Savvy Britain


Home Insurance

Get Cheap House Insurance Quote, Deals, Tricks and Tips

Home InsuranceIn Britain, there’s around 28 million residential properties, if you’re in the market for purchasing new home insurance it’s extremely important you get the right policy for your requirements.

This helpful guide has been created to help members of the British public learn more about home insurance, find useful hints and money saving tips.

Typically, UK home insurance consists of two types of policy, these are building cover and contents cover. You can purchase either of these policies as an individual plan or as a combined insurance covering the two.

Before you agree to any quote you need to consider which type you need. For peace of mind most people opt for a combined policy, so both the property and the belongings inside are insured in the event of being stolen, damaged or destroyed.

Just like other forms of insurance, you need read all of the insurers terms and conditions carefully. You also need to read all of the policy documentation too. You should not sign or agree to any quote until you’re 100% happy and understand exactly what it does and doesn’t cover.


Types of Home Insurance Cover

Before purchasing any house insurance, you need to decide what type of cover will best suit your requirements. You can purchase contents insurance or building insurance separately or part of a combined home insurance. Let’s find out what they mean:

  • Contents Insurance – Generally contents cover will protect against the loss of your belongings that are kept inside your home. Typically, this means all of your furniture, household goods, kitchen equipment such as freezers, cookers, electrical items and personal items. On most good policies, you should find that contents insurance will cover against accidental damage, water leaks, fire, vandalism and theft. Typically, you will be asked to ‘estimate’ the value of the goods in your home, this gives the insurance company an idea of how much it would cost to replace any goods. It also helps them to calculate a quote for you. You should always read all of the documentation of a policy before you sign. Some insurers may have ‘exceptions’ for items they might not cover as standard. Equally some insurers may also not ‘pay out’ if a theft has occurred by leaving a door unlocked or a ground floor window open. As each insurance company is different, you will need to read all of the small print so you know exactly what is and isn’t covered.
  • Buildings Insurance – As content cover protects your belongings inside of the property, building cover protects the physical property itself. On most policies, this will also include ‘permanent’ fixtures such as glass in doors and windows. It should also include inside of the home too such as ‘fitted kitchens’ and bathrooms. Generally building insurance will cover damaged caused by theft, flood, fire, storms or malicious damage. When searching for a policy you should keep in mind of outbuildings such as sheds, garages or greenhouses. Most ‘good’ insurance companies will cover these as part of the buildings cover as standard. Equally you should also purchase a policy, which includes damage to underground cables and pipes as standard too. Remember if you’re renting a property then buildings insurance should be the responsibility of the landlord, you typically will only need to worry about purchasing contents insurance for your personal belongings.
Typically, if you own your home, it’s better to try and get a combined insurance policy, which has both contents and building cover.

An important element most people ‘overlook’ is cover for their contents outside of the home. Sometimes contents cover can offer protection against this as standard, however most don’t. Some insurance companies will allow for this to be added to a policy, however there’s usually an additional fee involved. Typically, if you can find a policy, which includes content cover outside of the home as standard, this should certainly be considered.

Protection outside of the home can be great for personal items such as mobile phones, laptops, bicycles, jewellery and so on. Should they get stolen or damage while away from the house; they can be expensive to replace.

Remember that it’s always a good idea to ‘shop around’ for competitive quotes. This includes the use of Internet comparison websites and going to insurers directly using their own website.
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Exclusions and Limitations

With all forms of insurance there is nearly always limitations to the policy, this means should an event happen because of a specific reason your insurance provider may not ‘pay out’ if you make a claim.

For example, this can include the following:
  • Damaged Fence due to high winds or a storm
  • Loss, theft or damage due to terrorism
  • Flooding caused by a burst street pipe
While these are just examples, it gives you a basic idea of some of the exclusions an insurance company may include. That’s why you should always check all of your documents to make sure you fully understand what exclusions are included as part of your policy.

Remember that all insurers have different sets of rules and criteria; you may find that exclusions will vary massively depending on which insurance company you choose.


House Emergency Cover v Home Insurance

Many people get confused between Home Emergency Cover and Home Insurance. Emergency home cover protects against things going wrong such as electrics, plumbing and heating.

Typically, the best way to think of emergency cover is it protects the ‘vital’ services of a home. You can purchase Home Emergency cover as part of Home Insurance or as a stand-alone plan. It’s a little bit like car breakdown cover, some people with have it included in their car insurance, while others won’t.

Equally it’s important to remember that if your insurance policy doesn’t include emergency cover as standard, you don’t have to use your current insurance provider. You can shop around for the best deal and use another company if you want.

Decent Home Emergency Cover will include:
  • Boiler Breakdown
  • Cover for Central Heating
  • Plumbing Issues
  • Drain Problems
  • Electrical Failure
  • Roof Damage
  • Cover for External Doors and Windows
You may also find that some emergency policies might cover other things too, such as appliance breakdown cover, pest control and lost keys. This will vary however depending on the insurance provider.

Typically, if you’re budget allows it’s better to try and purchase a home insurance policy, which includes emergency cover as standard.

