cheap home insurance guide

Cheap home insurance

How best to compare 100+ house insurance quotes

With standalone buildings and contents insurance prices at their lowest in at least a decade, and combined policies at the cheapest they've been for four years, now's a great time to check if you can save on your home insurance. This guide helps you find the right policy – and our tips and tricks will help you keep the costs down.

1-min read on finding cheap home insurance

Many can, and have, saved £100s by switching their home insurance policy. Here's a quick lowdown if you know what you're doing and just want to speedily find a cheap policy – alternatively, if you need a bit more help, you can read our full guide below:

1. NEVER auto-renew – instead get quotes from comparison websites. Comparison sites don't search identical insurers, nor give identical prices, so try as many as you've time for in this order: Compare The Market*MoneySupermarket* and Confused.com*.  See how we rank 'em.

2. Compare against a quote from Direct Line. Biggie Direct Line* doesn't appear on comparison sites and can be competitive, so is often worth checking. 

3. Then check to see if cashback sites can beat the quotes you got above.  Topcashback* gives £33 when you buy through its comparison, and Quidco* gives £28. Yet, it's also worth checking if you can then up that amount by going direct to the insurer through Topcashback* and Quidco's* normal sites.

4. How much you cover makes a difference. Use a rebuild cost calculator to work out how much you need to insure for buildings cover, and a contents calculator so you don't underinsure your contents.

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What is home insurance?

Home insurance exists to provide protection if something were to happen to your home, such as a fire, storm damage or a burglary.

Who needs it really depends on your circumstances. For buildings, if you're renting or own a leasehold property, you usually won't need this as this will be the responsibility of your landlord or freeholder - though do check. When it comes to contents insurance, everyone should consider this as it's there to protect you against loss or damage to your personal belongings.

To help break it down further, there are three main home insurance policies:

  • Buildings insurance. This covers the structure of your home and permanent fixtures and fixings.
  • Contents insurance. Turn your home upside down and everything that falls out would typically be covered. Remember, everyone should therefore consider this, though if you're renting we've a dedicated Tenants' Contents Insurance guide.
  • Combined buildings and contents. This is one policy to cover the above, and is a common choice if you own your home's freehold as a combined policy is usually cheaper. It can also make claims easier as there's only one insurer to deal with. 

What does home insurance cover?

It can differ from policy to policy, so always check your policy carefully, but home insurance will broadly cover:

  • Repairs from damage. For example, from escaping water (such as burst pipe), falling trees, fire, flooding, storms (including 'acts of god' such as earthquakes & lightning), subsidence (a shifting of the ground which can cause your house to sink) and vandalism. 
  • Replacement of stolen items. Typically covered by the contents element, protecting your possessions in your home, garage and shed. 
  • Legal liability. A contents policy usually covers you and any legal costs if a visitor to your home is seriously injured and it's deemed to be your fault, and a buildings policy does the same if the structure injures a passer-by or visitor, or damages a neighbour's property.
  • Alternative accommodation. If you can't stay in your home following a fire or flood, the cost of a hotel or B&B is usually covered.
  • Replacement keys and locks. If damaged, or your keys go missing.
  • Replacement of spoiled food. If your freezer breaks down. 

What's excluded?

Home insurance won't usually cover:

  • Damage due to normal wear and tear.
  • Accidental damage. Though you can sometimes pay more to cover this, see add-ons below.
  • High-value items. Unless you've specifically told the insurer about them.
  • If your home is unoccupied for 30+ days per year. See leaving the house unoccupied for more. 
  • Business-related accidents or damage. If you run a business from home

Cheap home insurance tricks

Here are our top tips and tricks to find the cheapest cover.

  • Since 1 January 2022, the Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates insurance, has banned home (and car) insurers from charging existing customers more at renewal than they would expect to pay when taking out a new policy with the same firm. 

    This put a stop to a process known as 'price-walking' or the 'loyalty premium', where insurers would lure new customers in on cheap deals and then increase renewal prices each year, even if there had been no change in their circumstances, risk level or property. 

    But this DOESN'T mean your renewal quote is the best deal. Different insurers have different prices so you should still compare to see how much you could save from switching.

    Plus, insurers can still charge a different price via different channels – for example, lower prices on certain comparison sites (provided existing customers who originally came via that site are charged the same). So always try multiple comparison sites.

  • Your renewal notice from your insurer will show the new price for next year (and the price you paid last year). It's usually sent around 28 days before your current policy ends. If you do nothing, it'll usually automatically renew at that new price, so always have your renewal date in your diary to take action. 

