Home insurance is a basic term for two different types of insurance policy. Buildings insurance to cover the construction of your property and home contents insurance to protect your valuables and other household objects.
The problem is that not all home insurance policies are created equal making it difficult to compare like with like. The areas and level of cover provided vary from policy to policy along with the premiums. So having a definite idea of what you need to insure and for how much will help minimise the overall time and money spent buying it.
TIP 1: Cut the risk, cut the cost
All insurance policies protect against the risk of financial loss. So to cut the cost, cut the risk to the insurer and you’ll get a lower premium. To give you an idea, here’s a quick summary of the most effective tactics…
• Contact your home insurance company or local neighbourhood watch scheme and they will send you a list of steps to make your house more secure and less likely to be targeted by thieves.
• Fit locks to all windows and level 5 (BS3621) mortise deadlocks locks to the doors. Most insurance companies will give you up to 10% off your home contents insurance if you have these kind of locks fitted around your house.
• Having a good alarm fitted by a recognised alarm fitter, which your insurance company can recommend, can give you up to 10% off your policy. Bear in mind that these are expensive alarms which require an annual check up.
• Higher policy excess. You will usually have to pay the first £50 of any insurance claim, but if you’re willing to pay more then, your premium will fall now.
• Neighbourhood watch schemes. Some home insurers offer discounts if you live in a neighbourhood watch area; however this is less common.
• No claims bonus. As with your car insurance; a record of no previous claims will reduce your premium. If you need to make a claim, consider whether it may be cheaper to pay for the loss yourself and avoid an increase in premiums.
• Your age. Statistically, the older you are, the less likely you are to make a house insurance claim. So if you’re a lower risk this will be reflected in your premiums. Some companies offer extra benefits to those over 50 such as Saga.
• Extra security. Declare any special safety precautions you’ve made for your valuables such as a home safe.
• Your lifestyle. If you have a dog, are teetotal and don’t smoke, be sure to declare this as such factors are used by some insurers to reduce premiums.
• Occasionally applying to your existing insurer as a new customer can reduce your premiums. Many insurers offer discounts to new customers which won’t be repeated when you come to renew.
• If you can apply online you will normally get a discount of around 5%.
Before you carry out any security improvements to your home, always check with your home insurance company first. They will confirm which improvements will have the biggest cost cutting impact.
TIP 2: Know what home insurance you need
Working out an accurate figure for the buildings and contents insurance value can be awkward, which is why a lot of homeowners are either under insured or paying for levels of cover they don’t really need.
Buildings insurance covers the re-build cost of your property not its market value. The re-build value of your home is the cost of re-building it in the event that it is destroyed by fire or subsidence for example. The re-build value of your home can usually be found on your mortgage agreement, or property deeds. The Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) produces a range of detailed information on the cost of rebuilding houses and flats together with a re-building cost calculator.
Alternatively, you can opt for a policy that has an unlimited or high standard buildings sum insured so you don’t have to worry about insuring the right amount.
Then there is the home contents insurance which covers almost everything else you would take with you if you moved house. Make a list of the rooms in your house and write down all the items contained in each with there value. Then, total the individual amounts to see what contents insurance protection you need. Remember to value items such as music CD’s, videos and clothing as their total cost is often missed or under insured. Whether your wardrobe is full of jeans or designer labels, make sure you include the cost of replacing them.
TIP 3: Look at separate buildings & contents insurance
If you need both buildings and contents insurance, get quotes for separate policies for maximum potential savings. Most insurers do provide them as separate policies and just because one is cheap for buildings cover doesn’t mean they are equally competitive to insure the contents. Find the cheapest providers for each component and consider buying each from different insurers.
TIP 4: Shop around for home insurance
Shopping around will yield the biggest savings on home insurance.
Firstly, don’t simply opt for the home insurance supplied by your mortgage lender. They can be convenient when your busy sorting your mortgage but they’re often over priced and chances are they won’t have been compared against other policies on the market.
When shopping for insurance you basically have three options; go direct to the insurer, browse the web or use a broker. If you have the time and commitment you can do all three, but the fastest and most effective route is to log on and use the reach of the internet.
The best insurance websites compare dozens of brokers and home insurance companies in minutes. You only have to fill in one form to get a list of premiums displayed on your screen from major insurers and brokers. However, if you have unusual or very specific requirements the final premium may increase when confirmed direct with your chosen insurer.
