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Home Insurance Grab 100+ insurance quotes & cashback

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You can shave £100s off the cost of your home cover in minutes with our home insurance guide.

This is a full guide with tips, tricks and techniques to salsh your buildings and contents cover costs.

What is home insurance?

There are three main home insurance policies: building, contents and combined building & contents cover. Buildings cover protects the structure, the fixtures and fittings in your home; while contents insurance covers your belongings.

Combined buildings & contents cover is only suitable for people who own their homes. If you rent, buildings cover should be handled by your landlord. Contents cover, however, is a policy that everyone should consider.

What is covered?

Included: What's usually protected?

Excluded: What's often left out of cover?

Accidents: What happens if I damage my home or its contents unintentionally?

Outside the home: Will my policy cover my belongings away from the property?

Unoccupied while away: I'll be away from my property for a long time. Am I covered?

Big ticket items: Is there a single item limit?

Homeworkers: I'm working from home. Is my business equipment covered?

What happens if I make a claim?

Excesses: Do I have to pay an excess if I make a claim?

New for old: Will my old goods be replaced with new ones if I have to claim?

Adverse weather: What do I do if there's a flood?

Can I get cover?

Special circumstances: I'm struggling to find cover - what can I do?

Unemployed: What if I am out of work?


Now you know the basics of home cover, follow our step-by-step guide to slashing the cost of your insurance - starting with the need-to-knows.

Step 1: Home insurance need-to-knows

You may have mastered the basics of home insurance. But are you confident you can get the right cover at the right price?

1 Homeowners need buildings cover, but contents is for everyone

The type of cover you need to buy depends on whether you rent or you own your home. Homeowners and landlords usually need both buildings (in fact, it's often a condition of your mortgage agreement) and contents cover, while those who rent typically only need contents cover.

Quick question:

I need both types of cover. Should I buy combined buildings and contents cover?

2 Don't over-cover buildings - rebuild value is what counts

For buildings, a common mistake is to cover the house's market value (the amount it might sell for), instead of the rebuild value - the cost of rebuilding the property if it was knocked down. The key is the cost of materials, labour and architects for your area. However, buildings policies should also cover the cost of somewhere for you to stay while your home's rebuilt or is uninhabitable.

Quick question:

How do I calculate the value of my property?

3 Don't under-cover contents - your claim may be cut

For contents, under-insuring could lead to you getting less than the value of your items if you need when you claim. Add up everything, including smaller items such as clothes, on a 'new-for-old' basis. (See new for old for more.) For example, if you insure £20,000 of possessions when you actually have £40,000, and you need to make a claim, then you'll only have 50% of your contents protected.

Quick questions:

How do I calculate the value of my contents?

What happens if I fail to get the correct cover?

4Better locks pay for themselves

Don't know your five-lever mortice deadlock from your rim automatic deadlatch? Well you should, as getting the right lock on your doors could massively lower your contents premium. Insurers ask what type of lock you have, so you risk invalidating your cover if you put down the wrong type.

Quick questions:

What are the main types of lock?

Which lock is best?

How do locks affect my rates?

Help! I don't know which type of lock I have

5 Tweak your excess to lower your premium

Home insurance policies come with a compulsory excess (the amount you have to pay towards any claim - see excesses for more). If you have an excess of £100, but make a claim for damaged or stolen goods worth £400, your insurer will give you £300.

You can also choose to pay a voluntary excess on top, which will bring the cost of your premium down. The more you pay, the lower your premium will be. You need to be realistic, though. Make sure the total excess is affordable, in case you do have to make a claim.

6Beware monthly repayments, they're really a loan

Pay-monthly options are essentially high-interest loans.

Either pay your premium in full, or if you can't afford to, use a credit card with a low APR (or better, a 0% credit card for spending, ensuring your repayments are large enough to clear it within a year).

