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Busting your home insurance myths

Which? reveals what really affects your premiums

A new Which? investigation has looked at the factors that influence how much your home insurance premium will cost this year and unearthed some surprising results.

Surprising home insurance results

Our new home insurance investigation has dispelled some common myths when it comes to what has an impact on your home insurance premiums. 

We tested the online quotation process of five of the biggest home insurance companies, using properties in Cambridgeshire and Croydon, tweaking different variables as we went along to highlight what really matters when major insurers are calculating the price of your cover.

You might think that being at home in the daytime would help you get cheaper home insurance. Surely any intruder would be less likely to come calling if you’re sitting in your living room rather than out at work? 

Or how about fitting a burglar alarm? After splashing out several hundred pounds to get it fitted, could you not at least console yourself with the fact that your home insurance premiums will plummet?

Home sweet home insurance

It’s always been our assumption that home insurers will reduce your premiums if you’re at home most of the time – for example, if you’re retired – as this will reduce the risk of your property being burgled. However, our research suggests that some insurers, in certain situations, think otherwise.

Both Aviva and Barclays quoted people more if they were at home during the day. For one of the houses in our scenario, Aviva quoted £436 if it was occupied in the day, but only £418 if it wasn’t. A similar
4% ‘occupancy premium’ was applied by Aviva to the other property used in our research. 

Adding extra security to your property is a sensible move, but you may get minimal reward from your home insurer. Direct Line offered discounts of only 1% and 3%, respectively, in our Cambridgeshire and Croydon searches if these homes had a professionally installed and maintained alarm.

Single adult, higher premium rate

We also tested out the difference in premiums between two-adult and single-adult households. While for most insurers this made no difference at all, in our scenarios, Aviva charged significantly higher premiums for single-adult households than it did when there were two adults and children living in the property, assuming all other factors were the same.

Where we indicated that there was one adult and one child in the household, the Aviva quotes were 16% and 18% higher than the equivalent Cambridgeshire and Croydon two-parent scenarios.

Adding more children into the mix only hikes premiums further – single adults with two children were quoted 19% and 21% more in our scenarios, and those with three children were charged 23% and 24% more than their two-adult counterparts.

In response to our findings, an Aviva spokesperson said: ‘In those two specific examples the price has risen. We have robust evidence from many years of claims experience that shows, in certain circumstances, with different numbers of adults and children the risk is higher.

‘However, across our whole customer book, single adults with children actually pay less (on average around 13% less) because other risks are reduced.’

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