TIP 5: Ask for a bargain
Home insurance has a margin of profit built into it which can be negotiated down if you’re armed with the right information. Not all insurers will buckle and concede an additional discount but if you don’t ask you won’t know.
• First, find the cheapest quote after using internet comparison sites and phoning a few brokers.
• Select the cheapest quote and contact your existing insurer first asking them to beat it. If they won’t budge contact the second cheapest insurer and do the same.
• If after your best efforts, the insurer won’t budge, ask them to throw in some extra cover to sweeten the deal or move on to the next home insurance company and repeat the same steps.
Each year when our renewal notices come through the post for our home contents insurance and/or home buildings insurance, most of us automatically sign the form and send it back to the insurance company – after all, we already know how much the premiums are going to be. Big financial mistake, and here are 4 reasons why:
Did You Buy Anything New In The Last Year?
If you bought anything new in the last year, say a new television or video recorder, then the value of this new purchase will not be included in the renewal notice you just sent off to the insurance company. Likewise, if you sold anything of value over the last year, and have not informed the insurance company, then you are paying home contents insurance for something you no longer own. Either way, your not paying the right amount of insurance premiums.
Did The Costs Stay Static?
If you have home contents insurance then you are insuring your personal property for the replacement cost of buying the same thing new. On the other hand, part of your home buildings insurance should cover the cost of labour and materials. Now ask yourself, would the cost of replacing the picture hanging in your living room be the same today as it was last year? If the answer is that it would cost you more, tough luck, you’ll only get paid out what you said the cost of replacing it would be! The same can be said of your friendly builder, would he charge you the same for an hour of his time and for his materials today as he would have done last year? If the answer here is no, then you should be expecting to pay him the difference.
Did The Value Of Your Home Stay The Same?
Similar to the above, with your home buildings insurance you need to be asking yourself whether or not the value of your home stayed the same this year as it was last year? You need to be asking yourself this question even if you didn’t do any work to the house – such as building an extension – that would naturally automatically add value to your home.
Is Your House Any Safer Today?
Here the question is, have you done anything to your house over the last year that would mean your home would be considered safer today than last year? For example, did you add any deadlocks to your doors or windows? If so, then there’s a very good chance your home contents insurance premium would be reduced, as the security in your house is a major consideration in assessing your premium (along with the crime rate in your neighbourhood, so you may also want to check and see if this has gone up or down also).
Keep in mind that time stands still for no man. As such, you need to read your home contents insurance and/or home buildings insurance renewal notices very carefully to make sure that they reflect, as accurately as possible, your life today and not your life of yester-year.
When it comes time to purchase an automobile insurance policy, it can be confusing trying to decipher the terms and policy inclusions. Unless you know what you are looking at, it will be very difficult to determine which policy best meets your needs. The last thing you want to do is pay more than you need to for coverage that is less than you ideal. Read on for some insights into the world of vehicle insurance policies and how they can work to your benefit.
When you receive a quote for automobile insurance, you will likely be quoted rates for the amount of coverage that the insurance agency wants you to buy. However, you should be aware that this is not always in your best interest. They will almost always try to get you to buy more than what you actually need. The first to consider in determining how much coverage you need to is look at the value of your car. There is no reason to buy coverage for $100,000 when your car is only worth $10,000. Even if your car is totaled in an accident, your insurance company will only pay you the value of your car – so why buy more coverage than your car is worth? Don’t fall for this trap. Save the money and only purchase what you really need.
Liability insurance covers the other car if you have an accident and you are at fault. Liability insurance is required by law in most states, so you must carry this coverage if you own and operate a motor vehicle. Each state will have a specified amount of coverage that you must purchase, so always know the laws where you reside. In many cases, this amount will range from $10,000 up to $50,000. Liability insurance is the one place where you do not want to pinch pennies, as you could easily damage a car that is worth much more than your own. Your insurance company will only pay up to the amount of coverage you purchased, leaving you potentially with a whopping bill to pay. Typically, it will only add a few extra dollars to buy more liability coverage, so play it safe and pay the cost.
Property damage can cover anything from a vehicle to exterior surfaces such as buildings, sidewalks or any personal property. This could include bicycles or city property like stop signs and utility poles. Insurance for property damage can also include items within a vehicle, such as computers or cameras.
