Choosing the right cover for your home

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If you’re a first-time home buyer then choosing the right cover, like home insurance, can be a bit of a daunting task. From picking the right provider to choosing the relevant cover for your property, there are many things to consider. But taking your time and considering all of your options will pay off, ensuring that you’re not only comfortable with your choice but also that it is the right cover and that you and your home are protected no matter what.

As Scotland’s biggest property site, we know a thing or two about homes, so we’ve put together some thoughts on home insurance and other protection cover that should help guide you, and maybe help save you some money too.

Knowing the types of insurance

There are two types of insurance cover for your home: building and contents. Relatively easy to distinguish between the two as the names suggest, building insurance covers the building itself, including permanent fixtures and often built-in appliances. Whereas contents insurance covers your belongings, including electricals, clothes, furniture and even sports equipment like bikes. Contents can even expand to cover items in your garden or stored within your shed, like lawnmowers.

If you are a homeowner, you will need to organise both of these, but for renters, you should only be responsible for protecting the contents of your home. For example, if you are renting a flat and currently pay factor fees associated with the building which are paid to the local authority for maintenance in communal areas, your building insurance may also be covered in your fees. You don’t want to be paying twice for something you are already covered for so it’s always worth checking with the landlord or letting agent that building insurance is already covered.

Ensure you cover everything

For your building insurance, you need to insure the property for the value it will cost to rebuild – not the amount you bought the property for. Think of it as if the property was to be knocked down and built from scratch, just the bricks and mortar, how much would that cost?  The home report will indicate the amount you should insure your home for, but as this might change over time, you can get a rough estimate from the Association of British Insurers using their calculator tool.

Make sure that when you’re getting quotes that you mention any outhouses or additional buildings connected to your property that you will also want to be covered.

For contents cover, you are looking to calculate the value of your belongings in the event that you might have to replace everything. One tip is to go from room to room and value each individually and then add it all up at the end. Remember to include the cost of replacing furniture, carpets and especially high-value items like TVs, laptops, appliances and personal belongings. If you have any valuable personal belongings like jewellery, artwork or collectors’ items, you may want to insure these separately or with a specialist insurer. These items may not be able to be replaced but you will want to have them valued just in case.

Getting additional cover

It’s always worth checking the small print when it comes to home insurance, for both building and contents. For example, some lenders may not cover you for things like; accidental damage caused by yourself, wear and tear on selected items, personal belongings taken out of the home and home emergencies. Don’t make assumptions when it comes to your home cover, check the details, speak to the lender and if you need to, take out extra cover. It will be worth the peace of mind.

Finding the right provider

Like anything, shopping around will help you find the best deal and the right provider. The easiest way to do this is through comparison sites such as Compare the Market or Using these sites will allow you to provide all of the relevant details and then be served with multiple results to choose from. You can then tailor the coverage based on your needs and your budget.

You can also speak to your mortgage lender or bank for suitable insurance companies, plus there are other providers that don’t use comparison sites such as Direct Line, Zurich and Aviva.

Most coverage will last a year so remember to shop around for renewal quotes when the time comes. Your current lender may not have the best price at that time so don’t always assume because you’re an existing customer that you’re getting the best price.

Ways to reduce your insurance costs

For some, depending on your property type and cover required, insurance can be expensive, and it can be tempting to pay less for less coverage. But try to avoid taking this risk and instead consider some other ways of reducing the costs without compromising on your cover.

  • Increase your security. Some insurers could give discounts based on the type of locks you have, alarms installed and even if you have security cameras.
  • Increase the excess on your policy. If you’re happy to cover more of the claim yourself, this could reduce your premium.
  • Build up your no claims discount.
  • Pay annually. If you can, paying your coverage in one go for the year could save you more than paying monthly.

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