Find the APRs of the big insurers

Not all insurers charge the same fees. Here's what some of the big guns charge:

Insurer APR if you pay monthly Insurer APR if you pay monthly
CHEAPEST: First Direct 0% Sainsbury's 20.3%
CHEAPEST: M&S 0% John Lewis 21.1%
Aviva 13.7% RAC 28.6%
Co-operative 18.5% Privilege 28.8%
Asda 19.5% Hastings Direct 29.9%
Churchill 19.9% Axa 31.1%
Prudential 19.9% MOST EXPENSIVE: Endsleigh 39.7%

7 Never auto-renew. Loyalty is expensive

Insurers usually offer the very best deals to new customers, punishing existing customers with higher rates for failing to challenge them. If your renewal's coming up, jot it in your diary. Compare comparison sites and then call your insurer to see if it can match, or even beat, the best quote you found. If they can match or beat, you're quids in.

8Watch Martin's tips on how to choose home insurance

Want to know how to find the best home insurance deal for you? For a five-min lowdown click on this video. which was filmed in partnership with the Telegraph in June 2014.


Step 2: Combine the top comparison sites

Now you know how home insurance works and what to watch out for, it's all about finding the best deal for you.

Comparison sites zip your details to insurers' and brokers' websites, finding the cheapest deals. So be aware they often feed your personal details to insurers. They don't all compare the same companies, so combine them.

We've analysed the comparison sites to find the cheapest results.

Comparison sites: Should I be worried about the security of my data? There aren't usually any issues with the security of the data held by price comparison sites. However, Compare The Market had to review its systems after an investigation revealed a lack of password protection. This meant personal data – including addresses, values of home contents and marital statuses – were all at risk of being accessed. Read more in our news story.

Be aware that comparison sites make many assumptions. When clicking to insurers, check all the info's correct and the policy's suitable. (See How the order's picked.)

Find the best route for you
Open all your top comparison sites

Typical homes

Follow the order below if your home has more than one bedroom and its contents are worth less than £35,000. This is also for policyholders who haven't made a claim in the past five years.

MoneySupermarket

1.Confused.com*Gets a cheap quote 74% of the time (in our sample)

  • Clear option to opt out of telemarketing calls.
  • Images giving examples of the types of locks.
  • The excess can be edited.
  • Limited filtering system if you want to select cover levels.
  • Assumptions are pre-ticked.
Confused

2. + Compare The Market* Increases chances of a cheap quote from sample to 87%

  • Images available when selecting security types.
  • Quotation page shows monthly payments and extras.
  • Confirmation of the quote by email.
  • The quotes on the results page only show the voluntary excess.
  • The marketing opt-out isn't clearly shown.

Compare more comparison sites

Open all your top comparison sites

One-bedroom homes

The more bedrooms you have, the higher the cost of insurance. If rooms in your house were originally used as bedrooms, but you've only ever had them function as studies or games rooms, then don't count them in the number of bedrooms. But never lie about a room's purpose — it's fraud and is illegal.

MoneySupermarket

1.Confused.com*Gets a cheap quote 73% of the time (in our sample)

  • Clear option to opt out of telemarketing calls.
  • Images giving examples of the types of locks.
  • The excess can be edited.
  • Limited filtering system if you want to select cover levels.
  • Assumptions are pre-ticked.
Confused

2. + Compare The Market* Increases chances of a cheap quote from sample to 94%

  • Images available when selecting security types.
  • Quotation page shows monthly payments and extras.
  • Confirmation of the quote by email.
  • The quotes on the results page only show the voluntary excess.
  • The marketing opt-out isn't clearly shown.

Compare more comparison sites

Shared accommodation

Getting insurance for a room in a shared house doesn't need to be expensive, even if you're a student. But you should take extra care to make sure you're getting the correct and most comprehensive cover. If you rent, your landlord's responsible for insuring the buildings, so you only need contents insurance. Follow the steps below to find the right cover.

The problem

  • If you live in a houseshare. Getting cover from mainstream insurers can be tricky. Insurers class you as a higher risk if you share a home with non-family members as they feel the chances of damage, theft or items going missing increase. Students and young professionals in shared houses are most likely to fall into this category.

  • Getting cover as a student. See above, but also, if your parents have home insurance, it may automatically cover you under the 'temporarily removed from the home' section while you're a student.

The solution

Contact a specialist such as Home Protect* or Endsleigh and add AA to the list, which is a broker. You may find it easier going down the route of finding a local broker via BIBA as these will specialise in tailoring a quote for you.