    The cheapest time to get quotes is 21 days ahead of your renewal date – cover becomes more expensive the closer you get

    Our analysis of over three million quotes from the four biggest comparison sites – Compare The Market, Confused.com, Gocompare and MoneySupermarket – revealed that buying your home insurance three weeks ahead of the day you want your policy to start can save you 20%+, compared with leaving it until the last minute.

    Based on an average price, the cheapest time to buy your policy is 17-30 days before the start date, with 21 days before being the optimum time. The differences in price are closely aligned to how much of a risk you're deemed to be, and when the highest number of insurers are likely to provide quotes (see the full price investigation).

    You can lock in a price, to buy at a later date, as a safety net

    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.

    AvivaChurchill and Privilege will allow you to buy a policy up to 90 days ahead, while John Lewis Insurance is valid for up to 60 days.

    Once locked in, the price is fixed as long as your details don't change, but you can always change your mind if you find a cheaper deal.

  • Many assume switching is only for those at renewal. It's not – you can actually switch at any time. This is important when prices are rising, or if you're someone who recently auto-renewed without doing comparisons to see if you can cut costs. However, if you are thinking of switching mid-year, there are a few things to be aware of:

    • If you cancel a policy mid-year and you paid upfront, you'll usually get a pro-rata refund for the rest of the year, providing you haven't claimed. If you pay monthly, you'll just stop paying the old insurer and start paying the new one.

    • There will normally be a cancellation fee of about £35 (check what your insurer charges), so your savings from switching should outweigh this to make it worth it. The longer you've got to go on your policy, the more likely you'll be better off switching. 

    • You won't earn the current year's no-claims discount if you switch so you'll need to be making a substantial saving to make this work.

    If it makes financial sense for you to switch mid-year, speak to your current insurer to tell it you're cancelling. Ask if it has a notice period, as this will dictate the date you want the new policy to start. Then buy the new policy. Make sure the dates align so that one ends on one day, and the other policy starts on the next day to ensure there's no time when you're uninsured. 

  • Buildings insurance – find your rebuild value, not resale

    A common mistake is to cover the home'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.

    To find a rebuild value, commissioning a survey is most reliable, but it's expensive unless you're getting one anyway (eg, if you're buying a new home). A less accurate, but quicker option is the Association of British Insurers' calculator.

    Contents insurance – underinsuring can lead to claims being cut

    Make sure you're especially careful when you set the value of your contents. It may affect any potential claim and your level of coverage, as most insurers will only cover you on a proportional basis.

    Sounds complicated? This is how it works. If you have £20,000 of possessions but you only cover £10,000, your insurer will consider you 50% covered. So if you have a claim worth £5,000, you'll only get £2,500 of your claim.

    Add everything up, including smaller items such as clothes, on a 'new for old' basis. For help, try the Direct Line Calculator or the AA Calculator

    It's also worth considering the following:

    • You'll usually need to list expensive items separately. In addition to the overall value of your contents, expensive items such as high-end laptops and jewellery (including engagement rings) have to be listed separately to be covered by many policies. Always check your policy carefully to ensure it's covered, and remember to inform your insurer if you later buy pricey items (and keep receipts as insurers will likely need proof of purchase before paying out. 

    • Very expensive possessions – such as, antiques, paintings – should be professionally valued. Try specialist insurers if you've lots of high value items, including Hiscox*, Home & Legacy and John Lewis Specialist Home Insurance.

    • There's usually an automatic uplift of cover for gifts temporarily stored at home. Many home insurers automatically increase your contents cover in December (and some even into January) at no cost.  Some insurers will also increase your contents cover for other special occasions, such as religious festivals and weddings. Typically, the limit for single items ranges from £1,000 to £2,000, but always check your insurer's policy to know exactly what's covered, and when. 
  • Getting the right lock on your doors can lower your contents premium. The better your lock, the more secure your home is, and the less you pay for your insurance.

    When we compared quotes, changing to a five-lever mortise deadlock (preferred by insurers) from a basic latch shaved £50/year off the premium with the same insurer. This can sometimes mean that the cost of the new lock is paid for by the savings. 

    Insurers ask what type of lock you have, so you risk invalidating your cover if you put down the wrong type. 

    You can't just say you have the lock to get a cheaper premium. If you're burgled and it turns out you don't have these locks, or you haven't used them, your insurer may not pay out or will want a higher excess should you claim.

