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Home Insurance

Home Insurance - probably the largest choice of Home Insurance in the UK!

Home insurance doesn't have to be expensive! It can be a very major item in many people's budgets but it is possible to save a great deal of money by finding the right policy, and now that the majority of people in Britain have access to the Internet most major insurers now offer their products online, and a major industry has grown up of price comparison websites. This means that, rather than having to accept a single quotation every year we can now search through dozens or even hundreds of potential policies, all from the comfort of our own home.

It is not so very long ago that the only way to buy home insurance was from your building society or other mortgagor, who was able to stipulate the company or, if you were lucky, companies that you could deal with. What very few people realised in those days was that the mortgagor almost invariably took a large slice of the premium as a commission, sometimes as much is 40% of what you thought you were paying just to the insurer! Making this a condition of granting a mortgage has been illegal for some time now, though, and you are free to decide for yourself which company to entrust with your home cover, provided that the cover is adequate. The insurance market has changed considerably since those days too and a new breed of more aggressive insurance companies have come upon the scene, many of them owned by the big banks or other financial institutions, so they are as stable and dependable as any companies are in these troubled times for the financial industry! There are only a limited number of homes in Britain and so the only way in which these companies could get their business was by taking it away from the established insurers, using two main weapons; heavy advertising and lower prices. Traditionally, people have tended to be loyal to the insurance companies that they dealt with which meant that they stayed with them year after year and bought other products from them, so in order to prise them away a number of new insurers resorted to introductory discounts and these proved very successful so offering a large reduction in premium to a new client is now a regular tactic. The drawback of course is that after the first year the premium increases considerably, but since three out of four people just renew their policies every year rather than look around for a cheaper one the insurers find this a profitable method of securing new business, even if they actually lose money on the first discounted premium. There is nothing, however, to stop the canny buyer from changing suppliers every year, thus qualifying for an introductory discount each time! Since these discounts often equate to as much as 25% or even 50% of the usual premium, savings on a home insurance policy, which normally costs several hundreds of pounds, can be very substantial.

Many policies are expensive, however, because the homes which are covered represent a greater than average risk. If your home is on a flood plain, or the ground it is built on is soft leading to increased risk of subsidence there is not much you can do about it apart from calling in the removal men and moving home. You can however make your home more secure against possible fire damage by installing smoke detectors and an alarm system which, preferably, should be independently monitored. You could deter burglars by fitting extra security systems such as locks on all windows and strong doors with security features such as peepholes and built in bolts. You could join, or even set up, a neighbourhood watch scheme so that you and your neighbours could keep an eye on each other's homes. Many insurance companies will offer substantial discounts for some or all of these measures, and you will be able to sleep more soundly at night as well!

Buying a home insurance policy online can have its drawbacks however if you are not careful. There is a tendency for people to look for the lowest price for everything but an insurance policy is not the same as a bar of soap or a bag of apples! It is a highly complex and detailed document which spells out rights, benefits and obligations and it is vital that if you buy one without first having professional advice, you make sure that you understand exactly what is covered and, perhaps far more importantly, what is not. There is no point whatsoever in saving a few pounds if you find that sometime in the future you are landed with a huge bill for a mishap which was not covered by your insurance. In other words, don't just look far the lowest price; look for the best value and make sure that you read through the policy before buying it. Good hunting!


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