For students, also consider Barclays, HSBC, RBS and NatWest which also provide student contents policies.

What about comparison sites? Though we normally say use comparison sites for your home insurance on this occasion contacting a specialist or local broker is the best option.

Comparison sites can provide online quotes for those in rented rooms or shared accommodation but our research showed if you went down this route, you really need to check, and check again, that the policy that comes out top does meet the cover you need as sometimes it won't due to a glitch in the system.

It's worth checking comparisons to get an indication of cost to compare against a quotation provided by a specialist.

Confused.com*, Compare The Market*, Gocompare* and MoneySupermarket*.

Quick question:

Will upping the security get me better cover?

High-value contents (over £35,000)

Having lots of contents and expensive items in your home may make it difficult to insure. Follow the steps below to find the right cover.

Decide how much to cover your contents for

With high value contents, it's crucial not to under-insure. It may seem cheaper to err on the low side, but this could lead to insurers not paying out when you need them to. Add up everything you'd want to replace, including smaller items such as clothes.

If you insure £20,000 of possessions when you actually have £40,000, you'll at best only have half of your contents protected or, worse still, the policy could be cancelled for being underinsured. The latter will mean a hike in the future cost of insurance.

To get your magic number, walk from room to room, noting what everything would cost if bought again new. Hiscox also has an online calculator.

When you sign up, you must specify individual items worth a lot (£1,500+) - such as an engagement ring or an expensive watch - or risk them not being covered. If you're not sure, phone the insurer.

Very expensive possessions - eg, antiques, paintings - should be professionally valued. Remember their value may increase over time.

If you have several mid to high-value possessions, Hiscox* may be worth a check. Others are Home & Legacy, which provides three types of contracts, and John Lewis Specialist Home Insurance*.

Types of cover
Once you've defined the cover level, make sure you're comparing the price like for like.

New for old. Here, the payout should be for the original price of the items, though for clothing there's usually a wear and tear deduction.

Indemnity cover. The provider only pays out the current value of your possessions. It's cheaper, but it can leave you in the lurch.

Add-on cover. There are various types. 'All risks' includes property taken outside your home such as wallets or jewellery; legal cover pays for legal representation or disputes.

Confused

1. Compare The Market* Increases chances of a cheap quote from sample to 88%

  • Images available when selecting security types.
  • Quotation page shows monthly payments and extras.
  • You'll get confirmation of the quote by email.
  • The quotes on the results page only show the voluntary excess.
  • The marketing opt-out isn't clearly shown.
comparethemarket

2. + Gocompare* Increases chances of a cheap quote from sample to 97%

  • The sum insured is clearly stated.
  • 'Opt-in' for marketing calls rather than an opt-out.
  • The compulsory excesses aren't clearly shown.
  • It's not easy to find how to modify quotes.

Compare more comparison sites

Made past claims (in the last five years)

Step 1 - Combine the comparison sites in this order...

Comparison sites zip your details to insurers' and brokers' websites, finding the cheapest. So be aware they often feed your personal details to insurers. They don't all compare the same sites, so combine them. We've analysed the comparison sites to find the cheapest results.

MoneySupermarket

1.Confused.com*Gets a cheap quote 78% of the time (in our sample)

  • Clear option to opt out of telemarketing calls.
  • Images giving examples of the types of locks.
  • The excess can be edited.
  • Limited filtering system if you want to select cover levels.
  • Assumptions are pre-ticked.
comparethemarket

2. + Gocompare Increases chances of a cheap quote from sample to 96%

  • The sum insured is clearly stated.
  • 'Opt-in' for marketing calls rather than an opt-out.
  • The compulsory excesses are not clearly shown.
  • It's hard to find out how to modify quotes.

Compare more comparison sites

Step 2: Protect your no-claims bonus

It's not much help if you need to renew right now, but to ease the pain of future years, take some time to consider looking after your no-claims bonus.

For every year you don't claim on your policy, you get a discount. This makes a substantial difference to the overall cost. If you do claim, you usually knock two years off this.

The vast majority of insurers offer the chance to protect your bonus. You'll pay more each year, but if you need to make a claim, it doesn't affect the discount you get.

