Moving house? Get organised...

Published:
12 February 2010
Topic:
News,Broadband,Gas & Electricity,Insurance,Home

It is said that moving home is up there with death and divorce in terms of the stresses that life can throw at you. But if you're organised and plan ahead the stress can be minimised and your move will hopefully be pretty straightforward.

So what do you need to know to ensure your move goes without a hitch?

Closing gaps in bricks and mortar cover

Many people make the mistake of not insuring their new home until the day of completion, but buildings insurance is essential from the time you exchange contracts as this is the point when you become legally responsible for the bricks and mortar of your new home.

You should insure your home for the rebuild, rather than market value. The good news is this is usually lower, so your premium will be cheaper. The level of cover you need should be stated in your survey or mortgage lender's valuation.

If you will have a mortgage on the property, buildings insurance will be a condition of the loan. Kelly Ostler-Coyle at the Association of British Insurers, said: "If the structure of the building was damaged by flood or fire between exchange and completion, you would still be liable for the cost of the mortgage - and potentially left with an uninhabitable property."

Bear in mind also that, if property is going to lie empty for a period of months while being renovated before you move in, you need to inform the insurer.

360 degree contents cover

Unlike buildings insurance, contents cover isn't obligatory but for your own peace of mind it really is a must. If you already have insurance in place, check what the state of play is with regards to the protection you have when your belongings are in transit. Also, remember to inform your insurer of your change of address, otherwise the contents of your home won't be insured in your new property. 

If you are using a professional removal firm to orchestrate the move, it will probably have insurance that protects against loss or damage in transit. A certain level of insurance is often included in the price, typically £20,000, but you can usually extend this for an extra premium if it's not enough and your own insurance doesn't cover your goods in transit.

Readjusting your premiums

Your insurance premium will almost certainly change when you move (this applies to car as well as home insurance). It may go down but it could also be more expensive, so it's worth getting quotes from other insurers to make sure you're on the best deal.

Julie Owens, head of home insurance at moneysupermarket.com, said: "Even if you shopped around before buying your existing home insurance, there's no guarantee that your insurer will still be the cheapest on your new property. It's therefore well worth getting some new quotes, as you may be able to make significant savings by switching to a different provider. Be warned, you may be charged a cancellation fee to get out of your existing policy early, so you'll need to factor this in when working out whether or not it's worth you switching."

The easiest way to find the best deal on your home insurance is to use moneysupermarket.com - it compares premiums from more than 60 home insurance companies and brokers in a matter of a matter of minutes.

Moving administration

There are some important things you need to do in the time between exchange and completion.

Council Tax: Contact your local council to tell them you're moving so they stop charging you Council Tax on your existing property. If your new home is in the same local authority, you can set up your account for that property at the same time. If not, you'll have to make a second call to the relevant council.

Utilities: Inform the local water authority of your moving date and new address.

You should also contact your gas and electricity provider. It's advisable to do this ahead of your moving date but remember to take final meter readings on the day you move out to ensure you are billed correctly.

You will also need to take meter readings at your new home on the day you move in and give them to your provider. Don't just stick with the energy firm that currently provides gas and electricity to the property as you'll probably end up paying its standard prices and miss out on some big savings. You can literally save hundreds of pounds a year by switching energy deal. Online tariffs are usually the cheapest but you can find the best deal easily by using moneysupermarket.com's price comparison tool.

Phone, broadband and TV: Moving home provides the perfect opportunity to ensure you are also getting the best value on your other home services. You must obviously notify your existing provider or providers to make sure your bills stop when you move. If you are tied in to your existing contract you will probably be charged a penalty for cancelling it - this may be worth paying if you can get a better deal elsewhere or by signing up again as a new customer.

Be aware, however, that you are often required to give 31 days' notice to cancel, so don't leave it until the last minute otherwise you could be paying for a service you're no longer using for up to a month. 

However, if your existing deal is a competitive one, you may not want to cancel and switch providers. You will probably be allowed to transfer the service over to your new home without penalty, although you may have to sign up for another 12 or 18 months.

Post redirection: Finally, don't forget to redirect your post. It's advisable to sign up for a redirection service for 12 months in case there are any statements that are only sent annually as you may forget to change your address details on these.

It will take seven working days to set up a redirection service.

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