Home insurance: how should you choose the best insurance policy for your property?

Your property might be the greatest asset you own, whether you’re a landlord or a home owner. Many people choose to cover their properties with a home insurance policy, but choosing the right home insurance cover for you can be a complex process. Never fear: Netatmo’s looked into the ins and outs of the home insurance process.

In the UK, there is no legal obligation for you to buy a home insurance policy.

However, it’s always wise to cover your home – as well as the valuable items on your property – against theft or damage.

If you’re currently renting your home, your landlord might ask you to take out an insurance policy to cover the personal items you move into the property.

These requirements may change depending of the type of home you’re renting. For example, if you’re living in company accommodation, there may already be an insurance policy in place.

Similarly, if you rent a home that’s already furnished, you might not need to take out items insurance cover.

If you’re a home owner, rather than a renter, you might want to insure the entire property. An effective home insurance policy could help you gain compensation in the event, say, of a fire, flood or burglary at your home.

What’s more, if you’re looking to take out a mortgage on your home, the mortgage provider may require you to have an active home insurance policy in place.

Before you settle on a home insurance policy, make sure you take advantage of price comparison websites. These will show you the drawbacks and advantages, as well as the relative cost, of different providers’ home insurance cover.

You can always ask for a quote for your potential new home insurance policy, based on the items and properties you want to cover.

How can you make sure you don’t accidentally invalidate your home insurance policy?

There’s nothing more frustrating than investing in home insurance cover to protect your property, then failing to qualify for the pay out you were expecting.

This happens more often than you might think (or want to think!): according to the Association of British Insurers, or ABI, between 2015 and 2016 home insurance policy providers actually rejected 1/5 claims that their customers made on their home insurance.

When you buy a home insurance policy, make sure you understand all the requirements with which you’ll need to comply, in order for your cover to remain valid.

Your home insurance provider will most likely ask you to implement specific measures to protect your home and personal items (from fire, theft or damage, for example).

In order for your home insurance policy to remain valid, you’ve got to make an effort to keep your property in good shape.

Say your home flooded, damaging both the building and the items inside. You’d want to claim on your insurance in order to cover some of the repair costs. But, if your insurance provider found that your plumbing was badly maintained, and this was what caused the flooding, they could refuse to pay out on your insurance claim.

Of course, if you’re renting your home and your landlord is in charge of keeping the building in general good shape, things could get complicated.

Make sure you communicate any concerns you may have about the property’s general condition – and how that might affect your personal items insurance cover, or the building insurance – to your landlord and your insurance company. It’s always a good idea to take pictures as evidence.

Many home owners are particularly concerned about getting insurance cover for theft.

For obvious reasons, many insurance companies will only compensate a claim if there are clear signs of a break-in on your property (for example, smashed windows or doors that have been forced open).

So, if burglars made a more subtle entrance (using fake, copied or stolen keys, or through a door or window that was left open unawares), your insurance company is unlikely to respond to your claim.

While we’re on the topic of keys, make sure you change your home’s locks quickly if you lose your keys. Failing to do so could grant thieves easy access to your property, meaning your home insurance policy will be unlikely to cover any consequent thefts.

In our increasingly digital world, it’s normal for people to post about their upcoming holidays. While you might be over the moon at the prospect of some time away, keep the news to yourself.

Posting about the details essentially advertises the fact that your property will be standing empty for a few days, providing the ideal opportunity for theft.

If your home insurance provider finds out you may have provoked a theft by publicising your holiday, they’re unlikely to cover your claim.

How can you ensure your property complies with your insurance cover?

You’ll need to keep your home insurance policy up to date, so that it accurately reflects the value of the property itself, as well as the items inside the building.

For example, if you add an extension to your home, its value will likely increase. Plus, its potential rebuilding costs would also go up. Both of these factors will affect what level of cover your home insurance policy should include.

Installing an effective home security system is a great way to keep your property safe and increase the likelihood of compensation for any insurance claims.

Placing CCTV cameras around your property could provide vital proof of theft without forced entry, should you need the footage to make an effective insurance claim. The same goes for any other, smaller buildings there might be on your property, such as a garage or garden shed.

However, you’ve got to remember to activate your home security, whether that’s alarms, sensors or security cameras. If you don’t, your home insurance provider will pick up on that and may well refuse to pay out on your claim.

The Netatmo range includes a variety of options for effectively protecting your property. Taking these steps may help you gain compensation, should your home insurance policy provider require proof of adequate home security before responding to your insurance claim. Browse our Smart Indoor and Outdoor Cameras, Smart Video Doorbells, Smart Smoke Detectors, Smart Indoor Sirens and Door and Window Opening Sensors to help keep your property secure and insurance claim-ready.