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When it comes to understanding and identifying the cause of most industry breakthroughs, there tends to be a pinnacle event or occasion which sparked the development of a trend – and eventually led to the creation of a new industry. In the case of home insurance, this began on Pudding Lane after the Great Fire of London; when it became clear that consumers had nothing to cover the damage done to their properties as a result of fires which were, during that period, commonplace and easy to lose control of.
In 1681, The Insurance Office for Houses in London was set up, and since then home insurance is an industry which has gone from strength to strength, developing in line with the trends in home styling and construction, so that policies continue to cover the things that matter most to consumers. More than anything, time has seen home insurance – alongside other insurance industries – become more versatile and more flexible, with 1995 being the year that the market opened up to give consumers a choice of different providers, not just in terms of who they open a policy with but also in terms of what exactly that policy should cover.
To look at the home insurance industry on a global scale, it soon becomes clear that the insurance as a whole can be split into three main areas of focus: Building Insurance, Contents Insurance, and Combined Insurance.
What these three areas of focus do is allow the consumer to pick and choose which parts of their home life they wish to insure – creating options for both homeowners who own the building as well as what is in it, the Landlords who own the buildings but not the contents with them, and renters who utilise and enjoy all their own contents but have no part in the ownership of the building. The three main types of home insurance mean that all of these different demographics can benefit from full coverage of what they actually own – without overpaying for something that they shouldn’t have to cover.
And this is where deals come in, and where the main tip advertised by any home insurance comparison site comes into play. Shop around. It is super easy for consumers to find great deals and to find a policy which really does only cover what they need – all the consumer has to do is commit to shopping around and researching different policies and providers to find the one most suited to them.
One of the challenges facing consumers is that providers can – and do – capitalise on the security of having an insurance policy and simply letting it run over year on year, safe in the knowledge that the consumer and their home is insured in the face of an accident or home disaster.
The first thing that consumers should note is that home insurance can either be paid up front for the full year, or in instalments following a deposit made at the start upon signing up for a policy. The former gets the full payment out of the way in one go, while the latter alleviates the pressure on one specific payment and spreads is across the year. While both payment terms demand the same fee and thus should make no financial difference to the payment made in the long term, consumers are advised by all insurance comparison sites to take time out every year to check the premiums that they are being charged, as one of the major drawbacks of the insurance industry is the lack of loyalty shown by providers to long term homeowners who insure their homes with them. With premiums rising every year, shopping around and switching providers is one of the best ways for consumers to ensure that they are always getting the best deal possible whether they are ensuring their home building, their contents or both.
In ascertaining exactly how insurance works, we then come on to what that premium does, and how different policy packages and deals work – what they cover, how they compare, and what homeowners need to do to ensure that they are getting the best deal.
A single premium is paid every year – either in one hit or in monthly instalments – which is designed to cover the home and consumer against all of the risks identified within their policy.
And this is where different policy packages come in. We have already established that home insurance can cover contents insurance, building insurance, or a combined single policy which covers everything. Within these three main types, there exist a whole host of other breakdowns; all of which help to drive consumers towards the policy which best applies to them – though in many cases it causes more confusion than support, and can lead many consumers to pay coverage for things they don’t even need.
Contents insurance is determined by the value and quantity of possessions you own, and can either be quoted based on the number of bedrooms a home has (the most basic level of calculation), on individual possessions and their estimated value, or with a full package which covers all contents under one umbrella payment. The last option is of course the most expensive and the least tailored – simply covering everything.
And the same is true of the top package level of home insurance in full – particularly when it comes to identifying and exploring the terms under which insurance can be claimed and paid out. When a consumer takes out home insurance, they will be provided with a terms and conditions policy document which lists and identifies every occasion under which they may claim for an insurance payment. This in essence refers to the liability included within the home insurance – meaning the details of payment and support.
The most basic level of insurance will likely list the situations and conditions under which an insurance claim could be made, with common examples including house fires, floods and vandalism. The main thing to note here is that anything that occurs outside of this list is not covered.
