Insurance – How to choose the right cover
Property Insurance Blog site 22nd March 2009
Finance magazine “Spring
Ideas” arrived in my letter box a few days ago.
is an interesting article on making sure that your property is fully protected.
It is full of useful tips and advice illustrated below. The article reminds us
about the floods of 2007 that could easily happen again and that there are currently
more than 1.7 million UK homeowners without buildings insurance and one in four
households has no contents insurance. Many of those who do have contents insurance
underestimate the value of what they own by an average £9,000!
when money is tight as it in the present climate, it can be tempting to cut costs
on insurance. Malcolm Tarling of the ABI (The Association of British Insurers)
has reminded consumers that by underinsuring could have serious consequences as
you would not have enough money to replace belongings.
article with the ABI’s input lists four main points to consider:
Chose the policy on the level of cover it provides –
not just on price. The cheapest option can be false economy.. Read the policy
carefully before you buy so you know exactly what you’re covered for and what
Make sure the sum insured is adequate for your needs.
This will be the most the insurer will pay out if everything you own is totally
destroyed so it will be up to you to make sure its is enough. For buildings it
should be the full cost of rebuilding your home and of course remember this is
not the same as market value. You can use the ABI’s online calculator to work
out the right sum (Visit
for total peace of mind consider choosing a policy that offers unlimited buildings
cover. When arranging contents, the sum should be enough to replace all the possessions
inside your home form carpets and clothes to TV’s audiovisual equipment to kitchen
appliances. The ABI say that as a guide the average home currently has around
£38,000 worth of contents, however to work out the amount for an individual home,
you need to list all your own belongings – quite a task. The ABI have produced
a leaflet entitled “Is your Home Underinsured” and you can download this at (abi.org.uk)
Consider whether you need extra cover. Ask yourself
whether you should pay an additional premium for accidental damage cover. Check
the exclusions carefully as not all policies will cover mishaps such as damage
to soft furnishings or damaged caused by botched DIY or pets. Also consider whether
you need to add personal belongings cover to protect expensive items like jewellery,
laptops and mobile phones when they are not at your home.
Shop around for the best deal. Malcolm Tarling of the ABI says that different
insurers specialize in different risks, so you will need to look at the options
from insurance brokers to online and high street insurance providers so that you
make sure you get the right cover at the right price. He also goes on to remind
the consumer that some insurers may charge extra if you want to spread the cost
of payments and pay monthly. He also says that you shouldn’t be afraid to switch
providers, because even if your policy is not due for renewal for a few months,
if you find the right offer it can pay to switch early.
these very interesting points provided by the ABI the Sainsbury’s Finance “Spring
Ideas” article provided a very useful “Policy checklist”
- Remember that the cheapest quote doesn’t always offer the most comprehensive
cover: check policy exclusions and excesses carefully.
- Check the sums
insured to make sure they’re adequate for your needs.
- Check whether the
policy offers new for old cover, or makes a deduction for wear and tear.
single item limits and whether you can cover high-value items.
whether you need optional extras, such as extended accidental damage cover.
Check whether the policy offers an automatic seasonal increase in contents cover
over the Christmas period.
- Check whether the policy offers a no claims
discount – and if so how it works and whether you can protect it.
whether there is an extra charge if you want to pay by monthly direct debit.
check whether there’s a discount if you buy combined buildings and contents cover.
is a very good aide memoir for anyone looking for home insurance. I was interested
to see the point about checking about “a no claims discount” Karen Preston who
is Head of Customer Development stated in her “Welcome” on page 3 that “Have you
ever wondered why no-claims discounts are the norm for car insurance – but not
when you buy home insurance? In fact one in four home insurance policies fails
to offer a no-claims discount, which means customers are missing out on potentially
huge savings. What’s more, of those insurers who do offer a discount, 74% provide
no details on how it works, making it difficult for customers to understand their
thinks this is unfair and has issued a challenge to other providers to make their
policies on no-claims discounts less confusing”
will be interesting to know how they get on and what type of reaction they get.
No doubt in organization like the ABI or British Insurance Brokers' Association
(BIBA) get involved on behalf of the industry there will be more weight for such
you don’t forget to take out your property
insurance whether you are an owner occupier, or renting or letting.
Insurance is one essential you can’t afford to be without today.
Philip Suter of jml Property Services March 2009
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