Be aware that many people drive without automobile insurance, regardless of the fact that it is against the law. This means that you could easily be involved in an accident that is not your fault, but the other driver has no insurance. If this happens, you will have the burden of trying to force this person to pay for the damage to your vehicle. Chances will be high that they do not have the funds to pay. For this reason, it would be wise for you to purchase uninsured motorist coverage. This will cover your vehicle if you get hit by someone who does not have insurance. The cost for this coverage is minimal compared to the benefits, so be sure to include this coverage, even if the insurance company does not actively recommend it.
Understanding these basic things about vehicle insurance can make a big difference in the coverage you end up having. Be informed and then relax, knowing that you are covered.
Anyone who owns a car must legally have car insurance. Getting your insurance and then dealing with everything involved with it is not always easy. Since vehicle insurance is mandatory, it is best if you know as much about it as you can. The following information shares some helpful hints that you may need when you are shopping for car insurance.
First of all, you need to do some research on the insurance companies in your area. You can look online to see what others say about the company, ask your friends or check with the insurance authority in your state. It may be easy just to pick a company and use that one, but insurance is important and it is important you go with a trustworthy company.
Next, it is important to know a few key terms when it comes to insurance policies. It is required that you have liability on any car that you own. Liability insurance will cover anything that you do to another vehicle or someone else or their property. Uninsured coverage will pay for any damages caused to you by someone who does not have insurance. Collision insurance pays for anything that is damaged if you have a wreck. Comprehension coverage is for anything that happens to your car that is not the result of a wreck. These things include fire, theft, vandalism, wind or anything else not related to an accident. Going into the insurance agent’s office with knowledge will be quite helpful and will make it so much easier for you to make your decision.
Deductibles are another thing that you need to consider. This is the amount you will be responsible for and then the insurance company will pay for the rest. Whether it is medical charges, property damage costs or repairs that need to be done to your vehicle, the deductible is something that you need to take into consideration. The lower your deductible, though, the more you will pay for your insurance policy. If you have plenty of ready cash, you may consider going with a higher deductible, that way you will pay less on your insurance policy.
Look into discounts that may be available to you. If you have homeowners or rental insurance, talk to your insurance agent as many times you can get a bundle deal if you have more than one insurance policy with the same company. You may also be able to get a discount if you have a safe driving record, work at a particular company, or belong to a certain bank or have other special circumstances. Always ask your agent about the available discounts and you may be able to save some money on your insurance policy.
Shopping for vehicle insurance is not always easy, but if you own a car it is something that you must do. Use the information shared here in this article and you should have a much easier time getting the insurance you need for your vehicle.
Do you need to find a new insurance policy for your vehicle? You should read this article to learn more about auto insurance.
There are thousands of insurance providers you can choose from, but do not assume the insurance providers you saw advertised on TV are your best option. It is important you do some background research about different insurance providers to find a reliable company. Do not purchase a policy from an insurance provider with a lot of negative reviews. You should also avoid companies that have been created very recently. Talk to your friends and family about their auto insurance and ask how satisfied they are.
Find out how much coverage you are legally required to purchase in your state. Do not hesitate to get more coverage if you can afford to, but keep in mind that getting as little coverage as possible is a good way to save money until you can afford to upgrade your insurance. Assess how much coverage you need and can afford. You should not spend money on clauses you are very unlikely to need. For instance, being covered for flood damages to your vehicle is not necessary if you live in an area where floods never occur.
Take the time to compare quotes once you have decided how much coverage you want to purchase. You should be able to get quotes on the Internet or on the phone. Get as many quotes as possible within a week so your credit score does not reflect multiple inquiries. When comparing quotes, make sure you are comparing equivalent amounts of coverage. Do not hesitate to spend more if this means getting access to a quality customer service or discounts.
If you want to save money on your premiums, you should talk to your insurance provider about discounts. You will probably qualify for discounts if you have a good driving record, own a vehicle with anti-lock brakes and other safety features or are willing to take some driving classes. You can also lower your premiums by paying for your insurance once a year instead of every month and by raising your deductible. If you decide to do this, put some money aside for your deductible or for your yearly payment.
You should go over your policy regularly and not hesitate to make some changes if you do not need the same amount of coverage. If you can afford to spend more on auto insurance, add some clauses to your policy. This is a good thing to do if you are about to teach your children how to drive. You should also stay in touch with your insurance agent to talk about your policy and ask about discounts. You will become eligible for more discounts if you did not file a claim over the last few years.
These auto insurance tips will help you get the amount of coverage you need without spending too much. Do not hesitate to switch to a different insurance provider if you are not satisfied with your first choice.