If you decide not to include emergency cover you may find that your home insurance premium will be cheaper, however should the unthinkable happen you might find yourself in a difficult situation. As we all have different circumstances and requirements, only you can decide what you do and don’t need.

Just like most insurance plans, home emergency cover might have limitations and exclusions attached to the insurance agreement. You should check what your insurance provider defines as an ‘emergency’.

Sometimes you may find a ‘blocked toilet’ will only be considered an emergency if there’s only one in the property. Should there be two or three toilets in your home, an insurer will generally not ‘pay out’ should you make a claim under these circumstances.

Equally you should also check if there’s a ‘time period’ before the policy starts. In some cases, this can mean you cannot make a claim within the first 14 days of the policy start date. In addition to this, you should also look to see if there’s a limit on the number of ‘call out’s’ you can make. If there is a limit, you should also make sure there’s no additional charges attached, should you go over the agreed amount.

Remember if you’re renting a property you typically do not need emergency home cover, this should be the responsibility of the landlord. However, for your own peace of mind, check all of the rental documentation and terms and conditions so you know exactly what you’re liable for.

House Insurance – Frequently Asked Questions

Think you know all about house insurance? Why not take a look at this superb list of frequently asked questions so you understand exactly what home cover can do for you. This may help you get cheap home insurance at the right level for your needs.
  • What’s Home Insurance? Home Insurance protects your property and the contents inside, in the event of an accident, fire, theft or damage. Most insurance company’s provider two different types of house cover; this is contents insurance and building insurance. You can purchase either as separate cover on their own, or both together as a combined package. In Britain, most people will purchase them both together.
  • What’s Building Insurance? Building insurance is designed to cover the structure of a property; this usually includes permanent fixtures and fittings on the inside too. Such as fitted kitchens and bathrooms.
  • What’s Contents Cover? Contents Insurance will cover your personal belongings against theft, loss or accidents. This can include valuables to such as Jewellery. Some insurers may cover for personal possessions ‘away’ from the home as well. However, you will need to read all of your policy documentation to see if this applies to you or not.
  • I Work from Home, does this Affect Home Insurance? If you work from home you should always inform your home insurance provider as this may affect your policy. Depending on what type of work this involves you may have to pay an additional fee so you’re protected. If you’re working from a home office this generally will not have any affect on your premium. However, as every insurer is different, you will need to speak to your provider to confirm this. Typically, premiums are increased if you have business visitors or somebody coming over to your home to ‘work’. While nobody can say for certain whether your home insurance will be affected from business use, by not telling your insurance company you could invalid your policy all together. As home working is quite common these days, most insurers will have their own criteria on what is and isn’t acceptable. So the best thing you can do is give your insurance company a call today!
  • What’s Accidental Damage Cover? Accidental damage typically protects against accidents, which happen in the home. This generally refers to paint spilt on a carpet, hitting a pipe or a picture being broken. You will find ‘exclusions’ with accidental cover, most providers will not insure for damaged caused by pets for example. You need to read all of the policy documentation so you’re fully aware of what is and isn’t covered.
  • What’s Subsidence? In most cases subsidence relates to the property’s foundations. Subsidence happens when the foundations start to ‘sink’ due to movement of the nearby earth. Subsidence can be costly to put right, so most insurers will certainly want to know if this affects your home or not.
  • How to Tell What Year my Home was Built? Generally you should be able to find this information on your mortgage valuation or a pervious survey of the property.
  • Is a Garage Considered a Room? Typically no it’s not. Usually only a conservatory is classed as a room as these tend to be ‘connected’ to the house. Equally a shed is also not usually considered to be a room.
  • How to Tell if my Property is a Listed Building? In Britain, a listed building is always placed on the ‘Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest’. If you’re in England or Wales you should search the National Heritage List to see if your property is listed. If you’re in Scotland or Northern Ireland you should contact your local authority for more information.
  • What’s Home Emergency Cover? Emergency home cover differs from home insurance as it only offers protection against vital services in your property. This typically relates to central heating systems, electrical failure and plumbing. The best way to think about home emergency cover is in a similar manner to car breakdown cover. Generally it’s a good idea to purchase a policy which already has it included as standard, however you can buy it from someone other than your insurance company if you want to.
  • How to Get Cheaper Home Insurance? Typically the best way to get a cheaper home insurance policy is to consider the voluntary excess amount and your home security. These also a few other ways too, check out our how to save money on home insurance section below for more information.

