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Home insurance bills rise three times faster than inflation

Beast from the East drives up home insurance by 7.6%

Home insurance bills rise three times faster than inflation

The cost of home insurance has jumped in the year to April 2018, with premiums rising by 7.6%, according to new data – more than triple the current inflation rate.

The analysis from Consumer Intelligence puts the blame on violent weather in the early part of the year, including the ‘Beast from the East’ snowstorms and Storm Emma.

Which? takes a look at which areas have been most affected by the increase and how to keep the cost of your home insurance down, especially during adverse weather conditions.

How much have home insurance premiums risen?

Households across the UK have been hit by higher home insurance premiums due to freezing weather conditions at the beginning of the year.

The average home insurance policy climbed by £133 over the past 12 months, according to Consumer Intelligence, a 7.6% increase. By comparison, the inflation rate in the year to April 2018 was just 2.4%.

The Beast from the East, which struck the UK on three separate occasions earlier this year, caused a significant rise in claims for snow and water damage.

The cost of these claims during the freezing weather conditions, plus the impact of strong winds from Storm Emma, resulted in a steep rise in premiums.

Londoners faced the largest increase in the cost of their home insurance with the average premium jumping £172 – up 11.9% in the year to April 2018.

By contrast, homes in the South West had the lowest jump in premiums, with a rise of £117 (4.9% over the year).

The map below shows how home insurance premiums have been affected across the UK.

Types of home most affected by weather

Home insurance policyholders with properties built before 1910 were most affected by the Beast from the East, with these owners seeing their premiums increase by an average of 10.1%.

These homes were more likely to suffer damage during adverse weather due to their advanced age and higher wear and tear. It can also be more expensive to repair older properties, as finding materials to match the originals can be costly.

Newer homes, built after 2000, also suffered a steep hike, with home insurance premiums for this category going up by 9.6% in the year to April.

Protecting your home from adverse weather

While damage from adverse weather is often unavoidable, there are steps you can take to protect your home and keep the cost of your home insurance down.

1) Protect your pipes

It’s important to keep your central heating set to a minimum of 15°C, especially if your property is left unoccupied. This helps to avoid your pipes freezing, which can cause them to burst.

2) Have your boiler serviced regularly

Make sure that your boiler is serviced at least once a year by a professional registered by Gas Safe, as well as having your central heating and gas fires checked to make sure they’re in proper working order.

3) Stay insulated

Check that your loft is properly insulated and has adequate ventilation.

4) Check your roof, drains and gutters

Make sure that your roof is in good condition, and have any cracked or broken tiles repaired as soon as possible. It’s also important to clear your gutters and drain pipes of leaves and debris that could cause blockages and overflows.

5) Secure external buildings and furniture

Keep gates, outbuilding doors and any loose furniture (such as garden chairs) outside of your home fastened securely.

Finding the best home insurance deal

Whether you’re looking for a new policy or planning to renew, shopping around for the right home insurance can help you save hundreds on your premium.

It’s crucial to read the details of each policy carefully, checking the terms such as the excess and single item cover.

The quality of customer service each provider gives is another factor to consider when looking for a policy.

To help you find the best insurer, we’ve analysed  the standard contents insurance and buildings insurance policies of more than 30 providers, and combined it with feedback from thousands of customers to produce impartial home company insurance reviews.

You can also find useful tips in our comprehensive home insurance guide and the short video below.

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