There are probably as many different home insurance tips as there are varieties of home insurance. Top of the list of any helpful tips, therefore, is likely to be the importance of searching as exhaustively as possible for the particular insurance package that best suits your own needs and circumstances.
Fortunately, that is something made so much simpler these days by going online and using one of the several search engines that compares not only prices but also the features of the cover offered by a whole selection of different insurers.
Home insurance typically includes both buildings and contents insurance, so here are some home insurance tips based on the possible variations between the different packages that might best suit your own needs:
- What’s covered exactly? – as you’d probably expect, most policies cover the permanent fabric of your home, especially to the extent that this ensures its structural integrity. But some policies also extend cover to such essential fixtures as bathroom and kitchens fittings, whilst others might cover boundary walls and fences or garages and sheds, too;
- Risks – once again, most policies will typically cover a core set of risks – such as fire, flooding, subsidence, earthquakes, storms, impact by vehicles or falling branches and tress, and vandalism or malicious damage – whilst additional elements are reserved as optional extras (for which you pay an additional premium);
- Options – examples of some these optional extras might include accidental damage to fixtures and fittings within the home; compensation for the cost of alternative accommodation in the event of the home becoming uninhabitable following one of the insured events; and public liability cover, giving you indemnity in the event of third party claims from those injured whilst on your property or those whose property is damaged whilst visiting you or who are in the vicinity of your home;
- Excesses and discounts – rather like your motor insurance policy, home insurance policies also include compulsory excesses (the first amount of any claim for which you remain responsible). The difference here, however, is that the excess is likely to vary according to the type of building insurance claim you are making. Some home insurance policies also give you a “no claims” discount if you have not made a claim on the insurance in the previous year.
- What’s covered? – if it’s not an integral part of the fabric of your home, it’s likely to be covered by most contents insurance policies. The home insurance tips for contents insurance, however, probably feature even more variations in what is and what is not covered by any particular policy compared to another. Food in the house might be covered, for example, or tools in the garden shed, or even the family pet!
- Risks – the contents of your home are exposed to the same set of risks as the building itself, with the addition of burglaries and theft (and the damage left in their wake). You might choose to extend that cover, however, to any accidental damage to your contents. If the policy does not already do so, you might also consider extending cover to those items which you frequently use outside of the home (a bicycle, for example, or a laptop or other portable equipment used at work, school or college);
- Valuation and indemnity – the final home insurance tips for protecting the contents of your home relate to the importance of keeping your valuation of all insured contents fully up to date. If you are under-insured and the home suffers a major disaster, there might not be sufficient insurance compensation, of course, to replace all of your belongings. Keeping the overall valuation up to date like this is important whether you have chosen “new for old” cover (that replaces lost or damaged items at today’s replacement values) or “wear and tear” cover that deducts an element of the settlement amount to reflect the age and depreciation of the item or items.
David Thomson is Chief Executive of BestDealInsurance a completely independent specialist broker dedicated to providing their clients with the best insurance deal.