    Most comparison sites use photos to help you select the correct locks while getting quotes, but there are also detailed guides on Gocompare and Confused.com. Here are the main types: 

    Five-lever mortice deadlock

    MOST SECURE: Five-lever mortise deadlock conforming to BS (British Standard) 3621. This is the gold standard of locks recommended by the police. The British Standard kitemark is stamped on the metal plate, so it's easy to see – it's heart-shaped with an 's' in the middle.

    British Standard kitemark

    Five-lever mortise deadlock. This is the same as above, but without a British Standard kitemark.

    multi-point locking system Key-operated multi-point locking system. A multi-point locking system has a minimum of three points that all lock simultaneously at the turn of a key. Multi-point locks are most common on uPVC doors or patio doors.
    Rim automatic deadlatch with key locking handles

    Rim automatic deadlatch with key-locking handle.

    These offer security when home, allowing you

    to lock your door more securely from the inside

  • After you've checked the price of separate cover, it's worth checking if you can save by combining them.

    We only know of one policy which currently offers home and car insurance on one policy – see Admiral MultiCover*. However other insurers offer a discount on new policies to their existing customers. For example, Direct Line*Aviva and Churchill all offer discounts on your car insurance if you have another policy with them.

    What if my home and car policies have different renewal dates?

    For Direct Line, Aviva and Churchill, different renewal dates don't matter as each car and your home will have its own policy and policy number. The insurer will just give you a discount for each policy you purchase – as long as you let it know you're already an existing customer.

    With Admiral, although you'll be given a total price to pay, this will factor in the different start dates. So your cover with your existing insurer will remain in place until it renews, at which point you can cancel it and the Admiral policy will take over. You'll get an 'annual equivalent price', as if all were insured for a full year, to help you compare against other providers.

  • A monthly payment plan for your insurance is essentially a high-interest loan, and can vary from under 20%, to over 40% APR.

    So pay in full, or if you can't afford it, use a credit card with a lower interest rate (or better still, a 0% credit card for spending, ensuring your repayments are big enough to clear it within a year).

  • Once you've purchased a policy, don't automatically think you're covered for most eventualities. Certain restrictions nearly always apply, unless you have extended the cover and selected optional extra 'add-ons'.

    Here's an overview of common add-ons to help you decide which ones you may want. 

    Common add-ons explained

    Accidental damage

    Most standard policies usually cover you for limited accidental damage, such as a broken window (on a buildings policy) or a damaged TV (contents). But if you spill paint on your carpet, it's unlikely to be covered unless you opted to included accidental damage cover. 

    So if you're particularly clumsy, you should give it some thought – just make sure you check the T&Cs first to see what is covered as standard.

    Personal belongings cover

    Confusingly it has many different names, but you'll tend to find it called one of the following; 'all risks cover', 'unspecified personal possessions', 'personal effects' or 'personal belongings away from the home'.

    Most policies don't cover contents outside the home as standard, but by paying a bit more you can usually get cover for items such as your bag, purse, wallet smartphone and tablet. Basically, if it's designed to be taken out of the home, it'll usually fall under this extension.

    When you choose the add-on, you must decide the value of goods you want insured outside the home.


    Say you wanted cover for a £500 ring, £200 camera, £200 spectacles and £100 headphones; you'd choose a round figure of £1,000 worth of so-called 'unspecified items' cover. Though always check the 'single item' limit set by the insurer. If any of the individual items you take out of the home exceed this, it will need to be specified.

    Mobile phone cover Most home contents insurance policies will cover handsets that are lost in a home burglary or house fire.

    Some policies will also let you pay extra to cover your phone for accidental damage or loss/theft outside the home – usually including when you are abroad – if it is not already covered under the 'personal belongings' section.

    Alternatively, you could buy a standalone mobile phone insurance policy.
    Bicycle cover Like mobile phone insurance, you are usually covered if it's stolen from your home. Once it leaves your home, you'll only get a payout if it is stolen from a public place if it is locked to a fixed street item such as a railing or bike stand.

    If your cycle is not already covered under the 'personal belongings' section, or too expensive to add, see if specialist bicycle insurance is cheaper for you.
    Legal expenses

    This add-on can help you with legal disputes, and some or all of the following, depending on the policy:


    - Goods or services you buy or rent

    - Personal injury

    - Employment disputes 

    - Property protection, including boundary disputes 

    - Inheritance disputes 

    - Legal defence, because of an incident at work

    - Clinical negligence 


    A home insurance legal expenses policy is different to a policy you get with your motor vehicle, so do not expect this to help with a motor claim/accident.

