INSURANCE

Ultimate Guide: Home Insurance Tips for First Time Buyers

In this post, Harris Balcombe share their expert advice on the importance of home insurance for first time home-buyers.

It seems obvious that if you own a home, you need home insurance. Yet, more than one-fifth of British homeowners don’t have home insurance to simply ‘avoid the additional cost’. Too many Brits are afraid to ask the simple, yet possibly life-changing question: “What exactly will home insurance do for me?”

Picture this: you’ve saved for a lifetime, finally bought your first house and are ready to move in – all is well, until a year into your new place you discover your house was involved in a serious fire. All your belongings (a.k.a ‘contents’) are destroyed and worst of all, you won’t be financially compensated to rebuild your property.

There are serious risks involved when you disregard the importance of home insurance. This guide will break down the essential information you need to know about the different types of home insurance available, what ‘premiums’ are, how loss assessors can help in the event of an insurance claim and most importantly, why you are overestimating the responsibility of home insurance.

Types of Home Insurance

There are two types of insurance; building insurance and content insurance.

  • Building Insurance covers your property in the event that:
  1. your home needs a complete rebuild or
  2. if it is partially damaged and needs repair work
  • Contents Insurance covers your personal possessions against damage from floods, fires, storms, and even theft
  • Possessions including electronics, clothing, carpets, curtains, furniture and more.

Simple, right? While it is a legal requirement to have building insurance (if you are on a mortgage), contents insurance is just as important – especially considering the average UK property holds over £45,000 worth of contents.

If you own high-value contents (£1,000 upwards for most policies) for example jewellery, artwork or hi-tech items, you will need to insure those items individually – this is important as these items are often the first to go if your home is burgled.

Life, market value and circumstances are in constant change, hence it is important to review your building and contents insurance at renewal. If for example, you build a new conservatory, you need to let your insurer know as it is likely to have increased the rebuilding cost of your property. Or if you own a piece of artwork and the artist had recently died, the insurance value of the piece is likely to have increased.

Food for thought: In 2016, over 37,000 fires occurred in places of residence in Great Britain and one-in-ten homes built were in high risk flood zones in the UK.

What Are ‘Premiums’ and How Are They Calculated?

Now, you may be asking – how much will building and contents insurance cost?

A premium is exactly that – an amount you pay for an insurance policy usually paid monthly or annually.

And the cost is essentially based on the likelihood you will claim your insurance policy which depends on:

  • What type of insurance you choose – both building and contents insurance?
  • Where you live – number of rooms? Year built? Smoke alarms? Brick or stone walls? Burglary-prone area? Flood susceptible? The list goes on…
  • Which insurance company you are covered by

Avoiding Rejected Home Insurance Claims

In the case that you need to make a home insurance claim, it can be a difficult time and the last thing you want is your home insurance company refusing to pay-out.

But you’re not alone – one in five home insurance claims in the UK are rejected and mainly due to failure to maintain property. To ensure a smooth home insurance pay-out, your best bet would be to appoint a loss assessor the moment you realise that you must submit a claim.

What is a Loss Assessor?

  • A loss assessor prepares, presents, and negotiates your entire claim
  • They co-ordinate with your insurer to ensure that you receive the full amount to which you are entitled
  • They identify the full extent of the damage, and all matters relating to both buildings and contents
  • They can help you to appoint specialist surveyors and contractors; supervising their work through to the conclusion of the project
  • And the best part – most loss assessors can offer free service to policy holders (the homeowner) when you use their supply networks

So, whether you are about to buy your first house, change your insurance company or make a home insurance claim, the importance of keeping on top of your home insurance in an ever-changing environment is a crucial part of your own well-being and safety.

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