A recent study by the Insurance Times noted that premium was not the primary concern of people obtaining home insurance. As opposed to motor insurance, which is still predominantly a price driven market, it seems that people are more concerned about their worldly possessions and the roof over their head and how they can be adequately protected. Once the right cover is there then people focus on the price.
So what seems to be the main areas of concern for people?
Those little extras – Often overlooked are purchases throughout the year. At renewal we lay down our overall sums insured but also specify the items which need to be noted individually (valuables, antiques etcetera). Often insurance policies require you to note specifically items like mobile phones, laptops etcetera and so if these are upgraded during the year and not specified on the policy you could find yourself unable to claim. Bicycles are another perfect example. Most insurers will offer bike insurance free of charge but there will be limits on the value, the number, the activities the cover and the storage so if you are a bit of a cyclist then take a look at the policy wording.
When is a house not a house – The lines between what is buildings and what is contents is often a very blurry line and greyer than John Majors spitting image puppet (quite a niche reference there). As a general rule contents is anything that would fall out if you picked up the property and shook it about. This point is largely not a concern if you are insuring both buildings and contents with the same insurer however if you have separate policies or you only insure one aspect – either the building or the contents – then you might want to check the definitions in the policy wording. Whilst as a leaseholder you might consider buildings to encompass the lovely avocado coloured 1980’s fitted bathroom that was there when you moved in – what happens when you replace that? Are you expecting the freeholder to pick up the cost of your expensive taps and hand carved Moroccan tiles when a claim comes in? Again, please check your policy wording to make sure you are putting the right sums insured in the right box.
Grand Designs? – Many of us, particularly in recent years have elected to extend up, down, sideways rather than move altogether but had we considered the implications of such work. Who is buying the materials – you or the contractor? How is the property secured? Does your contractor insuring the temporary works. Without exception your insurers will need to know that you are having work done on your property and there are always (to varying extents) conditions applicable. Whether it is some light decoration, a small extension or total refurbishment check with your insurer as to what must be done. It is much better to deal with these things in advance rather than pick up the pieces when you find out that there is no cover in place.
Whatever your main concern is it is vital that your home insurance fits with your lifestyle and that you don’t let it become an afterthought but instead a front-line defence in protecting your way of life. If you need more guidance on the above or you want to ask any specific questions whether already our client or not we would love to hear from you. Please call our Personal Lines team on 0845 3315012 to discuss anything insurance related.