Here, we’ve compiled a list of the top five questions we recommend you ask when buying home insurance to ensure you get the right cover at a reasonable price.
How much cover do I need?
The right amount of cover is key – too much and you could be overpaying on your premium, too little and your home may not be adequately protected. If you think that your policy could be doing either of these, then it’s worth speaking to a professional who can actually give you advice based on your circumstances. They can help you identify your needs, provide you with advice and complete insurance quotes for products based on your personal requirements. In terms of buildings insurance, you’ll most likely be asked for the rebuild cost of your home, which is different to its market value. The rebuild cost is the amount it would cost to completely rebuild your home if it was destroyed beyond repair. Therefore, this shouldn’t be undervalued as your insurer will use your rebuild cost to calculate your claim – should the worst happen.
The easiest way to calculate the appropriate level of contents cover is to walk around each room in your home and add up the value of all the contents – including outdoor furniture and belongings in garages or sheds.
What's covered as standard?
A standard buildings and contents policy should cover your home's structure and your belongings against perils such as fire, flood damage and theft at a minimum. However, every home and insurer are different, so it’s vital to check if any aspects of your home would be considered non-standard or if there are exclusions in the policy that could leave you without the cover you require.
What are my policy limits?
A sum insured is the maximum your insurer will pay out if you claim on your buildings and/or contents. Most policies will have a single-item limit, which is the most an insurer will pay for one item. If the value of an item such as art or jewellery exceeds this set value, then you need to register the item individually. Always check the policy details to ensure that your valuables don’t exceed the overall limit.
What's my excess?
When claiming you’ll be required to contribute towards the cost of a claim, this is called an excess. The insurer may ask for this upfront before they continue with the claim, or they may reduce the amount they pay for a claim by the excess amount. Insurers may differ in their approach so it’s important to check with them when making a claim. The amount differs between insurers and different sections of your policy may also have different excess levels. It’s important to know where you stand so you can be confident you can afford to pay it should you need to claim.
Am I covered for accidental damage?
Accidents happen – that’s just part of life. What matters is that you’re covered when they do. Adding accidental damage to buildings insurance would provide cover for unintentional damage to your property, such as putting a nail through a pipe when putting a picture on the wall or putting a foot through the ceiling when up in the loft. Accidental damage cover on contents insurance provides cover for a range of unintentional events, such as spilling paint or red wine on your couch.
Armed with these questions, you can improve the home insurance buying process for both you and your adviser. All parties can feel confident that the right policy is in place, and you can enjoy your home safe in the knowledge that you’re not going to be left at financial risk. Your adviser will also be aware of remortgage dates and renewal dates for your insurance, so be sure to ask them to get in touch when they are due. Your adviser will be able to tweak quotes and applications over time for you as you grow into your home , ensuring you always have the best cover in place for you and your needs.
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