    Home emergency As the name suggests, it tends to cover emergencies – usually if your health's at risk, your home's uninhabitable or at risk from further damage if the problem's not fixed. For example, this could be if you've a burst pipe and can't turn off the water supply, or your boiler's broken and it's zero degrees outside.

    Broadly, this tends to cover your boiler and central heating, plus also provides help for floods, pest infestation and more. See our boiler cover guide for full help choosing a policy.
    Protected no-claims discount This usually means you can make a claim and not lose your discount next time you renew (if you stay with your existing insurer). However, do note that protecting your no-claims discount does NOT guarantee your premium won't go up. 

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Find the cheapest home insurance quotes

So now you know the basics of home insurance, here are the steps you need to follow to ensure you find the cheapest price possible.

Step 1: Get quotes from multiple comparison sites

laptop to access comparison sites

Comparison sites are actually technically insurance marketplaces, as insurers are allowed to, and sometimes do, offer cheaper prices on individual sites than they charge direct.

Therefore it's not just that different insurers will appear on different comparison sites, it's also that different sites can have different prices for the same insurer. Therefore it's best to use at least two, and more if you've time, to maximise your chance of getting the cheapest quote.

Below is our current order of which sites to try and in what order (see how we pick our order), and if they have any perks. So long as you're trying a two or more, go for those you like most.

Typical homes

It's best to use all four sites, but if you don't have time, we've ranked them in order of the sites that most often return the cheapest quotes so you've the best chance of bagging the top deal.

Try comparison sites in this order

Site Official perk info & MSE's analysis
Try as many as you can, in this order...


Compare The Market*
Official Perk info: Meerkat movies and meals. A year's 2for1s on cinema tickets and meals at a on Tue/Wed nights.

MSE Perk Analysis:
 For those who'd use it, and go to the flicks and restaurants this perk can be worth £100s. However instead you could grab other perks as for this you can use our trick to get Meerkat movies and meals for £1 for a year.

See our full Compare The Market perk analysis.


MoneySupermarket*
None.

Confused.com*
Official Perk info: ONE of.... £20 Halfords voucher | £20 Domino's voucher | £20 Lidl Plus coupon | 12 IMO 'triple foam' car washes.

Perk Analysis: The highest value is the car washes, if you'd use them all, as they can cost £5 each elsewhere so it's worth £60. 

See our full Confused perk analysis.
Then, to boost chances of finding a cheap quote further, try...
Gocompare – a big comparison site which currently gives £250 'free' excess cover with every purchase.
Quotezone* – it's another comparison site, and you get access to Rewards+ within 60 days after buying a policy.
Direct Line* – an insurer, rather than a comparison, but you won't find its quotes on any comparisons, so it's worth trying in case it's cheaper for you

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, providers Intelligent Insurance* and Homeprotect* 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.

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 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.

Will increased security get me better cover?

Improve your risk profile and increase your chances of getting the lowest possible quote.

Make sure you have the right security – not only to your 'self-contained' room, but to the main entrance to your home or flat. Without an approved lock, it's difficult to find a policy giving you theft cover. 

Keep all your contents in your locked room. Anything left in a communal area is unlikely to be insured against theft. Remember, theft only applies when there's violent and/or forced entry.

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, so try them one by one.

Try comparison sites in this order

Site Official perk info & MSE's analysis
Try as many as you can, in this order...


Compare The Market*
Official Perk info: Meerkat movies and meals. A year's 2for1s on cinema tickets and meals at a on Tue/Wed nights.

MSE Perk Analysis: For those who'd use it, and go to the flicks and restaurants this perk can be worth £100s. However instead you could grab other perks as for this you can use our trick to get Meerkat movies and meals for £1 for a year.

See our full Compare The Market perk analysis.


MoneySupermarket*
None.

Confused.com*
Official Perk info: ONE of.... £20 Halfords voucher | £20 Domino's voucher | £20 Lidl Plus coupon | 12 IMO 'triple foam' car washes.

Perk Analysis: The highest value is the car washes, if you'd use them all, as they can cost £5 each elsewhere so it's worth £60. 

See our full Confused perk analysis.
Then, to boost chances of finding a cheap quote further, try...
Gocompare – a big comparison site which currently gives £250 'free' excess cover with every purchase.
Quotezone* – it's another comparison site, and you get access to Rewards+ within 60 days after buying a policy.
Direct Line* – an insurer, rather than a comparison, but you won't find its quotes on any comparisons, so it's worth trying in case it's cheaper for you

Step 2: See if you can get cashback on your cheapest insurers

If you're a cashback site user, you'll know that if you get your home insurance via them it gets a 'lead fee' for sending you to the insurer. Once it gets paid the fee by the insurer, the cashback will either be paid directly to you, though some are now starting to only pay the cashback to a charity.

