Why should I compare home insurance?
Even if your home insurer was the cheapest option last year, that doesn't mean your renewal quote will be any good.
Since January 2022, insurers have been banned from charging renewing customers more than if they were new.
But insurers still have plenty of legitimate reasons for increasing your premium, even if you haven't claimed. They may view you, your property or your neighbourhood as more risky than before.
Comparing home insurance quotes takes minutes and lets you check if your renewal offer really is the best available.
Whether you've got a house, flat, or room in a shared house, here we explain how to get the most out of comparison sites and other ways to save on home insurance.
How much does home insurance cost?
As of December 2021, the average annual premium for a combined home insurance policy cost £142, according to MoneySuperMarket's price index. Buildings-only policies cost £117 and contents policies stood at £55.
However, what you'll pay depends on on a large range of factors:
- the type of cover you want
- the property's type, size and construction
- your location
- how much it would cost to rebuild your property or replace your belongings
- history of damage (for example, flooding or subsidence) to the property and claims made in the past
- how the property is used and security measures in place.
While you can't (easily) change some of these things, there are simple tips you can follow to minimise the amount you need to pay without compromising on cover.
How to compare home insurance quotes on price comparison sites
Price comparison websites are a good place to start looking for cheap insurance, and they allow you to get a large number of home insurance quotes very quickly.
The main price comparison sites for insurance are Compare the Market, Confused.com, GoCompare and MoneySuperMarket.
You should also take a look at our Which? Recommended Providers. We review the biggest home insurers on the market for the quality of their policies and customer service.
What do I need to get a home insurance quote?
As well as your personal details, you'll need to get some information on your property including:
- the rebuild value of the property, for buildings insurance
- the value of contents, for contents insurance
- number of rooms, bathrooms, age of property, type of roof and proximity to trees and water
- any burglar alarms and the type of locks
- the inhabitants.
See below for more information about valuation calculators that can save you time and avoid expensive mistakes.
Can I trust comparison site prices?
Comparison sites aren't always 100% reliable, so make sure you double-check the policy you're interested in has everything you need when you click through to the website of the provider.
Check that the insurer's 'assumptions' – essentially information about you that you haven't provided via the comparison site – are correct.
Also make sure you're not paying for add-ons you don't need, or you could be effectively overpaying for the cover you do want.
Sites such as Quidco and TopCashback will pay you a cash reward if you click through them to buy home insurance.
However, they won't necessarily offer you the best-value deals, even with cashback included.
Compare the price of the policy after cashback with the cheapest equivalent policy available from a comparison site.
- Find out more: the best home insurance providers
How can I get cheaper home insurance quotes?
Only get the insurance you need
While everyone should seriously consider contents insurance, buildings insurance is only a necessity if you're responsible for the condition of the property itself.
Combined buildings and contents insurance is usually cheaper than buying both policies individually, but make sure your provider doesn't have separate building and contents excesses.
A claim affecting both parts of your policy, such as a fire or flood, might see you having your excess deducted twice.
Use a valuation calculator
A lot of policyholders overpay for their home insurance by incorrectly calculating the value of their building and contents.
When setting the value of the building itself, you need to give the rebuild value (the cost of rebuilding the property from scratch) and not the, often higher, market value (what it would cost to buy the property if it was for sale).
To get an idea of the rebuild value of your building, use the Association of British Insurers’ calculator or a commissioned survey's valuation.
Meanwhile, be careful not to underinsure your contents in an attempt to get cheap insurance. Consider all the items that you have and what it might cost to replace them with new equivalent goods.
- Find out more: our contents insurance calculator
Set the correct excess
Adjusting your level of excess – the amount you have to pay in the event of a claim – could help you get cheaper home insurance.
If you're willing to pay a higher excess, your insurer will offer a cheaper premium. However, make sure to select your excess carefully.
Setting the bar too high, especially if it starts getting too close to your claims limit, might make claiming on your insurance either pointless or too expensive.
Pay annually for your home insurance (if you can afford it)
Paying monthly is essentially taking a loan, usually at high interest, from your provider. APR varies, but it can be as more than 40%.
Always check pay-monthly fees and compare the cost against annual cover. Our home insurer reviews also list APRs and the insurers that offer monthly payments at no extra cost.
You could spread the cost by using a 0% purchase credit card.
Haggle for cheap cover
If you're determined to stay with your current provider, you can use cheap home insurance deals elsewhere as leverage when haggling.
You can boost your chances of being offered a cheap home insurance deal by following our tried-and-tested haggling script below.
- Find out more: how to haggle to get the best deal
Improve your home security for cheap home insurance
You're more likely to get cheap home insurance if your provider considers you a low-risk customer, so before you even start looking, consider improving your home's security.
Most insurers have a minimum level of security before they accept you as a customer, such as deadlocks on external doors and locks on accessible windows. But going beyond that can get you cheaper quotes:
Five-lever mortice deadlock
Five-lever mortice deadlocks are preferred by insurers, so get them installed on external doors. They'll need to conform to the British Standards Institute BS3621.
You can buy and fit them yourself, or get a professional to do so.
There are various types of burglar alarms, from basic bells-only alarms to smart security systems that alert your phone, up to professionally monitored alarms, with corresponding prices.
Cheap home insurance for listed and unusual properties
If your property is listed, has a thatched roof or other unusual feature, you may find you get fewer home insurance quotes, or that the quotes are prohibitively expensive.
An insurance broker may be able to find specialist insurers and save you money.
Use the British Insurance Brokers' Association's 'find a broker' service. Call on 0370 950 1790 or visit Biba.org.uk.
Which? members can also contact the Which? Money Helpline for advice on finding cover.
Cheap home insurance for renters and house-shares
If you rent, you'll only need contents insurance – your landlord should handle the buildings insurance.
While there are specialist short-term insurance policies available, and policies covering a single room, we advise being skeptical.
Always compare the premiums and cover levels from renters policies with what you could get from more 'traditional' contents cover.
If you're in a house-share, all inhabitants will need to be named on the contents policy. It's important to keep the details accurate and up to date, or you risk the insurer turning down any claims you make.
- Find out more: tenant rights advice
Cheap home insurance for landlords
The three main types of landlord insurance are buildings, contents and liability insurance, the latter covering you if your tenant or visitor suffers an injury in your property.
There are also add-ons, such as rent guarantee insurance if your tenant falls into arears (and in some cases if the property is empty), and home emergency cover.
As with insurance for your own home, it's important to compare policies and only pay for what you actually need.
Landlords with four or more properties should consider portfolio policies, which insure all properties at the same time.
Sign up to the Which? Money newsletter
The Which? Money Weekly newsletter includes our latest news, tips and deals straight to your inbox, covering everything from insurance to investments and savings to scams.