If you live in an area that’s prone to high winds or flooding, chances you’ll be paying more for your home insurance in 2008. The recent floods have resulted in claims running into billions and many insurers have already announced that premiums will be rising as a result. For the moment, those premiums are set to rise all over the UK, but that may be changing.
According to a recent report from the insurance industry, 90% of insurance professionals believe that premiums for those in flood-prone areas will rise sharply if the Government doesn’t increase flood defence spending. An additional 61% believe that price competition will force the industry to end its current practice of subsidising those in flood prone areas by charging higher premiums to everyone. That’s not likely to mean a reduction in premiums for those who live in areas with average risk, though.
The insurance industry has gone on record as stating that the Government has let down millions of homeowners and businesses in failing to commit enough resources to flood defences and improvements. Short of those defences being stepped up, though, there are some things that you can do to reduce your premiums if your property is in one of the UK’s home insurance black spots.
- Know the risk
If you are unsure if you live in or want to avoid moving to a flood prone area, the Environment Agency website has a map of you can view to check your property’s risk of flooding. However, this information can be limited and the best flood information is held by insurance companies. You can get access to this data at www.whatsmyfloodrisk.co.uk with a flood risk report costing £15.
- Be prepared
While you can’t prevent all damage to your home from extreme weather, you can reduce the amount of damage your house and property takes by investing in disaster proofing. If you live in an area prone to wind damage, for instance, install storm-proof windows to reduce the chance of window breakage. New, weather-tight windows will result in lots of savings, including lower premiums.
Note: This tip isn’t limited to those in disaster prone black spots. Nearly anything you do to reduce the likelihood of loss or damage to your home will result in lower premiums. Among the best improvements you can make:
- install a security system, particularly one that is directly wired to the police
- install smoke alarms and fire extinguishers
- install windows with break-resistant glass
- have your home inspected for wiring safety
- Combine cover if it makes sense
One commonly touted way to save money on your home building and contents cover is to combine the two types of cover in one, or insure your home through the same company that insures your car. This COULD save you money on premiums – but it still makes sense to shop around and compare the options. In most cases, the '10%' you save is on the cost of buying each insurance separately from that particular insurer. Before you make your decision, get quotes from multiple insurers using a price comparison website such as Moneysupermarket and Compare The Market to figure out which makes the most sense for you.
- Consider your excess
Another typical cost cutting measure is to increase the amount of excess that you’ll pay before the insurance company pays its share. If you’re in an area that’s prone to flooding, wind or other weather damage, you may want to weigh those savings against the potential outlay in case of future damage. In other words, the less the likelihood of having to pay out that excess, the more sense it makes to increase it. If there’s a good chance that your home will take some damage, it may be worth keeping the excess to a minimum. In any event, be sure that you can afford to pay the excess that you select.
PLEASE NOTE: The guidance published in this article is for information only and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation of any particular home insurance policy or company. If you are in any doubt please consult an independent insurance adviser. A database of advisers in your area is available at www.unbiased.co.uk
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