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How do I find the right home and contents insurance policy for me and my family?

Full of memories and the things you treasure the most, your home is likely to be the most expensive item you’ll ever own, and the most important. Ensuring you have the right insurance policy in place is critical, giving you peace of mind your home and the things you love are protected.

Finding the right policy can be very complex. Understanding the small print, exclusions, warranties and specific conditions is essential. Talking to someone with experience in the market, such as an adviser, can help you gain a better understanding and advise you on the types and level of cover you need, helping to prevent potentially life-changing losses through inadequate insurance.

What happens when you work with an insurance adviser?

An insurance adviser (or broker) will take the time to understand your individual needs and circumstances and conduct a full fact find regarding the property you are insuring and its contents. For instance, are you resident in your home all the time, or do you spend long periods of time away or at an alternative property? Do you have people in your house for work? Are you planning on doing any major renovations?

They will go through the contents with you, listing everything of value, and should you have collections such as art, antiques or jewellery, they can recommend and refer to specialist partners to provide accurate valuations.

Having gathered the necessary information your adviser will be able to liaise with a range of providers and come back to you with a recommended policy that meets your needs.

Advice, not price

The right adviser will lead with advice, not price, focusing on how to help prevent and reduce the likelihood of a problem in your home that could lead to making a claim. For example, they may advise enhancing security systems or implementing a system that detects water leaks and turns off taps automatically. They will however understand that cost needs to be affordable and therefore suggest ways of reducing the price such as considering a higher excess or by undertaking a detailed risk review.

An easy and seamless renewal process

People are busy, and insurance is one of the last things you want to spend time considering and with so much choice in the market, it can be overwhelming. One of the advantages of working with an adviser is that when renewal time comes around, they will call you to see if anything has changed, update your policy as necessary and ensure you are protected for another year. If you have multiple policies, for example, car, house, art, travel, jewellery and so on, – they can arrange for them all to be on one policy with one renewal date each year.

Some key tips and advice on your home insurance:

  1. It is recommended you have your home and contents on the same policy – should a pipe burst and flood the downstairs of the house, you’ll only have to make one claim, deal with one loss adjustor and pay one excess.
  2. 82% of people are thought to be underinsured. Underinsurance can lead to claims being refused or reduced – being insured for the right sum is critical.
  3. If you are having any home improvements or building works done, you must inform your broker in accordance with the policy terms.
  4. The same applies if your house is going to be empty (or “unoccupied”) for any length of time (e.g., building works, living abroad).
  5. If you insure your jewellery on your contents policy, be aware that the price of gold has risen considerably over the last few years – make sure you have not gone over your ‘single item’ limit. In addition, make sure you inform your broker of any new items you have added or need adding to your policy.
  6. It’s important to understand any security conditions that are a requirement of your policy. Claims can be refused for a failure to follow set security protocols e.g., putting the alarm on at night