Getting your home and contents insurance just right is good for your peace of mind. Assessing the value of contents is a time consuming job, and the more valuables you have, the greater care you need to take in making sure that you don’t underestimate the cost of replacing the item. The key to insuring your contents with confidence it seems, is to ‘insure smarter.’ So, with the help of one of Staysure’s insurance experts I’ve put together some top tips you can refer to when the time comes to renew your policy.
The ‘no claims’ reward
When you apply for or renew a policy, don’t forget to highlight the fact that you haven’t made a claim, if that is indeed the case. Insurers reward clients who haven’t made a claim and should give you a discount on the annual cost of your policy. Also, if you are considering making a single claim for a small item, it may be of more value to you not to make the claim and hold on to your “no claims discount’ instead.
Know what is covered
Ask your insurer exactly what is covered and what is not. Put together a list of items you’re unsure about. For example, a Staysure survey discovered that 14% of respondents were unaware that their personal belongings could be covered by their home contents policy when they are travelling abroad. So, check with your provider – you may be covered already and don’t need to pay for more.
Are you well covered?
The Association of British Insurers estimates that at least 1 in 5 homes in the UK is under-insured. We often forget that we are constantly acquiring new things. Did you get a Nespresso for Christmas? What’s the cost of replacing it? The highly organised amongst us probably have an Excel sheet for tracking purchases throughout the year, and that is an excellent approach to take. However, for those of us who are less orderly, when it is time to renew the policy, at least write down the following headings on a sheet of paper and try to recollect what you have bought and what you paid for them. Check online if you can’t remember prices. I suggest the following headings:
- Clothes and jewellery
- Electronic equipment and gadgets incl. computers
- Gardening equipment
- New furniture and carpets
- Freezer contents
With jewellery and items such as antiques or art, don’t forget that their values may increase each year and you probably need a professional valuation for them. Also, you may need to itemise them separately in your policy. And don’t forget to keep receipts for any items you want to cover, because the insurer may want to see one in the event of a claim. Freezer contents are worth considering if you live in an area where power cuts and/or flooding are an occurrence. It’s also useful to have these covered in case you are on holiday when there’s a problem.
Increase your security
Installing an alarm, fitting five lever mortice locks on external doors and double bolts on windows, fitting outside lighting and joining your Neighbourhood Watch could reduce your premiums. Marking any items with a UV pen is another helpful way to show an insurer that you are taking positive action to protect your belongings. A kit costs as little as £6.99.
If you look around you may find that some insurers give you a nice discount when you buy a combined building and contents policy. Another advantage of having combined cover is that if there is any doubt over which policy covers a claim, there’s no question of arguments over it between insurers because you have umbrella coverage.
Add to your excess
Increasing your excess payment level decreases your premium. Experiment on an online application form to see by how much you can adjust your excess payment to have an effect on your total policy cost. Of course, don’t do this unless you feel that you will be able to pay the excess comfortably in the event of a claim.
Insuring smarter does take time, but the investment you make in doing it thoroughly will buy you lower insurance premiums and peace of mind – and feeling safe is something that not even an insurer can put an exact price on.