’re unsure about your locks, you should ask a locksmith to check them.

Take preventative measures against fires

In the UK, there are around 300,000 residential fires each year, of which more than half start in the kitchen or are caused by smoking. For this reason it’s important to install fire alarms on every floor of your home. Many insurers will now also ask if you are a smoker, and you may find this could increase your premium. For your own safety, do not smoke in bed (as you’re likely to fall asleep) and make sure you extinguish cigarettes properly. Update old electrical wiring systems in your home as these could pose a potential fire risk too.

The Fire and Rescue Service offers a free home safety visit to offer advice on how to make your home safe, where to fit fire alarms and to help you devise an escape plan.
Join a Neighbourhood Watch schemec overing approximately 3.8 million households, the Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network (England & Wales) is one of the UK’s largest voluntary organisations. Its aim is to join together neighbours to create strong, friendly, active communities to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

Essentially, by joining your local Neighbourhood Watch, you’re investing in a few extra pairs of eyes to safeguard your home and you won’t be alone in your efforts to cut crime in your local area.

Investigate no claims offers

Much like no claims discounts offered by car insurance providers, some home insurers now offer you a considerably reduced premium if you haven’t claimed on your home insurance. So if you’re thinking about making a claim, consider whether it would actually be cheaper to pay it yourself to avoid an increase in your policies in the long run.

Increase your excess

The compulsory excess is set by your insurance provider, and is the up-front amount you must pay in the event of a claim. The voluntary excess is an amount you agree to pay in addition to the compulsory excess; the more you agree to pay, the lower your premium will be because it reduces the amount of money the insurer is liable to pay out.

Check your coverage

Fully read your policy documents to understand what you’re covered for – especially before you buy any additional coverage beyond the basic insurance. There’s no point paying to insure expensive jewellery if you don’t own any, for example. Similarly, underreporting the value of your contents and underinsuring can result in claims being underpaid.

Shop around

It pays to shop around – if you use a comparison website, you can type in all your details and get quotes from hundreds of insurers in one fell swoop. Even if your current insurance policy was the cheapest one around when you took it out, chances are your premium may have now increased. So don’t stick with your renewal quote, spend a bit of time getting a few more and you could save a lot of money.

Combine your insurance policies

Some companies will offer you a discount for taking out all of your insurance premiums with them. If your insurer offers car insurance as well as home insurance, get a quote for the two as it may be cheaper than buying the two policies from two different companies.

Move house

If all else fails, it could be your postcode that is to blame for expensive home insurance. One survey claims that Bournemouth homeowners pay the lowest home insurance premiums while Londoners have the highest premiums. If you are moving, check the Environment Agency’s website to make sure there is a low flood risk in your new area, as this will effect your premium too.

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