Shop Around – As with all other purchases that you make, shop around. There are numerous insurance companies providing home insurance on the Irish market. You should take the time to contact most, if not all of them, to get a quote. Provided you have no tie in to your mortgage lender, you can go directly to an insurance company or via an insurance broker.
Someone you can trust – You should always go with a reputable and established company. There’s no point in taking risks. Check if they have industry accreditation. If necessary, ask around amongst colleagues and friends to see if they’ve heard of a particular company. And remember, no matter how good a website is, the company should have a call centre, sales staff, and a proper postal address for their office – if none of these exist, be careful.
Multiple policies with same company – Some companies provide discounts if you hold more than one insurance policy with them. So if you already have car or life insurance with a single company, ask for a quote for your home insurance, and ask if they can offer you any discount seeing as you’re providing them with all of your insurance business.
Special Offers – Always keep an eye out for special offers that may be offered at various times by different insurance companies. For example, look out for money back guarantees such as “If you find a cheaper deal elsewhere, we’ll refund the difference”. This can assure you that you’re not being stung. Another promotion may be something like “one month’s insurance free if you pay monthly by direct debit”. These can give good value.
Only buy cover you need – As with car insurance, only buy the cover you need. Make sure that you need all the cover that you are getting. There is no point paying for cover of the shed or garage contents if you do not have a shed or garage. Asking for this cover to be removed should reduce your premium.
Have your policy to hand – When ringing around looking for quotes, have your existing policy with you so you can answer the relevant questions, and ask important questions of your own. If you’re sure your existing policy meets your requirements, use this as the basis for requesting a quotation from a potential new insurer.
Check the small print – Remember, sometimes just because an insurance company has sold you a policy this does not mean you’re eligible to claim on it. If you have any concerns, get them to confirm to you that you are covered in particular situations – in writing if possible.
No Claims Discount – Ensure that the insurance company knows if you have not claimed on your home insurance in the past. As with car insurance, no claims discounts increase with time. This could save you up to 20-30% after five years without a claim.
Payment Options – If you are able, it is an idea to pay your full insurance premium in one lump sum rather than through monthly repayments. This can save you money as some companies may charge you a rate of interest for the privilege of paying monthly, on top of your premium.
Security Benefits – Remember that having security systems fitted (security locks and alarms) will have the effect of decreasing your premium. It is also possible that if there is a local Neighbourhood Watch scheme, by joining it, you could cut up to 10-15% off your premium also.
Larger Excess – You could bring down your premium costs by volunteering to pay more of an excess towards the cost of each claim. Only do this if you can afford to do so however.
Brokers vs Direct – A ValueIreland.com reader sent us this tip where they received a quote from an insurance broker for an insurance policy with a particular insurance company. Our reader rang the company directly and got a quote for the same policy going direct rather than via the broker, and found that they could get the policy at a significant discount than from the broker. Something to check out if you normally use a broker.