If you’re lucky enough to get on the property ladder an important step is making sure your home is adequately insured.
As well as mortgage protection another important type of insurance cover that everyone needs is home and contents insurance, which helps protect your home and your belongings should the worst happen.
Our aim at bonkers.ie is to help you reduce the price you pay for your insurance but not your level of cover, and when it comes to insuring your home we treat it no differently.
Here are 10 ways to help reduce your home insurance costs.
Making sure your home is safe and secure is often one of the first things new homeowners rightly check before moving in. The obvious ones include locks and bolts on doors and windows but can also include measures such as electric gates to your property.
What many homeowners may not be aware of is that insurers often give discounts off home insurance for customers who have increased security measures in place in their home. Generally speaking security measures are anything that make your home safer and can include the following:
When it comes to security systems for your home there are no legal requirements. This of course is aside from smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms in new build homes. However, having alarms, fire extinguishers and escape ladders for example can make a significant difference to your premium, and more importantly, help to save lives.
These systems can be expensive however and not every system qualifies for a discount. Before you make an investment find out from your insurer what they recommend and conduct a mini cost analysis to make sure the savings on your premium would make it worthwhile.
When applying for home insurance many customers might not be aware of certain potential risk factors in their home, and insurance after all is protecting yourself against risk.
For this reason many insurance companies will offer reductions on your premium if you don’t have certain high-risk items in your home such as trampolines, tree houses, and even outdoor or indoor hot tubs.
Make sure to contact your insurer for a list of high-risk items and see if getting rid of any might positively affect your premium.
A simple one but something many people are either reluctant to do or possibly don’t think of.
Ringing up your existing insurance provider and asking what they would recommend can be as effective as any of the measures given here.
Sometimes a simple conversation over the phone with a qualified professional who knows your policy can work wonders for helping to bring down your costs.
Even if you’re applying for the first time, make sure to ask as many questions as possible.
In many parts of the world, including Ireland, adverse weather conditions can negatively impact the security of homes. And while homeowners in Ireland won’t be installing hurricane shutters any time soon, risk factors such as flooding and subsidence do take place.
While it’s impossible to predict and protect against a natural disaster such as flooding, putting measures in place to prevent the effects of excess rain for example can be invaluable for reducing insurance costs.
Making your home more weather resistant also means you're less likely to have to make a claim and therefore less likely to lose any no-claims bonus.
Maintaining pipes and drainage systems in and around your property can help prevent potential foundation issues from occurring, while making sure pipes have lagging can also prevent pipes bursting in winter.
Retrofitting and more extensive home upgrades such as upgrading your heating and plumbing and reinforcing your roof can also go a long way in helping to bring down the price you pay for cover. Replacing old electrical systems and piping can also help to reduce the risk of fire and water damage which insurance companies will look favourably on.
As with point number one, find out from your insurance company or broker what steps you can take to make your home more resistant to flooding, windstorms and other natural disasters.
An excess is the amount of money you have to pay when you make a claim on your home insurance. Your insurer covers the rest of the cost. The standard excess is usually anywhere between €200 and €500.
Generally speaking, if your excess is low you’ll be paying a higher premium, but if your excess is higher your premium will be lower.
Therefore, increasing your excess more often than not leads to a reduction in your premium.
Customers should note that the excess for water damage and subsidence claims can often be far more expensive than the standard excess.
Additionally, consumers should consider the pros and cons of upping their excess. For example, if your excess is €500 and you need to claim for €10,000 worth of damage you won’t mind taking the hit. However, if you need to replace a lock or electrical system at a cost of €800 then it’s likely not worth your while claiming for the remainder.
Most insurance providers will knock some money off your bill if you choose to pay upfront.
This is the same for most types of insurance cover, car insurance in particular.
Paying in one lump-sum payment won’t be for everyone and many people will prefer the ease of paying month to month, just so long as you know you’re paying for the privilege.
If you’re looking to take out home insurance for the first time only take out cover for what you need. Many families and homeowners over insure their home and its contents. This can be due to not being fully aware of the value of their home and possessions.
Equally, don’t under insure just because you’re looking for a cheaper premium.
When it comes to home insurance your level of cover should be based on the estimated cost of a rebuild including labour and materials, not on the sale value of your property. This is important to remember because rebuild costs are usually much less than your property’s market value, particularly in urban areas.
While most insurers will have their own house rebuild calculators, you can always head over to the SCSI’s site and use theirs which will tell you what the actual cost is based on your house type, square footage and location.
If you already have an insurance policy, or know you’ll be taking one out in the near future, do some research and find out what companies provide a discount on their home insurance for existing customers.
Oftentimes you’ll find that insurance companies offer a discount to customers who already have a policy with them, say for car insurance. Even if they think they don’t, there’s no harm in checking.
One of the most effective ways to reduce your insurance costs is of course to shop around and as a general rule of thumb, and as a consumer in general, you should never go with your first offer.
And remember, similar to mortgage protection cover, you don’t have to take out home insurance with your mortgage lender; you’re free to compare the market.
Whether you’re approaching renewal time or taking out a new policy, take some time to review your options, and all the points in this list, to make sure you’re not being overcharged and have the right amount of cover in place at the right price.
And remember as your circumstances change, so as you make home improvements or purchase big ticket items, don’t forget to amend your policy as you go.
Did you know you can compare a range of insurance policies from all of Ireland's main insurance providers on bonkers.ie?
Visit our insurance page today and easily compare policies across life, mortgage protection, and specified illness cover.
At bonkers.ie we've got you covered.