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How to find cheap home insurance

We reveal the best ways to find cheap buildings and contents insurance, including scripts to haggle down the price of your premium

In this article
How much does home insurance cost? 2. Use comparison sites to find the cheapest home insurance 3. Only get the cover you need to make your insurance cheaper 4. Use a valuation calculator 5. Pay annually for your home insurance (if you can afford it) 6. Top cheap home insurance tip: set the correct excess
7. Vital: haggle for cheap cover 8. Talk to the home insurance specialists 9. Try a broker 10. Check the terms and conditions carefully 11. Sign up to the Which? Money newsletter

How much does home insurance cost?

At the end of 2020, the average annual premium for a combined home insurance policy cost £144, according to MoneySuperMarket's price index. Buildings-only policies cost £111 and contents policies stood at £65. 

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.

1. 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. 

Adding to this will make you more attractive to home insurers, which could result in you getting cheaper home insurance. 

Installing a burglar alarm could get you a discount from some insurers, and using a five-lever mortise deadlock (one that conforms to British Standards Institute BS3621) on your doors will also help you save money in the long run.

2. Use comparison sites to find the cheapest home insurance

Price comparison websites are a good place to start looking for cheap insurance, and they they allow you to get a large number of home insurance quotes very quickly.

Remember, though, that not every provider appears on comparison sites – check AvivaDirect Line, NFU Mutual and Zurich as well to see if you could save money.

Comparison sites aren't always 100% reliable, either, 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.

You should also take a look at the Which? Recommended Providers. We review more than 30 of the biggest home insurers on the market for the quality of their policies and customer service.

3. Only get the cover you need to make your insurance cheaper

While everyone should seriously consider contents insurance, buildings insurance isn't a necessity unless you're responsible for the condition of the property itself. 

If you rent, you'll only need contents - but homeowners should consider both. Landlords can get specialist landlord insurance.

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.

4. Use a valuation calculator

Simply assessing whether the value of your building and contents insurance is correct could help you get cheap home insurance instantly.

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, 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.

Failing to insure the true value of all your contents will leave you out of pocket if you need to make a claim. 

Consider all the items that you have and what it might cost to replace them with new equivalent goods.

5. Pay annually for your home insurance (if you can afford it)

Once it's time to buy your home insurance, you’ll be given the option of paying annually or monthly.

While instalments may seem like a good way to spread the cost, it usually ends up being more expensive.

Paying monthly is essentially taking a loan, usually at high interest, from your provider. APR varies, but it can be as high as 40%.

Always check pay-monthly fees and compare the cost against annual cover. Our home insurer reviews also list APRs and insurer that offer monthly payments at no extra cost.

It's not always clear on comparison sites what APR you'd pay, so check with the insurer directly before accepting a quote.

6. Top cheap home insurance tip: 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 more on your excess, your insurer will offer a cheaper premium. However, make sure to select your excess carefully.

Setting the bar too high, especially if starts getting too close to your claims limit, might make claiming on your insurance either pointless or too expensive.

7. Vital: haggle for cheap cover

Home insurance providers often save their best offers for new customers and push up premiums for their loyal policyholders.

Rather than just allowing your policy to roll over into another year, shop around to see if you can cut your costs and get a cheaper premium.

If you want 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.

8. Talk to the home insurance specialists

Finding home insurance can become much more difficult if you live in a houseshare, if you own a listed building or if your home has a thatched roof. 

However, there are many specialist insurers you can try if you can't find the appropriate cover using comparison sites.

Endsleigh offers cover for sharers, while Hiscox and NFU Mutual should be able to help if you have a thatched roof or live in a listed building.

9. Try a broker

If you’re still having trouble finding suitable home insurance cover, use the British Insurance Brokers' Association's 'find a broker' service. Call on 0370 950 1790 or visit biba.org.uk for more. 

Which? members can also contact the Which? Money Helpline for advice on finding cover.

10. Check the terms and conditions carefully

Simply checking the terms and conditions of your home insurance policy could help you get a cheaper premium.

Once you’ve decided on a home insurance policy, read the documents carefully.

Make sure you have the right level of cover, that your excesses are affordable and that there are no add-ons or extras included that you haven’t asked for.

11. 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.