The secondary tier of insurance is a little broader and names additional perils which could also be covered by the insurance. Some common examples of these include falling objects like trees, burglary and frozen plumbing pipes.
The third and most inclusive tier essentially covers any kind of situation – unless it has been excluded purposefully.
As with all insurance industries, the biggest names in the sector tend to be made up of a combination of large insurance provider names, and brands which are renowned as reliable and trustworthy retailers in the public sector, for example John Lewis and Post Office, which offer their own insurance policies underwritten by the big names in the home insurance world. This is the same case as with large banks – using names and organisations that consumers are familiar with as the provider and operator of a policy which is underwritten by an insurance company. Some of the best examples of top home insurance providers include:
One of the major trends that is becoming more apparent as consumers continue to shop around across the home insurance industry is that steps can be taken to minimise the cost of insuring various products – whether it be finding ways of increasing security around high value contents, or taking suitable moves towards helping to prevent excess fire damage. Some of the most common and affordable steps that consumers are taking are:
Even proximity and living close to a fire station can be beneficial in receiving a quote for home insurance, as consumers can be likely to expect faster assistance in the wake of an emergency.
It is worth noting that there is also a distinct rise in the home insurance industry of consumers who are taking out individual policies on very high value items – choosing to name those items as individually insured pieces even if they do come under the umbrella contents insurance purchased by the consumer. What this does it provide an extra layer of protection for the consumer which can prevent a provider from turning around and claiming that the high value item is only classed as a standard item in the home and thus is not subject to extra compensation in the face of theft or damage. By taking out an individual policy on a specific item, that item receives its own coverage in line with its value – meaning that it is simply up to the consumer to ensure that their value estimate is as accurate as possible.
Another trend which can be used to explain much of the rise in home insurance premiums, though is of little help and use to consumers, is the simple fact that providers are increasing and upping their insurance quotes as a response to the rise in burglaries and unpredictable weather conditions which are continuing to cause destruction to and cause issues with homes around the world. A lot of this is of course dependent on the location of the house, with those situated on cliff edges, next to rivers and on regular hurricane paths most likely to be at risk of hugely inflated fees. However, the home insurance industry as a whole is seeing increase as these kinds of occurrences become more common, and so the consumer market is consistently needing to shop around in order to receive the full coverage without breaking the bank.
And one of the best ways to do this and to ensure that you are getting a great deal is to shop around and research the best insurance deals out there for your home – something which the growing number of comparison sites is helping to secure and manage. Consumers are always being told to shop around whether they are buying a new fridge or taking out a new insurance policy – but the problem often comes in finding the time to do that, and in employing the right skills in order to understand what you are looking at. The increase in comparison sites arriving on the market means that finally consumers have somewhere convenient and easy that they can go, with sites tending to ask a set of questions before delivering the various package deals and policies which are available according to different requirements and budgets. To take this cost saving even further, consumers can then take these quotes and determine how they might be adjusted if all of their insurance policies were held by the same provider, with many offering discounts for those who take out home insurance, car insurance, and even travel insurance with the same company.
Home insurance is not only a safety precaution against damage or theft to and inside your home – it can also be, in many cases, a minimum requirement to ensure that you are able to take out a mortgage or purchase a high ticket item on finance. The fact is that having home insurance means a consumer has taken responsibility for covering their home and possessions against damage – all things which prove reliability and responsibility to mortgage lenders and finance plan retailers, and can help ensure that a consumer gets the best deals across the board as they look to buy, rent or rent out a home. It also means that, in the case of mortgages lenders in particular, they are assured the cost of their investment back should something happen to the consumer’s home, whether it be a financial repayment or the rebuilding of the home.
To find the best deals, consumers should not only look to voucher sites and explore the benefit of taking out multiple policies with the same company, but should also turn to and use comparison sites as a support system to research and discover the best deals – whether they are a homeowner, a Landlord, a renter, or someone in between.
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