Faced with such a large number of insurance companies and all the home insurance policies they offer, comparing home insurance is the best way to find a policy that is tailored to your needs. In this section, you can find our reviews of insurance companies and comparisons of the home insurance they offer. Use these as a guide to help you find a provider and a home insurance policy that suits you and your home, all for a price that suits you too!
If this is the first time you are looking for home insurance, comparing policies will help you discover the market, get to know the different policies insurance providers offer, and distinguish between the guarantees that you need as basic cover from those that are optional extras providing that little bit more protection.
If you already have home insurance, our home insurance comparison guides are also for you. Why? If your situation has changed (e.g. you are now working remotely from home, you have installed a new home security system, or one of your children has left the nest...) it will have an impact on the price of your home insurance: sometimes this impact could mean a cheaper policy!
Comparing home insurance policies and/or requesting quotes online allows you to compare the current price of your home insurance to other rates. This can help you find a cheaper policy and so save money, or maybe just improve your cover for exactly the same price. You never know what offers you might find when you start comparing home insurance.
Compare home insurance: what factors should you compare?
There are a multitude of insurance providers that each offer several different home insurance policies. That’s why comparing home insurance is really important, but what should you compare? Price? To find a better home insurance policy that covers you and your home, simply comparing price is not enough. A top-notch home insurance policy is not defined by its price but by the benefits and guarantees it includes.
At the same time, not all home insurance policies will be suitable for you and your home. It is useless, for example, to have home insurance that includes cover for outbuildings if you do not have any. The same principle applies to a garden or other ‘outdoor facilities’ if you live in an apartment without a balcony. That’s why it is important to choose home insurance that is tailored to your individual needs: don’t end up being unnecessarily covered for things you don’t have, or conversely, not covered for things you do have.
Your profile and the characteristics of your home are essential elements to consider when determining what you need in a home insurance policy. For instance, a student renting a flat in the city will not have the same requirements as a homeowner in the countryside. Many criteria are taken into account by insurers when designing policies and determining prices. What are they?
The criteria concerning your profile are:
- Your age
- Your family situation (single, married, civil partnership, divorced...)
- The number of persons in your charge
- The number of people living in the property
- Your profession
- Your status concerning the property (tenant, owner, landlord...)
- The size of the property
The criteria concerning your property are:
- Its location
- The crime rate of the neighbourhood or city
- If you co-own the property or not (e.g. if you own it with your partner or individually)
- The age of the property
- The security of the property (e.g. do you have a house alarm and correct locks on your doors...)
- The fittings in your property (e.g. gas, electric...)
Insurance companies use these elements to calculate the price of a home insurance policy, but each insurer has its own vision of a perfectly secure property. This means that, for the same price, you can find home insurance policies with different claim limits, exclusions, excess rates, various optional add-ons and standard guarantees.
This is why you should look closely at the exact makeup of a policy that interests you (not just the price). The best way to do this is to use a comparison tool or do the comparisons yourself by requesting quotes online.How insurance works
Compare home insurance: the amount of insurance
As the name suggests, the amount of insurance refers to the amount of money for which your home is insured. There are two cases where the amount of insurance is used:
- In the event of a claim declared in your home affecting a neighbour or a third party. Here your civil liability comes into play and your insurance will compensate the victim(s) for the damage they have endured.
- In the event of a disaster occurring in your home that impacts the building or its contents, your home insurance will pay you compensation.
The amount of insurance depends on the amounts defined in your insurance policy. If, following a disaster, you realise the amount you are insured for is insufficient, it will be too late. The amount stated in your policy contract will be the maximum amount that you will be able to claim for. That’s why you need to make sure that the amount you are insured for is realistic and accurately represents the value of your home and its contents.
Another important point to take into account is that the amount of compensation for the contents in your home varies according to the value of insurance declared in your insurance contract. There are two different types of value:
- Use value: this is the real time value of something, taking the obsolescence (decline in value over time) amount into account.