How to Save Money on Home Insurance Today

Read through all of our top money saving tips today. Everybody wants to save money on home insurance and our fantastic tricks and tips section could be ideal for you. Remember finding a cheap home insurance quote shouldn’t be too difficult, if you follow some of these useful ideas.
  • No Claims Discount – While this may not help with a new policy it’s certainly something to think about for the future. If you don’t make a claim on your policy agreement you can easily build up a no claims discount with each passing year. This means when it’s time for renewal you should see a decent discount on your insurance amount.
  • Voluntary Excess – Just like other forms of insurance, if your budget allows it can be a good idea to opt for a higher voluntary excess amount. Typically when most people do this, it means that they usually receive a lower premium price. Remember though, you should never opt for an amount you can’t afford. Voluntary excess needs to be paid before you receive any money from an insurance claim.
  • Home Security – Theft and break-ins can be a common problem in the UK. Generally most insurance providers will look at the level of security your home currently has. They will use this information to calculate the correct premium price for your situation. Usually they will look at things such as security lighting, windows opened by keys, locks on all external doors, burglar alarms, CCTV and so on. For some people it can be a good idea to install extra security features before they start looking for insurance policies. This can help to keep prices lower, however it’s important to remember that any savings you may make, might not cover the installation and price of the security features you add to your home. As all insurance policies are calculated based on unique circumstances, it’s up to you, to decide if adding more security is worth it or not for your needs.
  • Your Location – Unfortunately the area your property is located in, will have an affect on your premiums. This is because insurers will take into consideration whether the area has a high crime rate, a history of flooding or subsidence, the construction type of the building and if it’s listed. It goes without saying low-crime areas are more likely to enjoy lower premiums when compared to high crime locations.
  • Maintenance – It can be a good idea to keep ‘on top’ and maintain your property when an issue occurs. This can range from fixing a broken roof tile, guttering, burst pipes and so on. By attempting to avoid unwanted incidents you should see a decrease in your premiums, as you’re unlikely to make a claim compared to a property, which is in a state of disrepair.
  • Smoke Alarms – Typically you should always have at least one smoke alarm in your property for each floor. This is not only for your own safety, it can also benefit your pocket when it comes to getting insurance. In the UK a lot of house fires are usually the result of smoking or cooking, this is why most insurers ask if you’re a smoker. By having fire alarms already fitted into your property, you’re highlighting to the insurer you’re a responsible homeowner. Remember if you do smoke, don’t hide this fact from the insurance company. If a fire does occur and the provider finds out you’ve lied, your entire policy could be invalid.
  • Neighbourhood Watch – Believe it or not, some insurance companies look favourably on homeowners who are part of a neighbourhood watch scheme. Some insurers will offer a discount on your home insurance quote based on this. Generally it indicates to providers that your area is ‘less likely’ to be targeted by theft as a community protection scheme is in operation.
  • Optional Extras – Most policies will include extra features such as legal expenses, home emergency cover, gadget insurance, accidental damage and so on. It’s up to you to decide whether or not you need these types of things on your policy. As we all have different needs and requirements, nobody can say what you should and shouldn’t have. Typically most home insurance quotes will offer a wide range of extras such as these, so remember if they don’t apply to your needs, don’t include them as part of your policy. In the long run they will increase your premium and there’s no point in paying for something you might never use.
  • Pay Annually – If your budget allows, paying for house insurance annually can see a decent saving across the policy duration. Typically most people pay on a monthly basis and there’s nothing wrong in doing that. However if you can afford too, by paying in one go you should generally see a ‘discount’ of a month or two’s worth being taken off your policy amount. If you don’t have the funds available at the bank today, some people use a 0% credit card to pay the annual amount in one go. The idea is to pay the credit card debt off each month; in the similar way you would make a monthly payment. However it’s important to remember that you need to ‘clear’ the debt of the card before the interest free period ends, otherwise you may end up paying more in the long run if interest is added.
  • Administration Charges – Many people fail to realise that insurers may huge amounts of money from administration charges. These ‘hidden’ fees can be easily to overlook, however shopping around for a deal without admin charges might pay off in the long run. Sometimes over the duration of the policy you may want to add or remove certain features of your agreement. Every time you make a change the insurer usually charges a standard admin fee. This can range from £10 to £50 depending on the company. Generally speaking ‘good’ insurers will allow you to make changes for free. Some may stipulate that a certain number will be free, before a standard charge gets applied with each change. For example if this is the case, the first three changes might be free, then every policy change after that might incur a standard administration fee of £20. The key is to get a policy, which either has admin charges for free as standard or as low as possible.
  • Business Use – If you use your home as part of a business you will need to inform your insurance company. This can include working from a garage, shed or home office. Typically most insurers will not have an issue with this circumstance, however others may increase premiums if you’re constructing objects or using flammable materials.
  • Compare Quotes – It goes without saying the best way to obtain cheap home insurance quotes is to shop around. You should use every possible avenue available to you. This includes price comparison websites, individual company websites, phoning companies up and so on. The more quotes you have the better idea of what level of cover you want to purchase. Remember to only cover what you need, as you could end up with higher premiums for things you might not even use!
  • Insurance Brokers – This is often an overlooked way of obtaining the right type of cover for you needs. Brokers will typically compare a wide range of different insurers on your behalf. Generally this method can be ideal for people who have a unique home or set of circumstances. However, it’s important to remember that the brokers will only be able to get quotes from the insurance companies they deal with. This means they are limited to some degree, but in the right situation can certainly offer an alternative to mainstream providers.
  • Phone Companies – Even though this can be time consuming process compared to online comparison websites, actually phoning insurance companies can pay off big time. It means you can easily haggle to decrease your premium and explain any unique circumstances, which may be hard for a computer to understand.

Original Publication: 3 July 2017
Last Updated: 3 July 2017

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