15th February 2012
Know the ins and outs of any insurance policy
It is important to fully understand the extent to which a house and its contents are protected by home insurance cover.
Otherwise, the owner risks making a claim for damages and finding out that his or her possessions are not fully covered.
Home insurance protection is divided into two types: content insurance, which covers everything inside the house, and buildings insurance, in case repairs are needed for the building itself.
It is advisable to have both types, as this will protect the home against a range of eventualities, including burglary, fire and weather damage.
Some insurers will be open to negotiation if the customer chooses to combine buildings and contents cover from the same provider.
Contents insurance generally refers to expensive items which are not permanent fixtures in the home, such as computers, televisions and clothing.
However, consumers may have to provide details for any particularly expensive items, such as jewellery or art work.
Insurers will look favourably on residents who make a conscious effort to maintain the security of the building.
For example, having a security system and smoke alarms with central monitoring can help to lower the homeowner's insurance premium, in addition to providing better peace of mind.
It is also advisable to be meticulous in record keeping when it comes to the contents of the home.
Consider photographing any possessions as well as the house itself, and store the pictures securely.
In the event of a disaster, this will provide a useful inventory to give to the insurance company.
Building insurance covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding the property itself.
Some insurers will ask that the homeowner puts down an approximate sum to cover the cost of a rebuild, while others will issue a 'one size fits all' sum.
Do not assume that the rebuild value of the house is the same as the current market value of the property.
It is possible to live in an area where house prices are particularly high, but the rebuild amount is comparatively low.
The wrong assumption could lead to more expensive insurance premiums.
Posted by David Leonard
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