Be aware though, if you move to a different insurer, it may not honour the discount you had with your last provider.

Struggling to find cover

Some groups, such as those in areas prone to flooding, subsidence or whose house is left unoccupied for long periods, can find it difficult to find cheap insurance cover as they're considered too high a risk. Those with a chequered financial past - such as bankruptcy or CCJs - may struggle too.

In these situations, provider Home Protect* may be able to help. One final option is to try speaking to a local broker (search on the British Insurance Brokers' Association website) about your individual circumstances.

Step 3. The hot deals comparisons miss

For commercial reasons, some large competitive insurers aren't included by comparison sites. And even if they are listed, they sometimes don't give you access to special deals, such as these listed below.

The insurers not on comparison sites

Two of the biggest insurers on the market, Direct Line* and Aviva*, are not on comparison sites, only offering their products directly. Benchmark your cheapest aggregator quotes against the premiums offered by the sites below to see if you can slash costs further.

Direct line

Direct Line not on comparison sites

New customers who buy a Direct Line* home insurance policy online will get 20% off. If you (or someone in your household) already have a policy with Direct Line, see Direct Line Together for details on other discounts.

Aviva

Aviva not on comparison sites

Add Aviva* to your list to check - new customers buying buildings and/or contents insurance, and can prove at least five years no claims on their existing policy, can save 40% when buying online.

Hot deals comparisons miss

While comparison sites offer a large chunk of the market deals, others are only available directly from insurers or brokers. If any of the providers below are among your cheapest on comparison sites, use the links below to buy instead and take advantage of special deals.

Direct line

£75 Amazon gift certificate with Policy Expert

Buy a combined buildings and contents insurance policy via this Policy Expert* link by 18 Nov and receive a £75 Amazon gift certificate. The e-gift card will arrive around 90 days after purchase. The card can be used online or printed out and presented in store.

L&G

£70 Amazon gift certificate with L&G

Buy a new Legal & General* combined buildings and contents policy by 31 Dec and enter the code MSEDEAL to get a £70 Amazon voucher. It'll be sent within 75 days of your policy start date. This applies to the Essentials policy, with standard cover, or the Extra policy, with increased features.

L&G

Karcher pressure washer with L&G

Buy a new Legal & General* combined buildings and contents policy by 31 Oct and enter the code KARCHER3 to get a Karcher K2 Compact Pressure Washer (RRP £79.99). The washer will be sent within 75 days of your policy start date. This applies to the Essentials policy, with standard cover, or the Extra policy, with increased features.

L&G

Karcher window vac with Co-op

New customers buying a Co-Operative* combined buildings and contents home insurance policy by 31 Oct can also get a Karcher WV50 Cordless Window Vac (RRP £59.99). The window vac will be sent within 60 days of your policy start date.

Direct line

Post Office promises to beat renewals by £50

The Post Office* promises to beat renewals by up to £50 for strict like-for-like policies (eg, excess and amount covered) for new customers. Send your renewal documents to claim. It can take 60 days to complete the offer. (See T&Cs for more).

Will it work?
We've seen these deals before. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't - there's no guarantee.

Step 4: Check your policy

Always double-check the policy terms. Once you've found the cheapest quotes from the screenscrapers, make two important checks.

  • Double-check the quotes. Click through to the insurance provider's own website to double-check the quotes. Some comparison sites make a few assumptions to speed up searches.

  • Examine the policy's coverage. Check whether it's suitable. While you're there, it's worth playing with the policy details to see if you can finesse the price down. Look at the excess, and see if any tweaks can cut the cost.

    This tool from Find allows you to check two policies, side by side.

Step 5: Haggle

Haggling often won't get you the market's best deal. But it can cut the cost if you don't want to switch insurer.

Once you've followed the steps above and have the best price, get on the phone and haggle. If your insurer can beat or match your best quote, it saves the hassle of switching policy. If that doesn't work and you're still in the mood, enlist the help of a broker.

For more haggling tips, read the full Haggle On The High Street guide and the Top 10 Firms To Haggle With.

