Home Insurance – Getting The Basics Right

Home insurance is a product almost everybody buys based on price. The cheapest policy is the best for me, right? Sometimes yes, but more often than not, no. It’s all about getting the cover you need for the right price – Value For Money. This means getting the very basics right in the first instance

The best way to do this is to talk to an expert, someone who can tell you exactly what you would be able to claim for and what you wouldn’t. An expert should be able to talk you through the small print in plain English, and if they can’t, then you’re not talking to the right person. At Home Shield we realise that it is important to offer you the correct cover and we are happy to spend time talking you though this to make sure you know what you are buying.

Lets briefly take a look at the basics:.

There are 2 types of Home Insurance, Buildings Insurance and Contents Insurance. Buildings Insurance is cover for the structure of your home, your fixtures & fittings and any outbuildings you may have. Contents Insurance covers your household possessions. Whether you are buying these policies separately or combined they always cover what is known as ‘Major Perils’ as standard. They are
§ Fire, smoke, explosion, lightening or earthquake.
§ Riot, civil commotion, labour or political disturbance or strike.
§ Malicious damage, vandalism, theft or attempted theft.
§ Storm or flood.
§ Impact or collision.
§ Subsidence or heave
§ Escape of water or oil

So if all of these are covered what else could you possibly claim for? The short answer is an awful lot. There are several items of additional cover you may wish to consider.

Accidental Damage
This is damage that you may cause yourselves accidentally. This can be anything from your children kicking a ball through your window to leaving a tap running in your bathroom and damaging everything you own. This seems extreme but it does happen and without Accidental Damage you may end up losing most, if not all, of what you own.

Personal Possessions Cover
This is sometimes referred to as Personal Belongings. It is possible to cover items you take out and about with you on your home insurance. Good examples what you can claim for are cameras and laptops, which are frequently dropped or stolen away from home. It could even be that your wallet or handbag is stolen. With Personal Possession Cover on your policy you can be compensated for this.

Home Emergency Service
This is not available on all insurance polices, and invariably when it is, it normally costs extra. This is a 24-hour service that covers you for standard home emergencies. For example a burst pipe in the middle of the night, or on certain policies your gas boiler breaking down. Although this sounds like a great service to have, and indeed it can be, it is best to speak to your insurance provider to see what restrictions apply. There is usually a limit per claim of around £250 and anything over this cost you would have to pay yourself. Also some companies will only put you in touch with the tradesmen and not pay for the work they do. Always speak to your provider first to make sure you are happy with what they are offering.

Family Legal Protection
Also known as Legal Expenses Cover. This covers costs to pursue or defend specified personal legal actions. A prime example of this could be wrongful dismissal from work. Although this is generally quite inexpensive to add to a policy again it is best to speak to your provider to see what is, and more importantly, what isn’t covered. Some restrictions to bear in mind are that there is normally a limit per claim of around £25,000 to £50,000 and you would not be able to claim for anything to do with your car as this falls under your motor insurance

That is the basics covered but to make things a little easier when you arrange your insurance bear the following 7 points in mind:

§ Make sure your Buildings are adequately covered for a FULL rebuild cost, this can generally be found on your Buildings Survey. This is always a requirement of your mortgage.
§ Make sure you have enough contents insurance to cover ALL of your possessions. If you intentionally under-insure yourself trying to keep costs down you may find that your insurance company will not honour any claims.
§ On your contents insurance make sure your ‘Single Article Limit’ is enough for your most valuable item. If not you will have to specify this item/s on your policy to make sure you are covered.
§ Do you need to cover yourself for Accidental Damage?
§ Would you like to cover your items away from home, Personal Possessions Cover?
§ Do you need cover for legal expenses in the form of Family Legal Protection?
§ Would you like to cover yourself for a Home Emergency?

Also two last tips to leave you with
§ Often it is more cost effective to buy the Buildings and Contents Insurance under one policy, most insurers will offer you discounts for doing this.
§ Rather than buying online, speak to an expert adviser. Some policies that you can buy online have far too many restrictions and are trying to lure you in with a very cheap price. For the sake of a phone call, which is normally provided free, it is best to make sure.

Lastly remember that getting Value For Money is far better than getting the cheapest policy available. Don’t put your home, your family and everything you own at risk for the sake of saving a few pounds, you could end up losing everything.


Author's Bio: 

I have 9 years experience in the Insurance sector and co owner of an Insurance Company based in the UK.