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Cheap Home Insurance

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Tony and Rebecca | Edited by Johanna

Updated September 2018

home insurance illustration

Home insurance costs have continued to rise – so check out our key tricks to slash the price, including never auto-renewing and how hitting the sweet spot can bag the cheapest policy.

This is a full step-by-step guide taking you through the cover you need and how to get the best possible deal.

What is home insurance?

There are three main house insurance (or flat insurance) policies: buildings insurance, contents insurance and combined building and contents cover. Buildings insurance cover protects the structure, the fixtures and fittings in your home; while contents insurance covers your belongings.

Combined buildings and contents cover is only suitable for people who own the freehold of their homes. If you rent or own the lease only, buildings cover should be handled by your freeholder or managing agent. Contents insurance, however, is your responsibility and should be considered by everyone. See our Tenants' Contents Insurance guide for more.

What is covered?

Included: What does home and contents insurance cover?

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 mobile phone and belongings away from the property?

Leaving the house unoccupied: I'm going away on holiday, am I still covered?

Big-ticket items: Is there a single item limit?

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

Christmas presents: Do I need extra cover for them?


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 an emergency?

My possessions have been damaged. What should I do?

How do I make an insurance claim?

How do I protect my home against future flooding?

Rather watch than read?

To see Martin on how to choose home insurance in a five-min lowdown, click on this video filmed in partnership with The Telegraph in June 2014.

Nine home insurance need-to-knows

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

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

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

  • Never auto-renew. Loyalty is expensive

  • New. Getting insurance three weeks ahead can save 20%+

  • Grab long-lasting quotes to lock in today's price

  • Better locks pay for themselves

  • Beware monthly repayments, they're really a loan

  • Moved and renting out your old home? You'll need a new policy

  • Is your child a student? Your policy might cover them too

Step 1. The top comparison sites

Once you know the basics from our top nine tips for cutting costs, it's time to visit the comparison sites which zip your details to a number of insurers' and brokers' websites to find the cheapest quotes. As no single site captures the entire market and prices vary, combining a number of sites is the best way to make a meaningful saving.

IMPORTANT: Remember, as we've said above, buying your policy three weeks ahead can save big compared with getting it last minute. See the full price investigation.

How do you decide the order of the comparison sites?

If I use a comparison site will it show up on my credit file?

Which comparison sites offer incentives?

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.

No single site captures the entire market, combining a number of sites is the best way to make a really meaningful saving so try them one by one.

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 underinsure. 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.

No single site captures the entire market, combining a number of sites is the best way to make a really meaningful saving so try them one by one.

One-bedroom homes

The more bedrooms you have, the higher the cost of insurance. If rooms in your home 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.

No single site captures the entire market, combining a number of sites is the best way to make a really meaningful saving so try them one by one.

Renting or in shared accommodation

Getting insurance for a room in a shared house or flat doesn't need to be expensive.

If you rent, your landlord's responsible for insuring the buildings, so you only need contents insurance. 

Our Cheap Contents Insurance for Tenants guide which highlights why contents insurance is essential for renters and how to get the right policy to suit you at the cheapest price. Bear in mind, insurers usually only pay out if there is a sign of forced entry – hence the importance of having the room your contents are in kept locked.

Struggling to find cover

Some groups, such as those in areas prone to flooding, subsidence or whose home is left unoccupied for long periods, can find it difficult to find cheap insurance cover as they are considered too high a risk. Those with a chequered financial past – such as bankruptcy or county court judgments – may struggle too.

In these situations, provider's Intelligent Insurance* (see below how to get a £45 Amazon e-gift card) and Home Protect* may be able to help.

If flooding is the reason you're struggling to find affordable insurance cover, Flood Re has a useful tool that will list insurers to try.

One final option is to try speaking to a broker about your individual circumstances (find one on the British Insurance Brokers' Association website).

Quick question

Will upping the security get me better cover?

Made past claims (in the last five years)

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.

No single site captures the entire market, combining a number of sites is the best way to make a really meaningful saving. Try them one by one or open all your top comparison sites (disable pop-up blocker first) to fill them in at the same time.

Step 2. The ones 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 comparison quotes against prices offered by these sites, which currently have the following deals on:

  • Direct Line*. If you already have a Direct Line* policy, give them a try as you could get a discount for having a policy with them. Also, until 11.59pm on Wednesday 17 October, you can also get a £40 Amazon gift card. See our hot deals for more info.

  • Aviva*. Grab up to 20% off online whether you buy buildings, contents or combined buildings and contents cover.

Need short-term (monthly) buildings and/or contents cover?

If you're looking for temporary insurance cover to protect your building, contents or both on a monthly basis, big insurer Ageas has created the Ageas Elastic* policy to cater for this.

The way it works is once you have bought the policy, it continues on a monthly rolling basis, meaning it renews each month, until you stop it.

Some things you need to know:

Hot deals comparisons miss

While comparison sites offer a large chunk of the market's 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.

