Getting the right level of home insurance is important if you want to ensure both your buildings and contents are covered sufficiently against the risk of fire, flood, theft and accidental damage. Accurately estimating the value of your home and its contents is important in getting the cover you need, without paying more than you have to.
When it comes to buildings insurance, it’s not the market value that you need to be worried about. Instead, it’s the rebuild cost that you need to take note of. The cost to rebuild your house to its existing condition; roofs, patios, out-houses, windows and guttering included, can often be found on your mortgage agreement. If these aren’t close at hand, you can ask to see the deeds to your home but remember that the rebuild cost will be linked to inflation, so it could have gone up or down since you bought your house.
This is where a rebuild cost calculator comes in handy! These can be found on some insurance comparison websites. You simply input your property’s details and the calculator will automatically generate an estimated rebuild cost, factoring in the effect of inflation as well as surveyor and clearance costs.
Aside from getting an accurate rebuild price, you’ll need to get the value of your contents right too. It’s easy to undervalue your belongings but if you were to add up the value of your possessions room by room, considering how much it would cost to replace each item as new, you should get an accurate reflection of the value of your belongings. And remember to include everything you would take if you were to move house, as well as carpets, hardwood flooring, wall coverings and frozen food.
Special possessions such as items of jewellery and expensive gadgets should be mentioned on your insurance policy so that they are covered. You’ll need to give your insurer a description of the item and a valuation. If you don’t get the value right, you risk a low pay-out if you should make a claim. And if you want to protect items that you carry away from home, you’ll need to opt for ‘away from home’ cover and choose the level of cover you would like.
Insurance is there to protect you, but you probably want to avoid making a claim in the first place. Try these tips to protect your buildings and contents:
Your insurer will usually recommend a range of good quality locks that you should use on doors and windows. Using poor or faulty locks could invalidate your insurance so getting the right locks is important.
If you have an alarm, use it! If you don’t, and a thief was to get away with your possessions, this may hinder your claim. Getting into the habit of using your alarm when you’re out is a good idea.
Whilst it may be tempting to save cash by avoiding home maintenance, putting off necessary repairs could put your home insurance policy at risk. Roof, door and window maintenance are just some chores that shouldn’t be ignored; if a broken lock were to give easy access to a thief then you could invalidate any insurance claim.
Overgrown trees and climbing plants can cause damage to your external walls in the winter months. Keep your trees and wall crawling plants pruned to protect your walls from unnecessary damage.
Asking a neighbour to pop in to check the post and open and close the curtains helps create the lived in look! This will be less attractive to thieves. Putting lights and even your TV on a timer is also a good idea.