How to find the right home contents insurance for your needs
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Shopping for home contents insurance can be complex, time-consuming and frustrating. It can be difficult to know where to start and how to compare deals, let alone work out which type of cover offers the best protection for your possessions.
Whether you use comparison websites to look at different insurers and products, enlist the help of a broker, or do some ringing round to try to get the best deal, there are several things that you must consider before making a final decision.
Before you compare options you must be clear about what it is you need to insure. Physically go through each room in your home and make a list of the expensive or important items that you would have to replace in the event of fire, flood, burglary or accidental damage. This could end up being quite a shock if it is done thoroughly and you might find that your possessions are worth more than you first thought. When you add up the cost of repairing or replacing TVs, furniture, games consoles, kitchen appliances, tablets, phones, laptops, jewellery, cameras, watches, pieces of art and so on it can run to many thousands of pounds. Having this complete list is the only way you can ensure that your home contents policy offers enough cover.
Once you know the value of the things in your home you can start to compare deals. The two main ways of doing this are through comparison websites or using a broker. Ringing round various insurers is not as commonly done as the internet makes it much quicker and easier to get quotes, but you may still want to call the two or three on your shortlist to double-check cover and price.
However you compare policies you must be sure that you are comparing like-for-like deals. Cover for £1,000 worth of possessions is obviously going to be cheaper than cover for items worth a total of £10,000. Check all the fine print and terms and conditions too – the excess can vary hugely and will make a difference to the cost of the policy. Also look at whether the item will be replaced on a like-for-like basis or new-for-old and what kind of cover is given for breakdowns or accidental damage. If the fridge suddenly stops working or the kids spill something on the sofa you could get things put right by making a claim, and this can be worth doing in many circumstances.
You must also read carefully through the requirements of the policy. Some state that recent valuations must be given for particularly expensive items of jewellery or art. Others may have conditions on how such pieces are stored and protected. If you have a garage or shed with expensive power tools you must also check whether these will be covered under your home contents insurance and the stipulations for keeping out-buildings secure.
It is a lot to consider but having all these issues in your mind when you compare contents insurance policies and costs will ensure you get the right cover for your possessions and give you proper protection in case the worst should happen.