£50 food voucher with Co-op home insurance*

Coop

Buy a new Co-op Insurance* combined buildings and contents policy by 11.59pm on 18 October 2018 and you'll receive £50 worth of Co-op food vouchers.

The Co-op voucher will be posted within 75 days of your policy start date – note too that the deal's for new customers only (where you haven't had a Co-op home insurance policy on the same address within the last 12 months).

£45 Amazon gift card for buildings, contents or combined policy*

Intelligent Insurance

Buy a new buildings only, contents only OR combined buildings and contents policy by Friday 30 November, via this MSE blagged Intelligent Insurance* link, and get a £45 Amazon e-gift card emailed to you.

This offer is only available to new customers (who have not had an Intelligent Insurance home insurance policy in the last 12 months). The voucher will be emailed about 60 days after your policy start date.

Note: It may not be the cheapest if you just have standard needs as this provider specialises in arranging cover for people who find it difficult to find home insurance cover, such as those in areas prone to flooding, subsidence or whose home is left unoccupied for long periods. It can also help those with a chequered financial past – such as bankruptcy or county court judgments.

We have little feedback on the company so please tell us about your experiences.

Read more on how to ENSURE you get the e-gift card.

£40 Amazon gift card via Direct Line*

Direct Line*

directline

Use this MSE Blagged Direct Line* link to buy a home insurance policy by 11.59pm on Wednesday 17 October and you'll receive a £40 Amazon gift card. It's for new customers only (those who don't currently have a home insurance policy with Direct Line).

Once the policy has been in place for at least 45 days (the qualifying period), the gift card will be emailed within seven days to the email address you registered when you purchased the policy.

NEED-TO-KNOW: Following previous Direct Line blagged deals we had reports from some users that when they tried to access the link, they received a '404 Error' message. If you experience this, please contact Direct Line at info@directlinetreat.co.uk and it'll be able to help you get the deal.

Read more to ENSURE you get the gift card

£40 Amazon voucher with Leisure Guard*

Leisure Guard

Buy a new combined buildings and contents policy via this MSE Blagged Leisure Guard* link by 9am on Monday 31 December and get a £40 Amazon voucher.

This offer is only available to new customers (those who have never had a previous Leisure Guard Home Insurance policy) where the voucher will be emailed about 90 days after your policy start date (subject to the policy not having been cancelled). We have little feedback on this home insurance policy and company so please tell us about your experiences.

Read more to how to ENSURE you get your £40 voucher?

Post Office promises to beat renewals by £50*

Post Office

The Post Office* promises to beat renewals by up to £50 for strictly 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. Yes, the Post Office will do it but can be incredibly picky, meaning it may scrutinise your policies to make sure they're like for like. We've received feedback from users who have found this frustrating, while others say it works.

Step 3. Check your policy

Always double-check the policy terms. Once you've found the cheapest quotes from the screen scrapers, 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.

Step 4. Haggle

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.

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

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

Step 5. 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

The record results following the system

Of course most people just want a quick cheap result. In which case following the first few steps of the guide should do that.

However if you're prepared to go all the way, a few people can really bring costs down to ridiculous levels – we've even had some people earn 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

winner

In 2007, forum user Saving4Jesus recorded a profit by using a combination of our home insurance system and cashback sites to get this inspiring profit. Saving4Jesus was even able to get paid £18 in 2008 following the same process.

This is how Saving4Jesus did it.

  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.

Our 2016 champion, '£23 profit'

The battle to be our home insurance champion for 2016 was hotly contested. The first entry was Matt who tweeted:

@MoneySavingExp @MartinSLewis Comparison sites in order from your site then @quidco to get £55 cashback on a £58 new policy!!

Yet that didn't last long, as soon as we told people about it, we got this email in from MoneySaver Ian:

On your recent weekly email it was stated that after cashback the home contents cheapest insurance this year was £3. Well I have paid £32.41 and I have £55.55 cashback confirmed, so I should have £23.14 profit.

Are you our 2017 champion?

Have you been able to make a profit buying insurance in 2017?

Share your success stories. Let us know if you beat it.

We love to hear when you get cracking deals, should it be about your cashback, haggling or insurance saving success story. So tell us by email or report super-cheap deals via the forum‚ 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.

Q&A

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

  • Unemployed: What if I am out of work?

How to complain about your insurance provider

The insurance industry doesn't have the best customer service reputation and while a provider may be good for some, it can be hell for others. Common problems include claims either not being paid out on time or at all, unfair charges, or exclusions being hidden in the small print. It's always worth trying to call your provider first, but if not then…

Free tool if you're having a problem

man complainingThis tool helps you draft your complaint and manage it too. It's totally free, and offered by a firm called Resolver which we like so much we work with to help people get complaints justice.

If the complaint isn't resolved, Resolver will escalate it to the free Financial Ombudsman Service.

Important: if your issue is about a voucher or incentive that was part of an MSE Blagged deal, then instead just let us know by emailing voucherhelp@moneysavingexpert.com as that's usually quicker.

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