Homeowner looking for that little bit of peace of mind that makes all the difference? Well, the good news is you’ve come to the right place folks. In this handy little beginner’s guide we’re going to talk you through everything you need to know about the weird and wonderful world of home insurance.
Because we know the language of the insurance world isn’t for everyone, we are going to keep things short and sweet with plain English every step of the way. Just what you want to hear when it’s time to get things moving without the stress. Enjoy!
What is home insurance?
It’s the natural question to ask, and the answer isn’t as simple as you might think! The issue here is that as well as insuring the property itself, you also need to insure what’s inside. Let’s break this down for a minute…
Home insurance comes in two different types, both of which you need to provide yourself with the peace of mind that only full coverage can give you:
- Buildings Insurance: This is where you insure the structure itself, so things like the roof being damaged in a storm, repair work needed after flooding, and your property facing unexpected subsidence. While this may all sound rather alarming if you’re a first time buyer, it’s worth remembering just how rare these instances are. Then add in that you can protect yourself against them with buildings insurance and you see in an instant why it’s something you don’t want to skip over for the sake of a few extra pounds at the end of the month.
- Contents Insurance: Now that you’ve insured your property, you might be thinking you have everything covered — wrong! What you also need to do is insure everything you own; so things like your phone, TV, jewellery, etc. While two very similar houses on the same street will be able to get very similar coverage in terms of their buildings insurance, the contents insurance can vary significantly. By splitting insurance into these two sub categories, insurers are able to give you custom quotes that take into account how many valuables you have and how much they’re worth.
When you’re comparing home insurance you’ll find that it’s very common for insurance companies to offer you both types as part of a package deal. This can sometimes save you money when compared to taking out two policies from separate insurers. It will also save you time and effort because you’ll typically be able to manage both insurance policies through a single online portal or dashboard. Ideal when you want to take a little bit of the stress out of owning a property and making sure it’s in safe hands at all times.
Now you know what you’re dealing with, it’s time we took a look at who exactly you need to deal with…
How to start comparing home insurance companies
The problem with home insurance is that you won’t typically know someone, or a friend of a friend, who can sort it for you, like you can with things like car repairs and home maintenance. If this is the first time you’re tackling the insurance world, it’s natural to feel a little daunted because you seem to be greeted by a huge number of massive companies, each of which has ads designed to make you feel the urgency and brand names that are largely forgettable. That said, there is a smart way to go about comparing insurance.
Sites like Compare the Market are a great way to see all your options in one place and they’ve really taken off in the digital age. They provide a quick and easy way to assess your options without making half a dozen calls to various insurance companies. Here’s a few quick tips on how to get the most out of these kinds of sites when you’re trying to compare home insurance:
- Get all of your details ready in advance and write them down on a single side of paper, that way you can keep track of specifically what you’re trying to get quotes to insure.
- Do a broad overview first so you can see who the major players in the market are and get a rough idea of how much they’re going to charge you. Sitting and reading the fine print at this stage will just grind things to a halt and drown you in details.
- Pay attention to the recommended services these comparison sites throw at you because they may be the perfect fit for your needs. Don’t pick them blindly, but do add them to your shortlist so you can dive into the details a little later.
Sites like Compare the Market are ideal for comparing home insurance because they allow you to get a big picture overview with the minimum of effort. You can also use filters that allow you to dictate your budget, the specific level of coverage you want and choose options that reward you for no claims. It all helps you understand your options and get a much better idea of what’s out there for you and your family.
Now you know what you’re doing, the basics to look for and how to get started, let’s wrap this up by answering three key questions we get asked all the time…
How much will home insurance cost?
Thought that would be the first question on your lips! Contents insurance will vary significantly depending on how much you want to insure — you can get policies that cover £5,000 of valuables for as little as £15 per month. Buildings insurance will again depend on the size of the property and the level of coverage you want to take out. A typical monthly payment on an average sized terraced house would be in the region of £40 a month.
Are brand names worth it?
Yes, while you might think you’re paying for a name, and in some senses you are, you’re also guaranteeing yourself greater peace of mind. Names like Legal & General have been around for decades and are not going anywhere soon. While startups may try to catch your eye with cheaper deals, when you want to pay for peace of mind, going with a well-established name really is worth paying a little extra for.
Save money on your home insurance
If you want to save yourself money on home insurance, look for package deals that combine buildings and contents insurance. Only pick policies which automatically renew every year so you have extra peace of mind. And look for policies that take into account your age and how long you intend to live at the property.
Now we’ve guided you through all the basics in the world of home insurance, it’s over to you to start putting things into action. Take your time to review any of the definitions and tips above, make some quiet time to weigh up exactly what you want, and then start making connections so you can work through your options. One thing is for sure — the sooner you make a start, the less stress it’s going to cause you. Enjoy your day and good luck.
P.S. If you’re looking into home insurance because you’re moving house, you know exactly who to call to get all of your boxes and furniture from A to B.