- Replacement value: this is the replacement of a stolen or damaged item for the amount it was purchased for. Only certain items are covered by this type of insurance. Usually these items must be new (less than 2 to 5 years old, depending on the insurer). This is often referred to as new for old contents cover.
The ‘use value’ type of insurance is normally the cheaper option of the two.
It is very important to know how much the contents in your property are worth. Do not hesitate to make a written or digital listwith the purchase price of each item and remember to keep all of your receipts (you might have to provide them as proof in the event of a claim)!
Comparing home insurance lets you identify these different factors that define the amount of insurance you will need.
What is a claim limit? This is simply the maximum amount an insurer will reimburse you in the event of a claim. For example, you have suffered water damage in your home and the repairs are going to cost £2,000. Your insurance contract states that the guarantee of water damage has a claim limit of £1,500. This means your provider will pay you a maximum of £1,500, and you will have to front the rest of the costs yourself.
Each guarantee in a home insurance policy can have its own claim limit. Sometimes these limits can greatly restrict what a provider will pay out in the event of a claim. Even if a policy looks great on the surface and has lots of guarantees included, make sure you read all the conditions and claim limits: you might find the limits are too low for the value of your home and its contents.
If a claim limit is too low for you, what can you do? You could ask the insurer if they would be willing to take this guarantee out of your policy (if you have to pay most yourself for a claim, the guarantee is pretty useless!). This could reduce the price of the policy a little too. Before doing this, make sure the guarantee in question isn’t a particularly important one, such as the actual buildings insurance.
Alternatively, you can look at competitors offers by comparing policies and requesting quotes online. This way you might find a home insurance policy that offers the same guarantees for the same price, but has higher (or lower) claim limits that better suit your needs.
Compare home insurance: excess and prices
What is excess? Excess is the amount of money you (the policyholder) have to pay in the event of any claim. As with claim limits, each guarantee can have its own excess amount. You will often find that the excess is the same for most guarantees but more for water damage and subsidence claims. There are two types of excess:
- Compulsory excess - the amount of this excess is determined by the insurer.
- Voluntary excess - this is the amount you can choose to pay on top of the compulsory excess. The amount will be agreed before you take out your policy and stated in your insurance contract.
For example, an insurance policy might have a compulsory excess of £100 for a claim. You might agree a voluntary excess of £50 for any claim. So, if you make a claim for damage to your home, you will have to pay £150 of the repairs yourself.
Typically, higher excess rates reduce the amount of an insurance premium and lower excess rates will mean a more expensive policy. When comparing home insurance, never forget to look at the excess rate. When requesting quotes online, play around with the amount of voluntary excess you are willing to pay and see how it affects the price of your insurance premium.
Whatever the home insurance policy, there will be exclusions. An exclusion is a guarantee or event that you are not covered for. For example, in the event of a fire, there are typically exclusions for fire damage caused by a cigarette, an electrical appliance (such as an iron or straightener) left plugged in, or a poorly maintained object. This means that if a fire sparked by one of these excluded events occurs in your home, you will not receive any compensation.
Home insurance policies have lots of exclusions and these represent a big part of a policy’s terms and conditions. This is why it’s important to read all the policy documents to see what you are and are not covered for. If something you need covered is excluded, such as a burglary in your shed, the policy may not be the best option for you.
When using a comparison tool or requesting quotes online, select what you want covered and check for all exclusions.Home insurance exclusions
This is often the first thing we look at when comparing home insurance: what guarantees are included? These are the factors already included in the home insurance policy, including any excess, exclusions, claims limits and warranties.
A comprehensive homeowners insurance has basic guarantees to cover damage caused by natural disasters, fire and water damage, as well as protection for accidental damage caused to others, known as liability cover.
To make policies more flexible, most insurance providers also offer optional guarantees. These are guarantees that you can add on to your home insurance policy if you want them. Obviously, adding an additional guarantee will cost you a few extra pounds. Just like included guarantees, optional guarantees are also likely to have exclusions, excess, claim limits and warranties.
