The peace of mind that comes with having your home and belongings insured is worth a lot, but here are our top tips for getting the right level of cover without paying over the odds:
Consider getting a professionally installed and maintained burglar alarm, and having approved locks fitted to all of your windows and doors. Read our burglary guide to find out how you can protect your home.
It’s also worth checking if there’s a Neighbourhood Watch scheme in your area. If you become a member of your local group, you may be able to lower your premiums, as well as increase the security of your home and local community.
These are measures you can take quite affordably, but which may pay themselves off over the years in reduced premium.
Many home contents and buildings insurance policies include an excess. This is the amount you'll need to pay each time you make a claim on the policy. Say it was set at £100 and you made a claim for £1,000, you'll receive up to £900 from your insurer.
While some policies will have a minimum compulsory excess built in, you will often be asked to choose a level of excess you're comfortable with, and this can make a difference to the premium you pay.
It's important to strike the right balance for you though - being overly cautious and setting the excess too low will mean higher premiums, but make sure you can afford the cost you go for.
You may be surprised to learn that the cost of your premium can be affected by:
If you or anyone in the house works from home, different insurers have different policies around how this affects cover and whether business equipment such as computers and printers can be included.
If you take in a lodger or the number of people living in your home changes for any reason, this could change whether your policy is valid. The important thing is to keep your insurer updated on any changes as not doing so could invalidate your claim.
It's very easy to underestimate the total value of the possessions in your home. Go through the replacement value of everything you have and you may be amazed at how it all adds up.
While it may be tempting to shave a little off the annual premium by giving a conservative estimate, this could turn out to be a costly mistake if the worst happens. The only way to be sure you have the right level of cover is to take a full inventory and add up what it would cost to replace.
It's also important to keep this up to date - if you make any expensive purchases that make a difference to the overall value of your property then you should let your insurer know as soon as possible, listing any high-value items, as it could invalidate your claim if you don’t.