How to beat rising home insurance

16 September 2011

The cost of home insurance is set to increase over the next few months but taking a few simple measures now you can help keep premiums to a minimum.

Households benefited from falling home insurance premiums over the first half of the year, according to MoneySupermarket's inaugural Home Insurance Monitor. However, over the last few months that trend seems to be reversing and price increases are expected.

Julie Fisher, head of home insurance at said: "The cost of insuring homes in the UK, while decreasing slightly last year, seems to be steadily on the increase again.  Despite this, home insurance remains superb value for money. For as little as £0.42 per day, the cost of your daily paper, you can enjoy the peace of mind that your most valuable asset is protected.  Unfortunately for consumers, things are forecast to get worse, with the increases we are starting to see come through in prices unlikely to slow in the coming years'.

"The threat of flooding continues to loom large over many UK properties, and coupled with incidents like the recent spate of riots across the UK it is clear there are many influencing factors impacting the cost of home insurance - let alone hikes to the cost of raw materials that impact on the rebuild value of a property and therefore buildings insurance. Although it's doubtful the percentage rise in home insurance premiums will match that of car premiums, I wouldn't be surprised if we get to 'double digit' percentage increases overall in the near future."

Here, we take a look at what you can do to keep your home insurance premiums as low as possible without sacrificing cover.

Shop around

Never just accept the renewal quote offered by your insurer company, as you may be able to make big savings by shopping around. Insurers base their premiums on different criteria, so while one may offer you an expensive quote, another may see you as lower risk and therefore offer cheaper premiums. The average saving for consumers using MoneySupermarket to buy their home insurance premium is £127.

Install a good home security system

Proving to your insurer that your home is a protected can result in lower premiums. However, check which alarm system your insurer prefers before installing one, as you'll need to have an approved system in order to reduce your insurance costs. The NACOSS standard alarm, for example, can cut premiums with some companies by 7.5%. Installing security lighting is also a good idea as it helps deter burglars.

Think about your cover

Read through your policy and work out which elements of cover are essential and which you can do without. For example, think carefully whether you really need accidental damage cover. This can increase premiums by 25%, so unless you have small children or an unruly pet running around all the time, it may not be worth having.

Don't claim unless you really have to

The fewer the claims, the higher your no claims discount. So for minor issues that would be inexpensive for you to cover with your own cash, think twice before making a claim.

Combine buildings and contents cover

If you take out both your building and contents insurance with the same provider it will put you in a stronger bargaining position, so always ask if there is a discount available if you combine cover.

Join a neighbourhood watch scheme

Sign up to your local neighbourhood watch scheme if there is one, or consider setting one up if there isn't. Let your insurance company know that you are a member of one of these schemes and it could reduce your premiums by up to 5%. 

Change the locks

If you've moved to a new home you never know who might still have a key. It is important to maintain locks. Five-lever mortise locks are recommended for external doors while windows should ideally have two bolt locks. If you don't have adequate locks in place then this could bump up the cost of your cover.

Increase your excess

Home insurance policies come with a compulsory excess, which is the amount you have to pay towards any claim. That means if there is an excess of £200, you would have to pay the first £200 of any claim.

You can choose to pay a voluntary excess, on top of the compulsory excess in order to bring the cost of your premiums down. However, make sure you can afford the total excess in case you do have to make a claim.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.

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