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How to find cheap home insurance

Finding the right home insurance quote for your circumstances can be a dizzying experience full of jargon and extras that you're uncertain about. If you're struggling to find clear home insurance quotes that work for you, Choose can help.

On this page, you'll find home insurance quotes to suit you, taking in the range of insurance options including contents and buildings insurance to keep your property covered.

This home insurance comparison tool allows you to find a policy which offers all the cover you need whilst also looking for the best price. It allows you to see how much you might save by switching home insurance to a different provider, so it's especially valuable at renewal time when your premiums are likely going up.

Choose are an Introducer Appointed Representative (IAR) of Seopa Ltd. This means we have access to their quote databases supplied by up to 50 UK home insurance providers, so we can show you dozens suitable quotes with every search.

Like Choose, Seopa Ltd are also independent and aren't owned by or have any investment from any insurance company. This means the quotes you'll find on the Choose website are provided without any bias and you can be sure that you're receiving an impartial quote.

We know that finding quality home insurance at a reasonable price can be stressful. Our free home insurance comparison tool aims to eliminate that stress by searching a number of insurance deals in one place.

Choose are proud to give 5% of our profits to charity every year as part of our commitment to give back to the community. You can learn more about our current charity partnerships by visiting this page.

What are the different types of home insurance?

If you're searching for home insurance quotes, it's likely you're searching for cheap contents insurance or buildings insurance.

These are the two main types of home insurance on the market, although there are different home insurance options available for unusual homes such as those with thatched roofs or listed buildings.

While home insurance isn't a legal requirement, it's often true that mortgage and tenancy agreements will insist you have some level of home insurance as part of the contract. For homeowners, this is likely to be buildings insurance, while contents insurance is usually heavily advised for both homeowners and those living in rented accommodation.

Contents insurance quite simply insures the contents within your home, ranging from your sofa through to your fridge and everything in between. It's worth having because if someone emptied your home tomorrow, you'd have to pay quite a bit to replace all your things.

Buildings insurance covers the structure of your home such as walls and roofs, along with anything that could be considered a permanent fixture or fitting such as bathroom suites and fitted kitchens.

Combined contents and buildings insurance policies are available but check quotes for home insurance both combined and separately to check you're getting a good deal.

Like other insurance policies, home insurance quotes generally include a compulsory excess to prevent minor claims, plus a voluntary excess which will lower your monthly premiums but will mean you pay more upfront if you make a claim.

What should I look out for when buying contents insurance?

Contents insurance guards against the costs of replacing your belongings if they're stolen, damaged or destroyed in some way. Think of contents as anything that would be taken with you if you moved home, including furniture, electricals and jewellery.

There are two ways insurers having of settling home contents insurance claims - on a new-for-old basis or on an indemnity cover basis.

With new-for-old insurance, your home insurance policy will cover the cost of a brand-new product of equivalent value to the one that was damaged or stolen. On the other hand, indemnity cover will take into consideration any wear and tear on items like furniture and clothing. New-for-old policies can be more expensive because their pay outs are generally higher.

There are also three main types of home contents insurance cover you will come across: bedroom rated, sum insured, or unlimited sum insured.

With a bedroom rated policy, the insurer will calculate the amount of cover you receive by using the number of bedrooms in your home as their guideline. Conversely, sum insured policies will require you to calculate the amount of cover you need, and they'll give you a quote from there. Unlimited sum insured policies are, as they sound, unlimited and cover all your contents with no limit.

Beware of what isn't included in a policy. For instance, cover for accidental damage is often limited in standard policies, so some people opt for extra coverage as a policy add-on.

Do I need buildings insurance?

Buildings insurance is designed to cover the costs of any damage to the structure of a property. This could be through fire, natural disasters or weather issues through to malicious damage, subsidence and even vehicle collisions.

While buildings insurance isn't legally required, mortgage companies will often demand you purchase a policy to effectively safeguard their investment in your property - if your home burns down without being insured, they lose their money.

Equally, a landlord with a buy-to-let mortgage will generally require buildings insurance to safeguard against any structural damage to the property while it's being rented out.

If you don't have a mortgage and own a property outright, the commitment to have buildings insurance won't be there. However, consider the potential costs of dealing with a car crashing into your living room or someone breaking your door down. It's much cheaper to guard against it than to hope it never happens and deal with the consequences when it does.

Buildings insurance policies are either sum insured or bedroom rated. Sum insured policies are calculated by looking at how much it would cost to rebuild your home from scratch. Conversely, bedroom rated cover is more straightforward and offers an estimated rebuild cost rather than the more precise sum insured cost. For this reason, though, bedroom rated policies can be pricier.

