When you shop around for home insurance, you’ll be asked a lot of questions about your property, your possessions and yourself – and it’s your job to give the right answer.
So we’ve put together a ‘pre-purchase’ guide to home insurance to make the process a bit easier.
Step one: Make a list
Grab a pen and paper and take a walk around your home – this helps you to see what you might need to replace. Look at what your home is made of, the kind of lock on the front door, whether there is an alarm (the dog doesn’t count) and if there is a separate external front door.
If you’re not sure – it’s not always easy to see what the roof is made of, for instance – ask a neighbour if they’ve climbed on the roof to check for their own insurance purposes or check Google Earth to see if your property can be viewed from above.
Don’t forget your belongings. Avoid undervaluing your contents by totting up how much your furniture, electronics, jewellery and other items are worth in total. Our contents calculator will help you keep track of the total – and make sure you haven’t forgotten the curtains or your expensive pots and pans.
Then look at how much your most expensive possessions are worth, individually. A ring or bicycle valued at £500 is likely to be covered under the standard policy, but if they are worth £5,000 you will need to let your insurer know so they can arrange additional cover.
Step two: get personal
Ring around and ask different insurers about their policies. Comparison websites are convenient, but you don’t get an opportunity to chat with a person and ask more in-depth questions.
This will help you to understand:
- How policies differ (and how this impacts on you)
- Which options appeal to your personal attitude to risk (you might realise you are accident prone)
- Where you get value for money for your premium (cheapest is not always best), and
- Where you have special requirements that an insurer needs to know (even if they don’t ask).
Step three: the extras
Decide which level of cover you need and pay attention to the fine print.
- You may have adventurous children and decide that you would like to add accidental damage cover. This would cover permanent marker damage to a sofa, but would you be able to replace the whole suite?
- Do you carry a lot of valuable items, such as a laptop or tablet, when you’re on the move? It may be worth exploring how much is included as standard or if you need to add optional personal possessions cover
- If your home was suddenly flooded by a burst pipe, would your insurer offer you alternative accommodation? If your mum lives nearby, you may not need this feature
- Are you hosting your first family Christmas this year in your new home? You may consider taking additional home emergency cover so you can get help to fix a burst pipe or broken boiler, fast
- Legal assistance insurance can also offer peace of mind.
Step four: it’s your job to check
Finally, once you have purchased your policy, you will be sent policy documents and a schedule with details of you and your property.
When your policy paperwork arrives, don’t shove it in a drawer. Read everything carefully.
Let your insurer know if any detail – no matter how small – is incorrect. Check you’re happy with the level of cover you have chosen and store the documents in a safe, but easy-to-remember location.