Insuremyhouse.ie’s annual price review has found that banks are charging up to 90% more than brokers for Home Insurance. Jonathan Hehir, MD of Insuremyhouse.ie, explains how important it is or homeowners to review all of their options before choosing an insurance provider.
Homeowners across the country are at the mercy of banks expensive pricing structures when it comes to home insurance. After running a cost comparison between the prices charged by brokers and banks, Insuremyhouse.ie advise anyone who has a home insurance policy in place, or is intending to take one out, to consider all of their options before choosing a provider.
The price differences are huge. In more than one case, the bank quoted a premium that was 90% dearer than the cheapest quote on the market. In monetary terms, we could see that one homeowner could be paying €178 more a year than their neighbour for the same home insurance – depending on who they take their policy out with.
“In monetary terms, we could see that one homeowner could be paying €178 more a year than their neighbour for the same home insurance – depending on who they take their policy out with.”
He points out that home insurance is not a core product for any bank, and that most banks treat home insurance as an add-on they can sell to homeowners who take out a mortgage with them.
“So banks are not trying to appeal to people based on price — hence the expensive quotes which are simply not competitive in the current marketplace. Our experience suggests that there is an assumption which permeates the mortgage holder market — that people are obligated to take out house and/ or life insurance with the bank with which they are taking out their mortgage.”
“This is simply not the case. And often what happens in these cases is that the cost of their insurance comes out with their monthly mortgage repayment which means that some people simply have no idea how much they are paying for cover.”
The annual savings are not insignificant, but when you consider that home insurance is a regular outgoing for most households, saving €100 a year over the life of a mortgage can really stack up.
Home insurance premiums tend to be far more stable than car insurance premiums at the moment, and that the product represents good value for money.
“However, that is not a reason for customers to rest on their laurels and simply let insurance premiums roll over when it comes to renewal time. These sample costings demonstrate the huge price differentials that exist in the market. We’re making it a priority to make people aware of this.”
My advice to anyone who already has a home insurance policy in place is to take out your policy details, and make a note of your renewal date in your calendar. A few weeks before this date, search the market for the best value instead of letting the renewal date roll around and accepting the new premium that your existing insurer offers you.
House Insurance: Not A Box Ticking Exercise
House insurance may be more stable but it is also a more complicated product that car insurance; there can be considerable differences between policies in terms of what they include and don’t include. Which means it’s not a box ticking exercise. You’ve got to research what’s out there and fit it to your needs and your budget.
Home insurance generally covers damage to the building, damage to contents, loss of or damage to valuables and injury to others in your home. You can actually get separate policies to cover these four risks, but in general, you’ll get a reasonable mix of convenience and value with a single policy.
Many tend to be unsure how much to insure their house for. The rule here is to insure your property for the cost of rebuilding it, not the market value. The Society of Chartered Surveyors has got a house rebuilding calculator on their website, scs.ie.
It’s important to get the amount just right. Under-insure and you may not have enough to repair or rebuild in the event of damage or destruction. Over-insure and you’ll end up paying extra without incurring any additional benefit in the event of a claim.
Policies can differ substantially between insurers so always check what’s insured and what’s not, particularly if your home is susceptible to risks like flooding or subsidence.
In general, policies will tend to cover you against damage — from flood, fire, storm, vandalism, subsidence, burglary, impact and leakage of oil or water from a domestic appliance. Ordinary wear and tear is never covered.
Sad Truth About Flooding
The bleak truth about flooding is that if you’ve been flooded, insuring yourself against it in the future is more or less impossible.
Despite remedial measures that have been put in the place in flood prone areas around the country, reports persist of insurance companies ‘blacklisting’ areas that hit the headlines when the waters rose.
Estimating the value of contents can require a little more work than figuring out the reinstatement cost of the building itself. Some companies have minimum amounts they cover for, and some calculate the value of contents as a fraction of the building cover.
Most stipulate an upper limit in the value of any one item; particularly valuable items should be listed separately on the policy. Photographing these items in case they get stolen is always a good idea.
Pay special attention to the detail of what forms of loss or damage are covered in this section of the policy because they can vary quite a bit between companies. Note that if your house is vacant for a certain period of time — usually thirty days — you are no longer protected. Moreover, good insurance cover doesn’t absolve you of your responsibility to look after what you’ve got. Goods stolen from the house without forced entry are not covered.
The cost of insurance varies depending on a number of items: Reinstatement cost, how much you’ve insured the contents for and where the house is located, as well as your previous claims experience.
There are several things that can be done to bring it down however.
You can sometimes trade off a lower premium for a higher excess, which is the first part of your claim that is not covered by the insurance company. In addition, if you’re aged fifty or over, you should be able to negotiate a discount. Installing a monitored alarm can deliver a substantial discount in some cases, as can installing additional smoke alarms. Most insurance companies insist on two as a matter of course.
Check the ‘add-ons’
Check policy ‘add-ons’ — extras like accidental damage are often costly and not always necessary. There’s little point in specifying valuable items such as iPads and bicycles if you opted for a higher excess.
Most insurers will offer discounts for people with alarms and/or monitored alarm systems. If you have one of these be sure to enquire whether any discounts apply. A monitored alarm could reduce premiums by up to 25%.
While these may have been expensive a few years ago the cost of alarm monitoring has reduced significantly so may be worth looking into now.
Good locks, a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, loyalty to a particular company as well as a good claims history can really also help lower your premium.
Call Insuremyhouse.ie now on 01 603 2999 to talk to one of our specialists or visit our quote page and get covered straight away.Get House Insurance Quote Now