General Home Insurance Advice

Recommendations And Feedback

We provide details of home insurers and some general advice and hints on this page. How do you get the best home insurance deal? Shop around. If you're looking for Life Insurance take a look at our Standard Life page, the current deal offers up to £60 in M&S vouchers and monthly premiums for as little as £5

Insurance Renewal - The Best Strategy

We provide our own: experience, advice and views on home insurance, these are is for information purposes only.

People of a certain age may remember a time when you could generally get a good deal on home and car insurance by staying with your existing insurer. When this was the prevailing market condition there was little need to shop around when your old policy was about to expire. Personally I now always compare deals at renewal time and almost without exception over the past five or six years I have got a better deal (saving as much at 40% on car insurance on one particular occasion) by changing providers. The feedback we get at Yourcounty confirms anecdotally that many people share this experience.

Beware Auto Renewal

My last home contents insurance renewal (Autumn 2012) is typical of the home insurance auto renewal process. I received a letter advising me that my insurance would be automatically renewed and I didn't have to do anything. The new price was displayed on the literature but I failed to see any mention of want to do to if I didn't want to renew. I didn't sign up for auto renewal and I don't think I was given the chance to opt out of the process when I originally took out the policy. If I have been too busy or hadn't checked the details I would have renewed my contents insurance without thinking about it. I got quotes from a few websites, when I was satisfied I'd found a good deal (it typically takes about 5 to 10 minutes to get a quote online) I rang the existing insurer to inform them I didn't want to renew. They of course asked "why", when I said I found a better price they almost immediately dropped their quote by 12%, no fuss, almost as if they expect this game of cat and mouse.

The moral of the story seems to be that you may be 'automatically' paying over the odds for your home insurance if you don't shop around. If you'll allow me to get on my soap box for a moment I'd also ask what is the industry regulator doing? Is it reasonable to enter into a contract for 12 months and find it is 'automatically' renewed unless I take action? We'd be really happy to hear from you if you have experience or views on this particular issue. Where possible (using our normal editorial guidelines) we'll publish consumer feedback below.

Comparing Home Insurance Policies

When I ring to cancel my renewal I'm usually asked why and when I say it's because I got a better quotation, the insurance company often advise me that I may not be comparing like with like. That the policy I'm trying to cancel may in fact be superior to the policy I want to take out with a different company. This is a hard question for a layperson like myself to answer with complete certainty. All I can really do is to check that the basic headline components are the same and perhaps look for reliable consumer reviews and feedback.

I think it's reasonable that I/we as consumers take responsibility for the products and services we buy. But it's a tired strategy for a company to say other cheaper products may be inferior. If this happens to you, you might ask the insurer to check for you! If you tell them which competitive product you're interested in, see if they are prepared to give you a written confirmation of exactly how their product is better. OK so this is a little tongue in cheek but the idea stands, the experts can use our lack of specialist knowledge as a commercial lever.

Another point to consider is if you are keeping the same policy with similar or identical conditions; if you haven't claimed in the previous 12 months why should the premium be more? Aren't you an even better risk, isn't this one of the factors that affects premiums. As a general rule if my renewal has increased by more than the rate of inflation I would always shop around.

I tend to steer clear of companies that have very bad reputations or that I get negative feedback about, irrespective of the quote. I'm not usually put off by one-off horror stories, but where there appears to be a pattern of poor service I prefer not to consider the service provider. I have a shortlist of leading, reliable insurers that I go to first. When you get five or six quotes you get a feel for what a good quote is, and in my own case it's rarely the renewal figure.

  • The Co-operative Home Insurance Policies
    • Discounts for new customers, for signing up on-line, incentives for combining home and contents insurance and a no claims bonus of up to 40 (for renewals).
  • Churchill Home Insurance
    • 50% off if you haven’t claimed in the last 5 years, at least 15% discount when you buy online

Diminishing Returns - The Best Deal

My own personal view is that the amount of effort I put into finding the best insurance deal is linked to the benefit of the potential deal. With regards to the price on my car insurance premium, I can typically expect to beat my renewal figure by £100 by shopping around, so to spend two or three hours researching the market represents a good investment of my time. The savings I can make on home insurance are not so dramatic but in less than an hour I can normally get get half a dozen quotes and cancel my old policy and take out a new one. It's worth pointing out that the time to get a quote online is faster than I can remember, rarely taking more than five or six minutes per quote.

If my renewal was more competitive there would be no incentive to shop around, but as it stands I expect to use the competitiveness in the market for me rather than against me.

Comparison Websites

This is a subject I can't speak about with too much confidence. I've generally been able to get the best quote direct form the insurance company website themselves without using an intermediary so I'm not a frequent visitor to comparison websites. I'd be interested to hear (and publish) consumer feedback.

Consumer Feedback

To send us some feedback or to share your thoughts send an email at Our editorial policy is to only publish information which is helpful to other consumers, so we're likely to use advice, tips and questions which are useful to the wider audience.

Dear sirs,

How can you get a better quote than a price comparison website, don't they check against all insurance companies?

I don't know the answer to this, do price comparisons guarantee you can't get a better quote? If they don't it might mean my experience is not unique, if they do I stand corrected.

Please refer to our disclaimer, all details for information only. Yourcounty does not have any responsibility for the content of external websites.