Price comparison websites are a good way of getting a feel for the market, and you can even get a free cuddly toy sometimes, but they don’t work well in all circumstances. Some insurance companies don’t feature on these websites at all, for example; and often you can get cheaper quotes from lesser known websites such as monthlycarinsurance.biz. Also, you may not be comparing like with like; each of the quotes will have slightly different small print with regard to exclusions and requirements, and a lot of time may be needed to work through them all before the real best buy emerges. Comparison sites may be inappropriate for whole categories of properties, such as those with non-standard construction or those perceived to be at risk of flooding – this can mean any property with a postcode including a river or coastline, even if the house itself is on a nearby mountain. If an initial search on the comparison site offers only a handful of quotes, you may have fallen foul of these exclusions.
Reading the small print is always important when taking out more than one insurance policy, as the cover can easily overlap. Good examples are movable items such as computers, smartphones, and bicycles. If your smartphone has insurance provided as part of the contract, don’t pay extra to include it in your home contents cover. Check also on service contracts such as those for drains and other utilities; they can figure in your utility contract as well as your insurance policy, and you don’t need both.
Factors over which you have little control, such as your postcode, will have a big effect on your home insurance premium. However, there are things you can do to make your home more secure, and they will probably pay for themselves in terms of reduced premiums as well as improved peace of mind. Better locks, fire and intruder alarm systems, fencing and exterior lighting all have a part to play, and there will be local experts ready with advice.
The worst way to save money on insurance is to conceal facts from the insurer. If you undervalue the contents of your home, for example, you will find it hard to claim even for minor losses once the insurance investigators have done their work. The presence in the property of a potential bad risk, such as someone with a criminal record, may also be seen as a ‘material fact’ by the insurance company, even if they haven’t explicitly asked about it. Leaving the property unoccupied for long periods without informing the insurers is another bad idea.
Some of the best insurance deals are available only to certain groups of people, and it’s worth finding out if you qualify. Many professional associations and trades union, for example, have their own schemes, or have negotiated discounts with major providers. Think also of the companies which specialise in products for older people, who are seen as less of a risk, as are members of some religious groups. Of course, these products should always be checked against those available on the open market, but as always in the world of insurance, a little research can be the key to saving money.