You might have noticed that we enjoy finance tips here on the site. That is due, in part, to the fact that there are few more satisfying feelings than saving money – beaten only by making it. Insurance is a tricky subject for most people. In some cases, such as with cars, it is a legal obligation. In others, such as with homes, it could be the same legal requirement such as buildings insurance when you have a mortgage, or optional yet highly recommended in the case of contents insurance. The bottom line is that you need it but might not know enough about it to make the biggest savings, and nobody wants to spend more than they need to fulfil a legal obligation. That is where these tips for homeowners come in, to ensure that they get the best value and cover possible without the need to break the bank.
1. Get the Right Accidental Damage Cover
If your prospective insurance policy does not offer the accidental damage option, then you should probably look elsewhere. It is rare to find it bundled in with the insurance package but is generally a paid extra, and you’ll need to decide on whether you really need it. We consider it a must-have, but you may not. Either way, you do not want to pay too much for it, and should also consider whether you are the kind of person that would make a claim over minor accidents. If you would generally shy away from doing so, it is immediately money wasted.
2. Check Personal Item Cover
While widely known as home insurance, your policy does not need to end there, and you should be aware of which of your personal effects are covered when out and about. The main consideration here is how much the items you tend to have on your person while out of the house are worth, and then to get appropriate cover. Phones, tablets and laptops are obvious, but if you wear expensive glasses or carry something unusual, they should also play a part.
3. Tailor Your Cover to Your Own Possessions
Returning into the home, we need to consider any particularly high-value items. Mainstream home insurance is not priced in a way that assumes you have a Picasso painting on the wall and you should seek out insurance that covers the full value of your home contents at the most reasonable price. Such cover is essential for anything that is hard or impossible to replace, but you should take the time to get the best deal here as it can add significantly to your premium.
4. Make Occupation Savings
Typically, home insurance lasts for a year, much like car insurance. However, the level of occupation of the property can also reduce your premium – or increase it in some cases. Your insurance company needs to know of anything unusual, such as spending an extended period outside the home or subletting rooms. Once again, it is possible to phrase anything unusual in a way that works in your favour and can lead to cost savings – but never lie about your circumstances as it can invalidate a claim before it even gets going.
5. Insure any Business Interests
If you work at home in any capacity, then it is important to get insurance to suit. Working at home as part of a normal job or as a sole trader will generally see everything covered by your standard contents policy. However, if your business involves inviting others into the home or doing anything that may compromise security, you should work this into the policy for increased peace of mind.
6. Keep Home Security Up to Date
We have covered home security in-depth elsewhere on the site, but it is an important consideration in insurance. Most insurers will reduce prices for anyone that has clearly made an effort to keep their home secure. Even something as simple as using locks approved by the insurer can bring premiums down. At the other end of the scale, weaker locks can cause a premium to increase, so ensure that everything is up to date.
7. Keep an Eye on the Insured Sum
Most insurers build their policies for those that live in fairly standard accommodation – those that do not have Picassos on the wall to continue a theme from earlier. You should not forget that, when it comes down to it, they want your business, and can be flexible enough to accommodate. Online policies often come with options and settings that can be adjusted to suit your personal needs, with the policy price updating automatically. If not, it is never a bad idea to speak to them and ask for policy changes that can save you money based on your personal circumstances.
8. Avoid Under-Insuring
When the goal is to save money on insurance, it can be tempting to go overboard on corner-cutting. However, once you are paying for insurance, you may as well pay for enough to cover you if anything you have insured against should happen. Don’t get so caught up in cutting the cost of your premiums if it makes the insurance unsuitable.
9. Be Aware of Your Unique Circumstances and Endorsements
As we have touched on already, it is just as important to get the insurance policy right as it is to save money. Be aware of anything unique about your home so that you are covered, and use anything that could result in potential cost savings to your advantage.
10. Combine Cover
As noted, insurers want your business when it all comes down to it. Some of the larger ones will offer additional discounts to those that take out multiple forms of insurance with them. Most car insurers extend discounts to anyone that insures multiple vehicles, but you can put your home with the same company and reap even bigger and better discounts accordingly.