Remember to check what isn't included in your policy. This varies from provider to provider and may even depend on the level of cover you choose.

Examples of exclusions include damage caused by neglect, poor workmanship, frost damage to exterior of property, storm damage to gates and fences, damage caused by pests, and general wear and tear.

It's also worth checking whether your policy is dependent on the property being occupied for a certain number of days in a row. This is often set at 30 consecutive days, and a policy may be void if this is breached.

Are there any insurance add-ons I should know about?

Insurers will generally offer standard home insurance at a low price and then offer to bundle it together with extras to make a more attractive insurance policy.

It's important to check whether you genuinely need the add-ons and, indeed, whether they're offered as standard with other policies or as standalone cover that might be more economical.

For instance, home emergency cover is often appealing as it sounds as though it covers the cost of a new boiler. However, the small print may suggest it will only contribute a few hundred pounds to the cost rather than paying for the whole thing. Along with this, some boilers are already covered by their own policies from manufacturers or suppliers, so check what you've got before you sign up.

Accidental damage is a key element that many people may think is sufficiently covered by their policies, but it might not cover everything you think it should. If you have expensive furnishings, for example, paying a little extra per year to protect them from damaging them by accident may be worth the money.

Other common extras include personal possessions cover for personal items outside the home, legal expenses cover in disputes like personal injury and property damage, and even downloads insurance to cover any lost digital content such as music, films, games and software.

Do tenants need home insurance?

While buildings insurance should be taken care of by a landlord or property owner, it's good practice for tenants to have contents insurance when they're living in a rented property. Some tenancy agreements may even make this a condition of your lease.

There's generally no difference between contents insurance for tenants and contents insurance for homeowners. The principle of insurance is the same, and the same calculations and types apply.

Where you may run into some problems is if you rent a room in a property where others live in a non-family environment, i.e. a flat share or as a lodger. In this instance, contents cover may be a little harder to obtain.

From an insurance company's perspective, someone living in a non-family rented home boosts the possibility of a claim as they believe it's more likely items will be damaged or stolen. Consequently, you're seen as a bigger risk.

To insure you on a room-only basis, an insurance company will need to be assured you're taking relevant steps to keep your property safe.

This will likely entail a lock on the door of the room you're renting which must be kept locked when you are not in the property. Don't rely on saying that the lock was forced when it wasn't - no sign of forced entry could void your claim.

In addition, don't leave personal items in communal areas and expect them to be covered by the policy unless there's a clear sign of forced entry into the property.

Will checking a quote impact my credit score?

There's a difference between getting a quote for home insurance and fully applying for home insurance. While the first one won't leave a permanent mark on your credit record, the second one will.

When you request a quote from an insurer, you'll need to input details of your circumstances as well as your address. This helps an insurer check what level of premiums to offer based on various algorithms relating to the amount of crime in an area and your claims history.

Be aware that lying on your insurance application is a sure-fire way to have your policy cancelled as soon as they figure it out or voided when you try to make a claim and they work out you weren't entirely honest. Don't be tempted to tell half-truths in exchange for cheaper premiums - it will backfire on you.

So, once you've put in all your details, you're the insurer will perform what's known as a "soft" credit check. This allows them to see that the information you've given them is accurate and that it tallies with everything the major credit reference agencies know about you.

This soft credit check leaves a footprint on your file and it can only be seen by you and the credit reference agency. It disappears after 12 months, and it has no impact on your credit score.

However, the moment you apply for home insurance rather than just looking for quotes, the insurer will take a "hard" look at your account. The search they undertook into your finances is visible to other lenders when they do their searches.

Can I apply for home insurance online?

Applying for home insurance online is straightforward.

Use the Choose comparison tool to narrow down your criteria. For instance, decide whether you want to search for contents insurance, buildings insurance or a combination of the two. Simply enter your preferences and see what quotes are offered.

It's always a good idea to check contents and buildings insurance quotes both on their own and in conjunction with the other option. It doesn't necessarily follow that a quote containing both types of home insurance from one insurer will be cheaper than taking them separately from two insurers.

Once you find a quote you like the look of, simply click through the verified link you find within the listing and follow the instructions you find on the insurer's website. Remember, insurance companies want you to choose their products, so they generally make their application process straightforward.

Before you sign up to any home insurance policy you should ensure you know exactly what it covers and what it doesn't cover. As a legal requirement, all home insurance cover has a cooling off period of a minimum of 14 days, so if you do realise you've signed up for the wrong policy, you can cancel within that time.

Bear in mind, though, that you'll only be refunded for any premiums paid during the cooling-off period, and those covering the days the policy was in force can be withheld. There'll also be an administration fee.

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