This is likely to be displayed – alongside the insurance provider – if payment will be to a charity, but do check if you are unsure.

This can beat going to the comparison sites above, but do check your quote isn't more than going to a comparison site, and it's best to think of the cashback as a bonus, rather than 100% guaranteed as sometimes it doesn't track or isn't paid out. These are the two routes to try...

  • Route 1: Use cashback site comparisons:  There's a version of Confused's comparison on cashback sites Topcashback* and Quidco*, where you'll get £33 and £28 respectively if you buy a policy through them (you don't get the standard Confused perks, as this is a rebranded version of the comparison) but do keep an eye on the quotes you get as you may not get exactly the same prices as you will from Confused.com's comparison. 

    The easiest way to do it is to look at the quotes you get, then take off £33 from  Topcashback's cheapest, and £28 from Quidco's, and see which works out cheapest for you.

  • Route 2: Find your cheapest insurer then go via cashback site. Once you know your cheapest insurer, try checking what cashback you, or the charity, will get via going to it direct via Quidco* and Topcashback*.

    Yet here be extra careful not to let the cashback tail wag the dog. Choose the right insurer first, then look for cashback. Don't look for the biggest cashback then choose the insurer.

    Again, make sure you check the price you're getting through this route is the same as the prices you found from the comparisons you'd already done. If it's more expensive, see if the cashback offsets the rise. If not, go with the quotes you got above.

Our Top Cashback Sites guide has full information on how these sites work. 

Step 3: Once you've found the cheapest quote, try to haggle a bigger discount with your existing insurer

Haggling is not a must – especially if you want to try a new provider – but if you're looking to renew with your current insurer it's well worth contacting it to negotiate.

Once you've followed the steps above and got the overall cheapest price, give your insurer a call or use its online chat to see if will beat or match it. Usually it's as simple as asking, but if you're not getting any luck, see our Car and Home Insurance Haggling guide for top tips.

Step 4: Finally, check the policy carefully before buying

Once you've found the cheapest quotes, there are a couple of things to check...

  • Double-check the quotes. Click through to the insurance provider's own website to read the quote thoroughly, as 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.

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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 small print. It's always worth trying to call your provider first, but, if not, then…

Home insurance FAQs

  • Do I need to tell my home insurer if I'm working from home?

    Not usually, but it depends on the nature of your work. There's normally no need to inform your insurer if you're doing clerical work, such as working on a laptop and making calls.

    However, if you have visitors to your home who are there as part of your work, or you have stock you've brought home (for example, if you've a mail order business which you're now operating from home), those won't be covered. If either of these apply, you'll need to check if you can pay a premium to have the visitors/stock covered, or you may need to get an extension to your usual business insurance. 

  • How do I make a change to my policy, and is there a fee?

    This depends on your insurer. Many let you make the changes online (such as Admiral, Axa and Direct Line), but not all (such as Age Co, Hastings Direct and LV).

    You'll usually be charged for altering a policy, such as removing an add-on or increasing your contents cover. The fee you'll pay (and for which changes) will vary by insurer, but are typically between £10 and £50. You'll usually find changes made online are cheaper than calling. 

  • Does being unemployed affect my home insurance cover?

    If you don't have a job, you face a potential jump in insurance costs if you declare yourself unemployed. The same hikes don't apply to homemakers (housewives/househusbands). If that's you, say so to avoid a hike in costs.

    But only enter 'homemaker' if you're genuinely not seeking work, or not receiving benefits which require you to seek work. Otherwise, it's fraud.

  • I'm going away on holiday, am I still covered?

    If you're going away and leaving your home unoccupied, you may find your cover is restricted or you may not be covered at all.

    Almost all insurers restrict the number of days you can leave your home unoccupied for while still covering you – usually 30 days. Leaving it empty for long periods makes it more at risk of burglary, and the cost of any claims greater as any damage can be left undetected for weeks.

    Plus, during the colder months, insurers often reduce the number of days you can leave your home empty for to as low as five days UNLESS you keep the heating on at a minimum constant temperature or drain the water heating system (not for the faint-hearted). The reason for this is to reduce the risk of burst pipes and the damage they cause.

