Between household names, insurers that date back to the Great Fire of London, brokers and newcomers, it’s hard to tell who has the best home insurance policies. Selectra provides you with the information you need to pick the right contents and building insurance policies.
Top UK insurance companies
At Selectra, we aim to give you the necessary information that will help you choose the right home insurer whether you live in a flat or semi-detached house. Let’s take a quick look at some of the top home insurance companies and see how they compare.
Aviva insures 2.8 million UK households for both car and home insurance. They got their start with fire insurance in the late 17th century, after the Great Fire of London. Their home insurance policy is notable for being fairly straightforward and the fact that there are no set upper limits.
Axa started up in France and is now active across 60 countries. Axa is no slouch in the UK insurance market. They also act as underwriters for many high-street insurance brands, from Homeguard to household names like Marks & Spencer.
Covea does things a bit differently when compared to other companies. They specifically sell their insurance through third-party brokers exclusively. Covea is fairly new entrant to the UK insurance game. They came out of the merger between Provident and Norman Insurance, two respected insurance companies.
LV (Liverpool Victoria, don’t confuse them with Louis Vuitton) are a well-established British insurer whose heritage takes them back to the Industrial Revolution. They are also a noted underwriter working with brands like Asda. LV has partnered with one of the main insurance players in the world, Allianz.
Legal & General are one of the biggest insurers to remain British through and through. This is fairly unique for a market that is well known for its constant mergers and acquisitions. In terms of reviews, they are somewhat uneven across the difference insurance areas they deal with.
Ageas are a significant insurance provider in Belgium where they are better known for car or travel cover more than for home insurance. Their customer reviews are split down the middle when it comes to the service quality they provide, which is fairly standard for the insurance industry as a whole.
What’s the difference between home, building and content policies?
There can be a lot of slang when it comes to sorting out your home protection, let’s break it down and clear up what’s what:
- Home Insurance is an umbrella term for different types of policy that protect your home (whether it's a flat or a house). While there will be overlap, the various policies out there will cater to either homeowners or tenants.
- Building Insurance is compulsory if you’re a homeowner because in most cases homeowners cannot be expected to cover the full rebuild cost of a home. Building cover protects from damage to your house, specifically anything impacting the exterior, structural integrity or house fixtures (as opposed to furniture or personal belongings within the home). For this reason, mortgage companies and banks will make it a requirement to have it for anyone taking out a mortgage with them.
- Contents Insurance deals with everything that’s inside the home; from furniture to rugs, bedding to cutlery. There will be a category that will account for almost everything in your policy wording. Tenants insurance is a subset of content cover policies that is specifically designed for people who are renting as opposed to those who own a home.
home insurance works
Insurance provider vs insurance broker
Yet another one-word difference that has an impact on the kind of insurance you end up with for your humble abode.
Insurance provider: a company that underwrites the cost of loss or damage to belongings or property. An insurance company will define the types of risk it’s willing to take on in the policy wording that comes with the products they sell. They will process claims stemming from incidents such as burglary or high winds and if the circumstances fit the criteria described in the policy wording, they will assess compensation to be paid out to the customer who took out the policy.
What about brand name insurance?Everyone from supermarkets to online retailers is getting into the insurance craze, so what’s their deal? How does a supermarket go from stacking brussel sprouts to selling contents insurance? Simple: they are actually reselling someone else’s insurance product. This practice is known as white-labelling and it it isn’t unique to insurance. Essentially, it involves slapping a brand on a bog standard insurance policy. While the established insurer does all the heavy-lifting, managing policies and providing customer support, the high-street brand gets the attention.
Insurance broker: a high street, online or phone-based company that deals with more than one insurance provider. Good insurance brokers should be able to negotiate home coverage that is suited to their customers or at the very least cheaper than a retail policy. They provide extra value by giving bespoke advice to their customers. Shadier insurance brokers will push one or two policies over all the other ones even if they are not suitable, based on the commission they’ve secured for themselves.
If you are considering going with a broker, we recommend that you choose either a well-regarded local insurance broker with a longstanding reputation within your community or, if you are interested in an insurer who is only available through brokerage networks, you should reach out to them and ask them to recommend a policy broker near you.
How can I tell if a policy is decent?
These are our top tips when comparing home insurance policies like for like.
- Check the company and the insurance policy on Defaqto, an independent insurance rating service that is recognised industry-wide. Having a decent Defaqto rating (even if it isn’t the full five stars) means that companies and policies will meet certain requirements for the scope of coverage and customer service.
- Identify those belongings that have the most value and then decide what category they fall under. Then locate the policy wording and compare how each one
- Think about your home and the area you live in. How vital is home security in your area? What are the adverse weather events that are common in your county? Is subsidence (ground movement affecting building structures) a known issue with your home? Insurance policies cover a wide-range of misfortunes and situations. You need to make sure that the ones that are most likely to affect you are accounted for in the policy documents of your chosen insurance plan.
- Make sure you are comfortable with the excess amounts because you will be fully liable for them. This means that you’ve chosen to shoulder part of the cost relating to a claim.