15 Ways to Buy Home Insurance
Home building and contents insurance is a necessary expense for every home owner because of the possibility of accidental damage to your property. Once you have purchased home insurance, you can be secure in the knowledge that, in case of accidental damage to the building or its contents, you can make a claim to replace your home.
Learn how to reduce the annual expense on insurance premiums so that you can maximize the value of your policy. Here are some helpful tips:
- Pay your insurance premiums annually. It is more convenient and cheaper than paying in 12 monthly installments. Insurance firms levy extra administrative expenses for monthly payments.
- When estimating the home value for the purpose of insurance premium calculation, do not include the value of the land. The land does not suffer damage and so there is not need to insure for that value. Just calculate the value of the building using standard practices for insurance purposes.
- A basic building policy is cheaper than one with all insurance extras. If you don’t need them, ask the company for only a basic policy. This will save you 25% on insurance premiums.
- Choose to pay a larger voluntary excess amount. All home insurance policies have a compulsory excess. This is the amount you contribute towards any claim. If the excess is fixed as 500 pounds it means you have to pay the first 500 pounds before the insurance pays the rest of the claim amount. The voluntary excess is in addition to the compulsory amount. By opting to pay up to an arranged voluntary excess, you can bring down the premium amount. Make this commitment only if you can afford the total excess, in case you have to make a claim.
- Make your home safe by adding security features such as burglar alarms, anti-theft features and closed circuit TV. Buy products approved by the insurance firm in order to qualify for a discount on your insurance premium. Some of the features can earn you discounts of 7.5 percent.
- Choose 5-lever mortise locks for external doors. Windows should have two bolt locks. If the house has been in use by other parties before you moved in, change locks on the door. Join neighborhood security schemes and install security lighting that spotlights unwelcome visitors in the night. These measures can help lower your premium by nearly 5 percent.
- Avoid making trivial claims in order to qualify for a no-claims discount. Using these discounts over five years, you can bring down your premium by 50 percent.
- Use time-controlled switches that turn on and off at specific times and give the impression that you are at home. This helps deter burglars. Cancel milk and newspaper subscriptions for the period of your vacation so that unopened bottles or letters aren’t cluttering up your porch. Don’t leave extra keys under the door mat or under the flower pot. Don’t leave keys hanging close to your doors and windows. Burglars are good at passing a hook through a letter box to take out the key and let themselves in.
- Install fire safety devices like smoke alarms in all the rooms. Check that they are working every 2 weeks. Replace the worn out batteries. Don’t turn-off the alarms for any reason. Electrical wiring faults cause many fires. Periodically get them checked for any defects. Switch off any unused devices and appliances at night. Be careful when cooking. Don’t leave any pans unattended. Put out naked flames and cigarette butts to prevent accidental fires.
- When water freezes it expands. This causes water pipes to burst and is the biggest cause for insurance claims. Insulate water pipes to prevent freezing in winters.
- If you are going away on a long vacation, turn off the water mains at the valve. Shut down water flow from the header tank. Even if a water pipe should burst, the leak will be minimized. You may even ask a friend to periodically check on your home.
- If you live close to a lake or river and there is danger of flooding, take steps to minimize the damage. Sign up for the early flood warning scheme and follow the advice of the Environment Agency to protect your home in case of flood.
- If you live in areas where the soil is soft or has problems of subsidence you need to extra watchful. If the soil moves, homes can develop cracks. Contact your insurer and try to fix the soil problem before it gets any worse.
- Don’t make claims for small repair jobs. Pay the bills out of your savings and build up your no-claims discount.
- Buy your home building insurance and contents insurance from the same firm. Insurance companies want a bigger share of your business and quote a lower price for a combined policy.