Presuming to offer home insurance tips needs to be done with some caution, since every home and every homeowners needs and circumstances are, of course, quite different. Nevertheless, there are a few basic principles probably worth bearing in mind whether your search is for buildings insurance, contents cover, or both.
- Price – many people might be tempted to go for the lowest price possible. Whilst low-cost home insurance is certainly available, the more important measure – even with such low-cost insurance – is the value for money it offers. This means getting the level of protection for the building itself and all the items that need to be covered for the most competitive price. This, in turn, requires a fine balance between overvaluation and paying too high a price for the premiums – over-insurance – and the probably greater peril of under-estimating the value of your property and its contents in order to pay less in premiums – under-insurance;
- Set-limit cover – some insurers have taken the uncertainty out of this balancing act by offering set-limit cover on both buildings and contents insurance. High on the list of home insurance tips, therefore, might be the opportunity of avoiding the risks of over- or under-insurance by choosing the set-limit option. These competitively priced policies typically provide all the cover you need up to an agreed limit on either buildings or contents (for example, up to £1 million on the building and £60,000 on the contents, for example). If this is the chosen option, however, one of the most important home insurance tips is to be certain that rebuilding and contents replacement costs do not exceed the insured limits;
- What’s covered? – if one of the more important home insurance tips is about value for money, then the question of good value is about the extent of cover offered. With respect to buildings insurance, for example, there are likely to be variations between policies in the range of risks – and potential catastrophes – covered. If the very worst does happen and the building becomes uninhabitable, it is worth checking how much compensation (if any) is available for renting alternative accommodation until your home has been properly reinstated or rebuilt.
The extent of cover is perhaps even more variable when it comes to contents cover. Is it an “all risks” policy, for example, that maintains cover even when your possessions or personal effects are out of the house itself whilst you are on your travels? Does the policy include cover for any sheds in your garden and the tools and equipment they might contain? Some policies even extend cover the garden plants themselves;
- Students – it’s good to know that insurers have spared a thought or two for the particular needs and circumstances of students. With a computer and other electrical gadgets, or maybe an expensive musical instrument in their care, it is not so difficult to see how home insurance tips apply to students, too. The particular circumstances of student accommodation – very often in a house shared with others – however, mean that it is almost impossible to exercise very much control over just who might have access to the shared areas of accommodation. Contents insurance plans for students’ possessions and effects, therefore, is sometimes restricted to those kept in their own, lockable, bedroom or self-contained apartment.