How to switch home insurance provider
It’s becoming common knowledge that when it comes to any kind of insurance policy, it pays to shop around and compare home insurance prices. However, a recent ThisIsMoney survey revealed that 70% of homeowners have been with the same provider for over a year.
Many people assume that it’s too much of a hassle to change their home insurance provider or policy, but this isn’t true. If you do your research and take the right steps, switching providers can be relatively easy, and you’ll be better off in the long run.
In This Guide:
- What are the benefits of switching home insurance providers?
- Step 1: Reassessing your needs
- Step 2: Get comparing
- Step 3: Check the insurer and policy
What are the benefits of switching home insurance providers?
There are several benefits to changing your provider. The primary benefit is that there are considerable savings to be made if you manage to find a good offer from another insurer.
In addition, by taking the time to reassess your needs, you’ll be sure that the level of cover that you have is the correct level for your property and belongings - as sometimes these can change over time without us realising.
Be warned though, you may incur a cancellation fee from your current insurer for cancelling a policy mid-term, and the correct level of cover for your personal circumstances isn’t always the cheapest policy that you could opt for.
Step 1: Reassessing your needs
The first step you need to take is to reassess your current situation in order to calculate the level of cover your policy needs to provide. This has to be done for both your buildings insurance policy, and contents insurance policy.
For your buildings insurance policy, you’ll need to recalculate the cost of rebuilding your home in the event that it’s destroyed according to today’s market rates. Generally speaking, if your previous calculation was done over five years ago, it’s not likely to be accurate anymore.
The BCIS Rebuild Calculator can be used if you have a ‘standard construction’ home built after 1850. This is suitable for houses made from brick or stone, with slate or tiled roofs. If your home is of a non-standard construction, or is a period property, you will need to pay a chartered surveyor to calculate the cost for you.
As for your contents insurance policy, you’ll need to go through each room in your house and calculate the value of each item. You should look online to see the current cost of purchasing each new item. Don’t forget to account for any new items that you’ve accumulated since your last valuation.
Be sure to note down high value items that are also high risk. These are items worth over £1500 and can include jewellery, watches, artwork, and collectibles. Items such as these will need to be individually listed in order to be covered by many insurers.
After re-calculating your buildings and contents insurance needs, you should consider any additional cover you may need. These can include:
- Accidental damage cover - in the event that you unintentionally cause damage or loss
- Full home emergency cover - in the event that you have an emergency with your roof, plumbing, gas or electricity within your home
- Full legal expenses cover - to cover the costs of getting legal advice
- Cover away from home - if you’d like certain possessions to be covered when you take them out of your home (or even out of the country)
It’s worth noting that if you have a child over the age of 18 living in student accommodation away from home, you can have their possessions covered by your contents insurance policy as part of the ‘away from home’ cover. You’ll need to list any high value or tech items separately. However, student properties are considered high risk of accident and theft so if you’ve built up a no claims discount you might want to think twice about this add-on.
Finally, you need to make note of any changes to your circumstances which you’ll need to notify your insurer of. For example:
- Change of name, occupation, address, number of family members living at home etc.
- Anyone taken into the home that isn’t immediate family (lodger, foster child, etc.)
- Home business setup (eBay, Etsy, or baking muffins to sell at market)
- Building of a new extension, or new kitchen/bathroom fittings
- Anyone who has a criminal conviction that is unspent (even fines and cautions)
- Any insurance claims, and whether it was or wasn’t paid
- Local flood defences being installed
- Your home becoming ‘listed’ or becoming part of a conservation area
- You’re planning to have, or have had, structural renovations done to your home
Step 2: Get comparing
This is the easiest step when it comes to switching your home insurance provider. Money Expert can help you find the right policy for you by comparing home insurance quotes.
Just fill out all of the relevant information, and within minutes we’ll show you the policies that fulfil your needs. Remember, if there are two or more owners of your home or belongings, then each individual needs to be listed as a policy holder, so bear that in mind when looking for quotes.
It’s worth noting that not all insurance companies are featured on every price comparison website, but there are also exclusive discounts and deals that you may only receive when buying a policy directly through a particular site.
Step 3: Check the insurer and policy
Once you’ve found the policy that you think may be right for you, you need to perform a few extra checks.
Look online at the reputation of the insurer that is providing the policy, see what customers have to say - especially about how things went when they needed to make a claim. Check out who underwrites the policy and see if they are listed on a list of the UK’s top insurers.
As for the policy itself, the most important thing to do is read the policy wording and small print very carefully. You need to be sure that everything you need is included, and you are fully aware of anything that is excluded. You also need to know the limits and compulsory excess, etc.
Finally, check the payment options available to you. It usually costs less to pay for your policy up-front, but if monthly payment is an option you’d prefer then check to see how much more it will potentially cost you to pay in instalments.