Optional guarantees, sometimes known as add-ons, allow you to buy extra cover to protect assets that were not originally insured, or extend the scope of existing cover. There are dozens of add-ons that providers can offer, such as accidental damage, home emergency cover and legal protection. Accidental damage, for example, will protect your cream carpet or sofa if you spill red wine on it.
Other optional extras might include cover for things outside your property, such as a swimming pool or hot tub (if you’re lucky!), garden furniture and your shed.
How to compare home insurance?
Comparing home insurance in detail through comparison tools is becoming more and more popular as people understand that solely comparing price is not enough. Obviously doing a home comparison allows you to see prices that can vary greatly depending on your requirements, criteria and the insurance provider, but that's not all.
As we have just seen, home insurance is made up of many different elements and each element affects insurance rates. That’s why it’s important to compare all these elements too.
Use a comparison tool or comparison guides
It can be difficult and time consuming to compare home insurance yourself, going through one insurer after the other. If you are in a rush, using a comparison tool is an easy and fast way to find the right insurance for your home and your profile. You can find your insurance in minutes and be protected quickly.
While comparison tools are great, they only show you the bare basics of a policy: price, excess, guarantees included. You still need to look at any home insurance policy that tickles your fancy in more detail. For example, read the policy documents for exclusions and warranties. And what about customer reviews?
This is where Selectra’s comparison guides can help you out. Not only do our guides compare the price of home insurance policies, they also offer a good analysis of what is included (and excluded), as well as a section on what current and past customers say about the policy in question.
Request quotes to find the best home insurance
Why ask insurance providers for quotes? By clearly explaining what cover you want, insurance companies will be able to offer you various personal deals for home insurance. These quotes will allow you to take stock of what you really want; what guarantees do you think aren’t necessary and what are essential.
Do not hesitate to ask for the general and particular conditions of a policy too, so you will have a complete picture of the options. A simple quote is not enough to have a full understanding of a policy.
By directly asking for quotes, you place yourself in a strong position. Is there an aspect of the policy you don’t like (a claim limit is too low, the excess is too high)? Let the provider know and negotiate with them. They might be able to compromise with you and you will have a better home insurance deal that is tailor-made to fully meet your needs!Compare insurance providers
Compare the price of home insurance: what does it cost?
The price of a home insurance policy can vary greatly: from £60 a year to a couple of hundred pounds a month. As you already know, the cost of home insurance varies depending on lots of different elements: your profile, type of home, the amount of insurance, the excess rate, the number of optional guarantees, claims limits and more.
For example, a student renting student accommodation will pay a lot less than the owner of a 4 bedroom house with a garden. Why? Just because:
- The size of the student’s property is smaller
- University residences are typically very secure
- A student room is usually furnished so a student has few contents to insure (just their phone, laptop, tablet etc)
In other words, the student’s room has fewer risks than a complete house so a policy will be cheaper.
The rates of a home insurance policy also vary according to the insurer. Some insurance providers are known to be more expensive; others are known to offer more attractive prices. Some companies reduce their operating costs by only selling their policies online or by telephone, which in turn allows them to offer lower prices. Some insurers will offer guarantees that you will not be able to find elsewhere, especially for the same price.
All providers and policies have their own advantages and disadvantages: the aim is to find a provider and policy that fits you the best.
Whether prices are expensive or affordable, customer service is also important. Do not sacrifice the latter for the first. In the event of a disaster, late refunds, unpleasant customer service and difficulties with getting in touch with your provider means your experience with the company can quickly turn sour.
Compare home insurance: our opinion on providers and policies
Have you found a home insurance policy that suits your needs? Are the guarantees, claim limits and amount of insurance appropriate and sufficient for your property? Does the insurer offer optional guarantees that might be useful to you? Will the basic home insurance policy offered adequately protect you?
These are all legitimate questions that are normal to have. That’s why we offer our opinion on home insurance policies and the insurance provider concerned. We also aim to show you companies in a new light via their history, governance and position in the market. Don’t leave anything to chance and read our home insurance guides to help you compare home insurance and find a good policy.