The proof:

Simon Sanders says on Twitter:

Saving £700 on home/contents insurance + better cover. Always get new quote, never accept renewal offer.@simonsanders

Pat Olver says on Twitter:

Sainsbury's home insurance renewal was £252. Rang Sainsbury's, talked it down to £181.@ladygeeke

Step 6: Get cashback

Once you know which your cheapest provider is, you need to check you're not missing out on any cashback deals.

If your second or third cheapest quotes weren't much more expensive, see if cashback's available for them too, and find the overall winner.

It's important to be aware that the cashback is coming from the comparison site, not the insurer, so getting the cashback relies on its ability to pay.

Things you need to know before getting cashback...

Never count the cash as yours until it's in your bank account

Withdraw the cashback as soon as you're allowed

Clear your cookies

Step 7: Further tricks for a cheaper price

If the comparison sites haven't saved you money or given the cover you need, there are some alternatives:

  • Get quotes up to three months before renewal A number of insurers will hold the price of the quotation for 90 days. So if you get a quotation two or three months before your renewal is due, you've locked in a price in case costs rise in the near future.

    Aviva*, Prudential, First Direct, Churchill, Sainsbury's, Privilege and HSBC will allow you to buy a policy up to 90 days ahead, John Lewis Insurance* is valid for up to 60 days. Remember, the quotations are subject to your details not changing. Set up a Tart Alert to remind you when it's going to expire.

  • Guarantee to beat your renewal
    Some have price guarantees if you've not beaten your renewal quote. But make sure you're getting the same level of cover, excess and add-ons as your current policy.

  • Provider to try
    The Post Office* guarantees to beat renewal quotes by at least £50 for a buildings, contents or combined policy (some conditions apply, see T&Cs).

  • Brokers and comparisons
    Broker Quoteline Direct* promises to beat your price by at least 10% with similar cover.

So how much can you save?

The steps above are so powerful, some people get more cashback than their policy costs - effectively meaning they were paid to take out the cover!

The current record is held by MoneySaver Saving4Jesus:

The record: £67.50 PROFIT for a year's cover

£67.50
profit!
  1. Quote of £52.50 Using some of the comparison sites, he found a quote for £52.50.

  2. Cashback £120 That same insurer was paying a mammoth £120 cashback. Cashback tends to be fixed whether your quote's for £77 or £770, as it's all about insurers' marketing budgets rather than price. For a year's home insurance, he actually made £67.50.

Share your success stories. Tell us about your cashback, haggling or insurance saving success story‚ We love to hear when you get cracking deals. Please report super-cheap deals‚ so we can share them with other MoneySavers.

Have you used this guide's techniques to save? If so, please tell us in the Home Insurance Super Deals forum discussion.

Glossary

Join in the Forum Discussion:
Home insurance
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What the * means above

If a link has a * by it, that means it is an affiliated link and therefore it helps MoneySavingExpert stay free to use, as it is tracked to us. If you go through it, it can sometimes result in a payment to the site. It's worth noting this means the third party used may be named on any credit agreements.

You shouldn’t notice any difference and the link will never negatively impact the product. Plus the editorial line (the things we write) is NEVER impacted by these links. We aim to look at all available products. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the top deal, it is still included in exactly the same way, just with a non-paying link. For more details, read How This Site Is Financed.

Duplicate links of the * links above for the sake of transparency, but this version doesn't help MoneySavingExpert.com: Aviva, Churchill, Comparethemarket, Confused.com, Direct Line, Direct Line Together, GoCompare, Hiscox, Home Protect, John Lewis Insurance, John Lewis Specialist Home Insurance, Legal & General, MoneySupermarket, Quoteline Direct, Quotezone, Sainsburys, TescoCompare, uSwitch

Important FCA Note. Referring people to insurers or insurance intermediaries can in some circumstances constitute an FCA regulated activity. MoneySavingExpert.com Limited ("MSE") is part of the MoneySupermarket.com Group PLC ("MSM").

While this does not affect any content on our site, technically it means that pages with links which take you to the sites of insurers or insurance intermediaries are hosted by MSE on behalf of MSM.

MSM is an appointed representative of MoneySupermarket.com Financial Group Limited ("MSFG") which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA FRN: 303190). The registered office address of both MSM and MSFG is MoneySupermarket House, St. David's Park, Ewloe, Chester CH5 3UZ.

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