For the second year running, a survey of Britain’s most burgled areas has revealed that householders in Nottingham face an 88% greater risk of burglary than the national average. In Leeds and Hull, residents are 63% and 55% more likely respectively to make a claim on their home insurance due to burglary. The most secure place in Britain, on the other hand, is Guildford, where householders are 64% less likely than average to make a claim.
While Nottingham North MP Graham Allen was quick to defend his constituency and discount the survey findings, the research conducted by Endsleigh Insurance still raises questions for householders at higher risk of burglary. If you live in an area designated as high risk, for example, how can you improve the levels of security in your home? And how can you avoid punitive home insurance premiums, scaled higher purely because of the area you live in? The following Beat That Quote top-tips guide has been designed to help give you both security for your home and for your wallet.
Top five tips for reducing your home insurance premiums:
Shop around to reduce premiums.
Comparing home insurance companies and products is essential if you are to get the best deal. Insurers focus their marketing money on offering cut-price deals to new customers, while largely relying on inertia to retain existing policyholders. Even if your renewal is not due for several months, it is still worth looking around and ensuring that you are getting the best deal. BeatthatQuote.com is a quick and easy way to search a market that can be daunting in terms of the sheer number of insurance companies and products available.
Improve the security of your home.
Having a burglar alarm, window locks, and/or being a member of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme can all cut premiums. A good burglar alarm, for instance, may mean premium savings of 7.5%, while a membership of Neighbourhood Watch could mean a 5% saving on insurance premiums. See below for further tips on security in your home.
Be wary of ‘over-insuring’ your home.
It is essential that you do not expose yourself to risk by limiting the coverage of your home insurance purely to lower premiums. However, you may be able to cut some costs by checking whether you need cover for all items listed in a policy. For example, ‘all-risks cover’ for possessions outside the home is generally a cheap way of insuring a bicycle against theft, but you might already have similar cover for possessions under another, existing insurance policy – for example, a camera might be covered under travel insurance. It is worth checking your existing provisions, before paying out for additional, possibly unnecessary coverage.
Consider combining your building and contents insurance.
Building insurance quite simply covers anything in your home that won’t be taken away when you move house – for example, the structure of your home, as well as permanent fixtures such as your kitchen. Contents insurance covers all your possessions that will move with you. Many insurance companies offer joint building and contents insurance, which may well work out cheaper than taking on separate policies. If you have to make a claim, you may also find it’s easier to only have to deal with one company rather than two.
Be wary of making a claim for small amounts.
If you make a claim, it’ll often mean paying higher premiums in the future. Recent research suggests that you should only claim for amounts over £450; anything smaller and you’ll end up effectively paying it back in higher costs over several years. Set your voluntary excess to around £500 and you may reduce your premiums by as much as 20%.
Top five safety and security tips for your home:
Make your home look like somebody’s living in it.
If you go away on holiday, use automatic timer switches to turn your lights on when it goes dark; cancel any milk or newspaper deliveries; use Royal Mail’s ‘Keepsafe’ service to hold on to your mail for up to two months while you are away; and ensure that you’ve locked all outside doors and windows. If you have a burglar alarm, ensure you set it!
Fit proper locks and make access to your house more difficult for burglars.
Fit mortise locks (Kitemarked BS 3621) or bolts to all outside doors, and locks to all downstairs or easily accessible windows. Ensure all side or back gates are locked. Do not leave ladders or tools around that could be used by burglars to break into your home.
Have an approved alarm system installed.
Ask your local police and insurance company for advice on the best systems.
Is there a Neighbourhood Watch scheme where you live?
Your local police will tell you if there is a scheme in your area or help you to set one up. You can also get more information on Neighbourhood Watch at www.neighbourhoodwatch.net. If you are not part of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, at least talk to your neighbours – ask them to keep an eye on your home while you are away by parking their car on your driveway or opening and closing the curtains. By doing the same for them in return, you have a simple yet highly effective burglary prevention model.
No matter where you live, thinking ahead and keeping a close eye on available home insurance policies will save you money. By being diligent in your home security, you can also improve your insurance premiums – and ensure your peace of mind. It’s a win-win situation that’s surely worth a little more effort.