Tag Archives: home insurance

Remember home insurance on bonfire night

remember your home insurance on bonfire nightBonfire night is one of my favourite times of year, whether attending an organised firework display or a DIY job in the back garden. The latter being particularly hazardous as according to NHS statistics there are around 1,000 firework related injures a year on 5 November, with more than 50% happening at private parties at home.

If you decide to invite a few friends around to put on a show, then it is important that you check your home insurance includes personal liability cover, in the event that one of your guests is injured.

Home insurance claims increase by 25% on bonfire night compared with the daily average. Not only the odd stray firework causing havoc and liability incurred, the number of burglaries also goes up as more homes are left empty at night.

A few straight forward measures should be taken before the big night, prevention always being the best cure:

  • Check your home cover includes personal liability insurance and read the wording.
  • If going out make sure all the doors and windows are locked with keys removed.
  • Only buy fireworks from a legitimate retailer, check for damage before lighting.
  • Buy fireworks suitable for your size of garden to keep matters under control.
  • Fireworks should be stored in a safe place under the supervision of an adult.
  • Read the instructions carefully during daylight or with a torch.
  • Move fireworks well away from people and property.
  • Dispose of sparklers safely in a bucket of sand or water.
  • Keep pets indoors.

Take on board all the do’s and don’ts and above all have a good time.

Buildings sum insured calculator

calculating the cost of your home buildingsSelecting a rebuilding sum insured sufficient for full reinstatement of your home can be a challenging task. If you had a recent home buyers report or survey done, then the surveyor who is the expert in this field should advise of the rebuilding or reinstatement cost. If not, you could use the Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors website http://abi.bcis.co.uk as guidance. This service is free to use after registering with an email address.

The buildings or rebuilding sum insured only relates to the cost of full reinstatement of your home should disaster strike resulting in the entire property needing to be rebuilt. The market value of a home has no connection with the rebuilding cost. A good example which I use for time to time is the difference in market value of two identical houses: one located near a motorway, the other a few miles away down a no through road. The purchase cost would be completely different, but exactly the same in terms of the rebuilding cost. Materials, processes of building and labour costs are the factors involved in the rebuild figure. The older the house, the more it costs to rebuild compared with a similar sized modern property, as the cost of materials and usually the processes involved in construction are more expensive. Listed buildings can cost even more to rebuild as there may be local authority and heritage body requirements to meet, which pushes up the cost.

You will need to find out the gross external floor area of your home. Measure the length and width of the external walls, then add together in feet or metres and multiply the figure by the number of stories in your home. Permanent fixtures and fittings should also be included, such as fitted kitchens, bathrooms and wardrobes. Garages, carports and outbuildings, such as sheds, garden and fuel stores, summerhouses and greenhouses should also be taken into account, along with terraces, patios, paths, walls, gates fences, hedges and if you’re lucky enough swimming pools.

Calculating the cost of a block of flats is far more tricky, as you have dividing walls and multiplies of kitchens and bathrooms to take into consideration. For flats seek professional advice from a building surveyor.

Please remember, even when you live in a house or bungalow, the BCIS website is a guide only. For accurate advice we recommend speaking to a building surveyor.

Home contents insurance new for old

Home Contents Insurance new for old coverModern policies usually come with ‘new for old’ settlement as standard for contents and personal possessions, with no deduction for wear and tear and depreciation. The only exception being clothing and linen, which generally have a short life span. Great for the insuring public and beneficial for insurers, who don’t want to waste time and resources haggling over claim settlements.

To make the ‘new for old’ agreement between insurers and policyholders a fair one, the contents should be insured for the new replacement cost. Therefore when you are calculating a sum insured that is right for you, think of the new price for your contents. For guidance with your home contents sum insured try the home contents calculator

Some good news for homeowners and insurers

Home Insurance cheap Broker pricesThis summer has been a wash out as far as the weather is concerned. Rain, rain and yet more rain, causing localised flooding and disaster for all concerned. However with rain comes wet ground, reducing the need for trees and shrubs to extend their roots in search of moisture, which should result in fewer incidents of subsidence damage. Tree and shrub roots are a major cause of subsidence, especially in shrinkable soil areas.

We all enjoy a sunny day, but prolonged spells of hot weather results in a rise in subsidence damage. The summer of 2012 might be a low point for sun lovers, but it may be a season with fewer subsidence damage than usual. Subsidence is costly for insurers, so fewer claims may mean less of a squeeze on home insurance premiums, helping to lessen the effects as insurers compare premiums with claim payments.

Definition of buildings and contents

Generally the definition of what constitutes Buildings and Contents under a home insurance is commonsense and straight forward. Buildings being all domestic buildings within the boundaries of the land, owned by the insured and permanent fixtures and fittings. Contents are portable items, possessions you’d take with you if you move, including carpets and curtains. There are however a few areas which can cause confusion, so here we go.

  • Flooring, glued, nailed or stuck down would usually be considered Buildings, with carpets coming under Contents.
  • Fitted kitchens and bathrooms under Buildings, but free standing (not built in) domestic appliances being Contents.
  • Satellite dishes, receiving aerials, their fittings and masts are considered Contents, as seen as an extension of the television.

