How to switch your home insurance

Money Advice Service

Home insurance brings peace of mind, but the prices can be painful on your pocket.

So stop before renewing (be aware some companies will have an auto-renewal process they won’t shout about – check the small print). See if you can slice a few hundred pounds off your policy just by switching insurer.

Big tip

Need both buildings and contents insurance? See if you can save by buying both from the same company.

What should you do with your extra money? Now that you’ve saved a few quid, we’ve a few ideas that will get you saving. Try them out here.

How long it’ll take: 40 mins

Equipment needed:

  • Paper and pen, to note down all your contents
  • Calculator, to add up how much everything is worth
  • Internet access or phone, to call up your supplier

What you need to do

1. Dig out your data

If you want super speedy insurance savings, nail down the right info before your start searching.

Check when your current insurance is due to expire. Insurers are now obliged to tell you what your last year’s premium was, so you can now how much your new premium has gone up by.

For buildings cover, rack your brains for how old your home is, how long you’ve lived there and what the walls and roof are built from.

Eye up external doors to check what locks are fitted, and if they have BSI numbers.

2. Pick a comparison site

Plug your details into price comparison websites to see how much you could save elsewhere.

Try a couple, as they don’t all cover the same companies. Big players include Comparethemarket.com, Confused.com, Go Compare,Moneysupermarket.com, and uSwitch.

Don’t forget to check out what direct to market insurances companies like Aviva and Direct line are offering as well.

3. Know what to cover

Home insurance comes in two forms: buildings insurance and contents insurance. You only need buildings insurance if you own your own home. It covers damage to the structure, and fixed stuff like fitted kitchens and bathrooms. If you have a mortgage, your lender is likely to insist that you take out buildings insurance.

Meanwhile contents insurance covers loss, theft or damage to the (you’ve guessed it) contents, like furniture, TVs, clothing and other belongings. Imagine turning your house upside down – anything that falls out is contents, plus fitted carpets.

If you rent, you’ll only need contents cover. Your landlord should be forking out for the buildings insurance.

Our top favourite tips – click for more

Got a renewal letter from your insurer? Great. Seize the chance to search for savings, BEFORE the renewal date passes.

Still time to run? Check your household insurance policy now. Jot down the date a month before your policy expires on your calendar or in your phone. Get clever with your contract, rather than get stuck paying over the odds.

Cut the cost of buildings insurance by insuring for the right sum – The price you pay depends on the cost of completely rebuilding your home – not selling it.

So forget what you paid for it, or what the estate agent would whack on a For Sale sign. Stick in the rebuild value, which is usually cheaper than the market value.

If you bought your home recently, use the value stated on the survey. If not, play around with the handy calculator offered by the Association of British Insurers. Just remember to keep pushing up the value each year, to allow for inflation.

Include everything you own! It’s easy to underestimate how much stuff we have in our homes. But guess too little, and when you come to claim, your insurer might not stump up for the full amount. Imagine replacing everything if your home burned to the ground– not just jewellery and gadgets, but sheets, towels, clothes, curtains, pots and pans, the lot. That’s the value you need to insure.

So either schlep round listing everything you have, and the cost to replace it at today’s prices, or try one of the online calculators from companies like the AA, Direct Line or Aviva.

Got bling? If you have expensive possessions like the latest smartphone, pricey laptop or sparkly engagement ring, check the single item limit on any policy.

The policy should state what the high risk item’s limit is. You may need to list valuables separately. When added together with all other high risk items, this should be less than your high risk item limit.

Found a better deal than your renewal quote? If you’re happy with your current insurer, give them a quick call. See if they’re willing to match the price so you don’t have to switch.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

Links with an * by them are affiliate links which help Rest Less stay free to use as they can result in a payment or benefit to us. You can read more on how we make money here.
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