    For example, with Admiral, if you go away for five days or more between November and March, you would only be fully covered if you keep your home constantly heated to 12°C, or turn off your water supply at the mains and drain the water system.

    Also, if you're insured with Policy Expert and leave your home unoccupied for 15 days or more during November until the end of March, you may not be fully covered unless you've set the heating at a continuous minimum temperature of 14°C or have switched off your gas and water supplies at the mains.

    Failing to leave the heating on when you're away could see any claims made for the period you were away being declined, risking costs running into £1,000s.

    Some insurers have these stipulations in their T&Cs but others, such as Aviva and Direct Line, don't – so make sure you know your provider's stance on this. If unsure, just give it a call.

  • I'm renting out my old home, do I need a new policy?

    There are growing numbers of accidental landlords – for example, those who move into a partner's home and rent out their old one or rent who inherit a secondary property and decide to let it out as a rental rather than sell.

    Fail to let your insurer know (and, if relevant, your lender) and any claim on the cover would be invalid since your existing home insurance policy won't be deemed valid because you've now got tenants in.

    For convenience, you can ring your existing insurer who – in most cases – will simply 'upgrade' your ordinary home insurance policy into a basic landlord policy. It takes just one phone call and there'll usually be a higher premium to pay to reflect this greater risk.

    But do this and you'll usually find your new policy won't include key landlord-specific extras such as loss-of-rent guarantee or public liability. Instead, you'll likely be better off looking for a specialist landlord policy from elsewhere that includes all the add-ons as well as basic contents and buildings cover. Ensure you get the cheapest deal by doing a landlord insurance comparison.

  • Is it possible to insure a home of non-standard contruction, such as a thatched roof?

    If your home is built of non-standard modern day construction, such as having a thatched roof or the walls are made of wattle and dorb, or wytchert –  your choice of insurers is usually limited, and can be pricey.

    If the comparison sites above don't return many results, providers Intelligent Insurance* and Homeprotect* may be able to help. They can even provide policies if the property is left unoccupied in excess of 30 or 60 consecutive days.

    Another option is to speak to a broker about your individual circumstances – find one on the British Insurance Brokers' Association website.

  • My child's at university, does my policy cover them too?

    If you have a child studying, and living away from home, they may automatically be covered against theft or loss as part of your home insurance policy under its 'temporarily removed from the home' section.

    Many policies have this cover (but do check yours), as long as your home is your child's main permanent address (ie, they'll return to your home when not a student). However, it only applies while the contents are in their accommodation (or indeed at your home).

    If you want cover for mobiles or laptops, or other items your child normally wears or carries away from your home, or their accommodation, you can add an 'all risks' or 'unspecified personal possessions' section to your policy. This covers your child's belongings while they're out and about, but it typically comes at an added cost.

    Alternatively, if you prefer your child to have their own policy, see our Contents Insurance for Tenants guide.

  • How will the excess affect my premium?

    Each policy normally comes with a compulsory and a voluntary excess, if you have selected one. A compulsory excess does what it says on the tin. If you make a claim, it's the amount you pay towards the cost. If your TV was stolen and you made a claim for £500, and had a compulsory excess of £50 – a typical sum – you'd get £450.

    If you have a £50 voluntary excess and a £50 compulsory excess, you'd only get £400.

    The excess is outlined when you buy the policy. What you pay is entirely up to you. A higher excess will lower the cost of your premium, with the insurer paying less if you have to make a claim. But if you make a claim, you'll get less money back.

    When you set your excess, think carefully. If you can't afford to cover a large chunk of the cost if you need to claim, don't set a high voluntary excess, as you'll have to pay that as well as the compulsory excess.

    If you need both buildings and contents insurance and you opt for a combined policy, make sure you check the details carefully. Some insurers will have a separate excess for both parts of your policy, which means a claim affecting both the structure of your home and its contents, such as a flood, will result in a double deduction.

    The Co-op, Hastings and Tesco may all charge two excesses on combined policies.

  • What happens if I need to make a claim?

    Firstly, always contact your insurer as soon as possible after noticing the damage or theft. When claiming, you may have to pay towards repairs and replacements, known as an 'excess', so check your policy for the full information.

    You'll need to provide full details of the circumstances surrounding anything that's been lost or damaged, plus any evidence of that. Take photographs of the damage to your home, contents or car, or film the footage. This may help provide proof.

    If your possessions have been badly damaged or stolen, any photographs of you with a particular item when undamaged, or held by friends or relatives, will demonstrate you owned it. Receipts, credit card bills or bank account statements that show your purchases can also be used as evidence.

     

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