what should i ask before taking out home insurance
When it comes to taking out Insurance that protects ourselves and our home. We often just go for the cheapest premium. But there are more important points to consider before taking out Cover. So, what should I ask before taking out Home Insurance, or any Insurance policy for that matter?
What percentage of claims are actually paid out to customers and how long does it take for claims to be paid?
Is the Insurance Provider currently in a good financial position?
The first question needs no explanation, but the second may raise a few eyebrows. The Insurance company certainly won’t thank you for asking the question, but we feel it’s an important one. If the Insurance Company is loss making, are they going to be able pay your claim. Or could it be an extra incentive for them to try and get out of paying your claim.
It’s an ordinary October evening and a family returns from an evening out to find the house a blaze and firefighters present. They were later to find out that their home was burgled and then set a light by the perpetrators. Devastated of course, but were consoled by the fact they renewed their cover with the cheapest provider on one of the comparison websites a couple of months beforehand. They couldn’t remember the name of the insurer but checked their emails and found the name and policy details. They hunted a claims number for them and began the claims process.
A year down the line after countless phone calls and a threat of legal action by the insured, the family receive a settlement figure from the insurer. It matched the cheapest quote receipted by the four builders which came out to assess what the cost would be to reinstate the home back to it’s former glory. It was well under what the family felt was needed and summed up their experience of the insurance company, which from the outset, they felt was only concerned with paying out as little as possible.
Thinking back, they’d never heard of their Insurance company, had no knowledge of what their customer service was like and certainly didn’t consider asking either of the above two questions. But they were the cheapest at only £11 per month for Buildings & Contents and as we have all been guilty of doing, we assumed all insurers are the same.
Little did they know, for an extra £8 per month they could have gone with an Insurer such as Zurich who paid out 99% of General Insurance claims in 2018. There are plenty of other insurers out their too, which for similar monthly premium costs, also pay percentage of claims to customers in the high 90’s.
The above case study is an extreme example, but this is why we take out Insurance. To cover us from the worse thing that could happen.
The sad truth is we’re happy to pay £10-£20 per month for Mobile Phone, Boiler or Sky TV cover. Which ironically, in some circumstances, all be covered on the one Home Insurance Policy. But when it’s to do with our home, we’re more concerned with scrimping on cost on arguably the most important cover we have along with Life, Critical Illness and Income Protection cover.
What should i do before taking out an insurance policy?
Check out the cheapest Providers on the comparison websites and also look at those which are not on the comparison sites. Then see if you can answer the two questions by a search on Google or the Insurers website. Or better yet, seek advice from a Financial Advisor, and get them to do the leg work. You’re looking for a high pay-out in claims at a percentage in the high nineties. The Second question is slightly more difficult but can be easily found if the company is traded on the London Stock Exchange for example. You could just look up their latest years annual results. Alternatively, find out the old-fashioned way and pick up the phone.
In addition, have a look and see what their existing customers have got to say about them. Do they have good recent reviews on Google, Feefo and Truspilot? Look out for gripes specifically from customers which have had to claim.
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