UK homeowners don't have adequate home insurance cover
Nearly 3.5 million UK homeowners are putting their homes and possessions at risk by not having adequate home contents and buildings insurance, according to research from MoneySupermarket.com.
The comparison site found nearly one in ten homeowners (nine per cent) are missing out on some form of home insurance and only have either buildings or contents insurance - not both. Nearly 1.5 million admit to having contents cover only, while 1.3 million homeowners only have buildings insurance in place. A further two per cent, or nearly 650,000 homeowners have no form of buildings or contents insurance whatsoever.
Peter Harrison, insurance expert at MoneySupermarket, said: "The recent spate of bad weather and flooding highlights just how important it is to make sure your home is fully covered. Homeowners without adequate buildings and contents insurance are taking a huge risk by leaving their homes unprotected, and are potentially storing up a financial catastrophe in the event of a major incident which could even leave them homeless. At the very least, those homeowners with a mortgage on their property should have a suitable buildings policy in place since the terms and conditions of the mortgage agreement will require it.
"Although it may be tempting to take either buildings or contents cover, the chances are you may need to make a claim against both of them. For example, if your home was flooded during storms, you would have to claim for any damages to fittings and fixtures such as electrics or a fitted kitchen through your buildings insurance, while a claim for damage to goods such as televisions and furniture would be made through the contents policy. Only having one type of insurance, could leave you heavily out of pocket. Taking both buildings and contents cover in a joint policy can be great value for money and worth considering if you currently only have one type of insurance for your home or both buildings and contents cover with separate insurers."
The MoneySupermarket research also found people who rent their homes are also taking big risks when it comes to covering their possessions, with a third (33 per cent) having no cover in place at all. Additionally, a further seven per cent don't know whether they have any cover in place or not.
Peter Harrison continued: "People renting their homes are less likely to require buildings insurance as this is usually taken out by the landlord. However, it is deeply concerning that a third of renters don't have any contents insurance whatsoever. This is a costly and unnecessary risk to take. Without insurance in place to protect you, you risk having to fork out to cover the cost of your possessions should you have to replace them in the event they are damaged, destroyed or stolen. Additionally, any incident which also impacts a neighbouring property, for which you could be held liable, such as a fire or a flood, could mean you are landed with the neighbours' costs as well!
"Having adequate insurance is vital and it doesn't have to break the bank. The current average combined building and contents home insurance policy through MoneySupermarket is just £149, while the average for a contents only policy is just £85. If you cannot afford to pay for insurance in one lump sum, then paying monthly is an option. Some home insurers don't charge an APR for opting to pay in monthly instalments, although some do so it is worth checking the policy details before you apply."
MoneySupermarket.com's top tips for cheaper home insurance premiums:
Shop around before accepting your renewal quote - Shopping around for your home insurance before accepting your renewal premium can save money - customers who shop through MoneySupermarket save on average £123.
Think about your cover - Do you really need accidental damage cover? This can increase premiums by 25%. Think carefully about the add-ons you need.
Don't claim unless you need to - The fewer the claims, the higher your no claims discount. So think twice before making a claim for minor issues that would be inexpensive for you to cover with your own cash.
Install a good home security system - Sometimes there are alarm systems that might be preferred by an insurer. The NACOSS standard alarm can cut premiums with some companies by 7.5%.
Join a ‘Neighbourhood Watch' campaign - this can help to reduce your premium if you inform the home insurance company of your participation in a scheme. It can reduce your premiums by up to 5%.
Fire - Fit a smoke alarm and take simple steps to avoid accidents. Most fires in the home are caused by smoking or cooking; never smoke in bed, don't leave cigarettes lying around and don't leave cooking unattended. Other fire tips include closing doors at night to contain fires, check the home is safe before going to bed and keep matches away from children.
Don't smoke - As covered above, the fire risk greatly increases if you smoke cigarettes. Most insurers will now ask if you are a smoker.