Building and Contents Insurance – is it time for a review?

building and contents insurance reviewHome insurance for buildings and contents is a valuable and effective shock-absorber that protects millions of families each year from the unexpected and unwelcome.

Ensuring you have enough insurance is as important as having insurance in the first place. Once you’ve bought a policy, it’s easy to forget about it. However, it’s vital to up-date it regularly to ensure that you have the right level of cover. Here are some events that signal that it’s time to review your buildings and contents insurance.

Home improvements

It’s important to bear in mind that the amount of buildings insurance you need should be the rebuild cost of your home, not the full market value.

So, whilst your sum insured doesn’t need to keep pace with property price increases, if you’ve carried out major home improvements, built an extension, or added outbuildings such as a garden room or store, then your cover may need to be increased to include the extra accommodation.

Home security

Many insurers will ask about security measures before giving you a quote. Homes with a good level of security will generally be offered lower premiums. If you’ve updated your home security, you may qualify for a reduction in your premiums.

Many insurers offer discounts to policyholders who fit window locks, fire detectors and alarm systems that reach their required standards.

Changes in lifestyle

Marriage, divorce, or adult children moving back into the family home can all have an effect on your home contents insurance. When people move in or out, their belongings tend to go with them. So you may need to increase your sum insured if there’s an increase in the value of the belongings in your home.

Some insurers offer better rates to those in retirement, as they know that these homeowners will spend more time in their house and should be able to prevent some claims from happening.

New possessions

If you’ve acquired new possessions, it’s important to make sure they’re properly insured. Some home contents insurance policies cover high-value items as standard and will insure any single item up to a specified figure – this can be typically £1,000.

If you don’t declare a valuable worth more than the limit, it wouldn’t be covered at all. It’s important to check your policy schedule to see what’s included and what the limit is. If you have items that exceed the stipulated amount, then you need additional cover; your adviser or broker will be able to assist you with this.

If you’ve bought a new laptop, phone, iPod or iPad, then you should check that the amount of cover provided by your policy is sufficient and that you have cover for valuables used away from home.

Covering more of life’s risks

When you took your policy out, you may have decided against adding optional cover, perhaps on grounds of cost. However, your circumstances may have changed and you may now feel that you’d like additional peace of mind. Many people are happy to pay a few extra pounds to get a policy with more comprehensive cover. You can, for instance, add cover for legal expenses, home emergencies, drains and plumbing, freezer breakdown, accidental damage to home contents and accidental damage for personal possessions outside the home.

Price isn’t everything

When it comes to buying buildings and contents insurance cover, the range of policies on offer in the market can seem bewildering. The key is to focus on features, not just price, when comparing products to ensure you buy an appropriate product for your particular circumstances.

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