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Tips on buying household insurance

OiiNow helps users calculate accurate sums insured for their home contents insurance. Without a correct values, you could find yourself underinsured and in trouble if you make a claim. Here are some other insurance buying tips.

There are two types of home insurance policies.

* Buildings insurance protects you against damage to the structure of your house together with its fixtures and fittings, and
* Contents insurance protects you against damage or loss of your possessions typically those that you would take with you if you moved.

Both policies cover you against a specified list of perils such as fire, subsidence, theft, flood and storm, as well as providing important cover for your legal liabilities as a homeowner and occupier.

You do not have to use the same company for your contents and buildings insurance, however, using the same company may help to streamline claims handling if you suffer damage to the building and its contents.

Not all insurance policies are the same, so be sure to read the wording of your policy, or one you are considering. Remember in particular:

* Valuable or high-risk items such as antiques, jewellery, laptops and cameras, may not be covered by a standard home contents insurance plan and you may need extended cover to protect them.

* Some policies will include extras such as Legal Expenses Cover, Freezer contents cover, New-for-old cover, All-risks cover as standard while others will charge for them.

* When obtaining insurance it is very important to get the values (sums insured) accurate. Your home contents insurance provider will only pay out what you're insured for, even if that's less than the value of your claim.

* To work out how much contents insurance you need, you can subscribe to OiiNow and make an online list of all your possessions in each room of your house. Remember commonly overlooked items include curtains, carpets and bedding.

* When calculating the rebuilding costs of your home, remember these are not the same as the market value. Ask your insurer's advice about this. The Association of British Insurers has a useful booklet called "House rebuilding costs". Tel 020 7600 3333.

This article is intended as a guide only and does not constitue advice. Please consult your insurance advisor with any queries before you take out home insurance.

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Have you ever had to make a claim on your household insurance?
Yes No
Yes: 57% poll bar 
No: 43% 
poll bar 

Do you keep an inventory of all your possessions?
Yes No
Yes: 25% poll bar
No: 75% poll bar 

If you suffered a fire / flood at your home, do you think you’d be able to remember everything you own when producing a list for your insurance company?
Yes No
Yes: 18% poll bar 
No: 82% poll bar 

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