The insurance policy wording will give you a definition of Home Buildings and Contents, along with the terms, conditions and exclusions. Insurers usually keep to a plain English format, to make the policy wording easier to understand. Leaving aside complex insurance jargon. If you’re still none the wiser, then any queries should be ironed out in a phone call.

Laminate flooring

On occasions confusion can arise when insured damage occurs to laminate flooring. Especially when the owner has separate Home Buildings and Contents policies with different insurers.

Although there is no Association of British Insurers (ABI) agreement on whether laminate flooring is covered under Buildings or Contents, a meeting in July 2003 of the Property Claims Forum, an insurance industry group, concluded that it should be insured under a Home Buildings policy. This decision is not set in stone, so very much a matter for individual insurers to decide. Insurers may take into account whether the laminate tongue and groove is glued, binding the flooring and making it more permanent. If so the outcome is more likely to be a matter for the Buildings insurers. No glue then the outcome might be a little less clear.

Solar panels insurance

The Installation of solar panels, as a environmently friendly way to generate power for the home and save money on energy bills is steadily on the increase. Despite the rise of homes with solar panels there still seems to be a bit of confusion as to whether solar panels are included under buildings insurance. Generally there’s no mention of solar panels under insurers’ policy wordings, leading to doubt. Ember JD, a specialist home insurance broker since 1970, now offers cover from 1 February 2012 with solar panels included within the definition of buildings, so the cover applying to the buildings also applies to solar panels. If damage or loss occurs, such as fire, storm, lightning and even theft, then the solar panels will be included. Good news, as solar panels are fixed externally to the home, so are exposed to the elements.

If you are looking for a quality home buildings insurance, which definitely includes solar panels within the cover, we would be pleased to hear from you. Please use our website to request a quote, or call Steve Hayton or david Nash on 020 8941 2204 during office hours.

Reducing the cost of home insurance

Whenever possible we all like to reduce costs and make savings, so here’s a few handy tips to potentially save money on the cost of Home Insurance.

Think about including a voluntary excess, which comes with a discount. Take into consideration that the voluntary excess will be in addition to the compulsory excess, so be aware of the total excess.

Ensure that your sums insured are adequate for current full reinstatement on Buildings and the cost of new replacement on Contents, but don’t over insure, as most insurers charge a rate per thousand or part.

Consider installing an insurance approved alarm, which to qualify for a discount is likely to be an installed and maintained alarm by a National Security Inspectorate (NSI) member. Before proceeding you should weigh up the cost of installation and maintenance, against the potential insurance discount.

Check to see if your home is within an active Neighbourhood Watch area. Insurers often give a discount, especially off Contents Insurance premiums.

Pay in full, rather than opting for instalments, as there is usually a charge for monthly payments.

Try not to make any unnecessary claims, in particular when the settlement is on the low side. In addition to an excess being deducted, the premium is likely to rise at the next renewal date as a result of the claim. Home insurances usually have a no claims discount, or a loading is applied when a claim is made.

Last but most certainly not least contact an Insurance Broker, preferably us, for a competitive quote. We deal with quality insurers who only deal with select supporting brokers, so you won’t be able to obtain the same quote direct or via a price comparison site.

Contents insurance for homes with past subsidence

Obtaining cover for Contents Insurance for homes with past subsidence history can be difficult, despite claims for subsidence damage being a matter for the buildings insurers. Try using an insurers’ website or a price comparison site and it is likely you will get nowhere once you disclose the past subsidence. Call centres are no better, so where do you go for common sense thinking and a decent price? As a specialist Insurance Broker we use our expertise to find a solution, at of course the right premium. If you live in a flat or in a situation where it is best to keep the buildings with the current insurer, but wish to compare the price of having separate contents insurance, we are here to help.

Our Contents Insurance policy comes with a wide range of cover as standard, including spoilt freezer contents, loss of home keys and family legal expenses. Other optional covers can be added for extra premium, such as full accidental damage, cover for personal possessions away from home for jewellery, laptops, mobile phones, personal money and cycles. You can choose the cover that suits your requirements.

To obtain a competitive quote please click on the QUOTE LINK, submit your details and we will come back to you, or call Steve Hayton or David Nash on 020 8941 2204 during office hours.

Introductory discounts

Some insurance providers seem fixated on promoting new business introductory discounts and offers, exclusively for new customers. Fine, as each business needs a constant flow of new customers to stand still, let alone grow, but what happens at renewal when the premium increases substantially? Presumably a fair number of those new customers they’ve worked so hard to attract and no doubt spent a fair bit of money on advertising too, go elsewhere. A significant rise in costs is no incentive to stay with the same provider.

We at Ember JD Insurance Brokers feel that one off introductory discounts are short sighted, as we wish to keep our clients for the long term, by giving competitive premiums each and every year. For both valued new and existing clients. We also feel that constantly plugging short term offers solely for new customers is in some ways disrespectful to the loyal clients who already support us with their business.

Rest assured that we will work hard to find the right policy at a good price at new business and ensure that the premium we offer at renewal is equally competitive. No quick fix here, seeing clients come and go.

We specialise in non-standard Home Insurance and are able to offer quality cover at low prices for hard to place risks, as well as standard household insurance. For details of the types of insurances we offer please visit our What We Insure page, or call Steve Hayton or David Nash during office hours, 9pm to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Finally we also add that we don’t offer cuddly toys with a new insurance policy, just competitive premiums at new business and renewal.