Insuring High-Value Items: One Policy or Multiple?

Are you certain your contents insurance offers enough cover for your high-value items?

All contents insurance policies have a limit on how much your insurer will pay out for a single item unless it has been listed specifically. If you haven’t listed it separately, and you suffer loss or damage to something that has a high-value, you will very likely discover that the full replacement value is not met.

Very few people actually read their insurance policies carefully. If you haven’t, you may be surprised at how low the maximum single item pay-out is if you haven’t carefully detailed your high-value items and ensured they are sufficiently covered.

 

What counts as a high-value item?

Many insurance companies cap the individual item cover at £1,500, or even as low as £1,000. This means it’s very easy to under-insure an item in your home.

The most common items that fall into this category are luxuries and tech equipment such as:

  • Jewellery
  • Precious metals (such as cutlery)
  • Antiques
  • Paintings and prints
  • Collections
  • TVs
  • Computers
  • Top of the range cameras
  • Sporting equipment
  • Musical instruments
  • Smartphones
  • High-value tools and equipment for hobbies

 

What high-value items does my contents insurance cover?

When you purchase your contents insurance, you have the opportunity to list any items that are of high-value.

Provided you give detailed descriptions of each individual high-value item you own, most insurance companies will cover those up to a predetermined value. This value will depend on the level of cover you purchase.

If you have items that would cost a lot of money to replace, you insurance premium will rise to reflect that. The insurance company may also ask for proof of the value of some high-ticket items and will need to see an official valuation document.

In many cases, the level of security you have for your home will also impact your premiums, so if you have antiques or collectibles, ensure you have a good security system in place.

 

Should I insure expensive items separately?

In most cases, you will not need to insure expensive items separately.

In fact, in many cases it will cost you less overall to simply include these items in your home contents insurance policy.

You should, however, double check that the cover for your items is sufficient. Some policies will give you unlimited cover, while others will set a limit for a single item. If this limit is £1,000, you’re likely going to need to look elsewhere for cover that has a higher limit. However, many people will find a limit of £2,500 or £5,000 sufficient, so make sure you get a level that’s right for you.

You will need to examine potential policies carefully to ensure you get the one that best fits your needs in terms of cover and price.

That’s not to say that you will never need specialist insurance. If you collect numerous high-value items, you may need an additional policy or to look to a specialist insurer.

 

Can I get a specialist home contents policy?

While the easiest way to insure your high-value items is within your standard contents policy, if you have many expensive possessions it may be worth looking at the specialist policies offered by many providers. Most people either choose to:

  • Buy a separate specialist policy for those items
  • Purchase estate insurance (or High Net Worth insurance), to encompass everything on your property.

Which is best for you will depend on what you own and its value. For example, if you’re an avid photographer and buy all the new technology, as well as vintage items, then a specialist gadget policy may be best for you.

However, if you have a large home full of antiques and art you’ve collected, estate insurance is essential.

 

I don’t know the value of a piece of jewellery/furniture/collectable, should I get it valued?

Yes. Unless you are an expert, knowing the true value of an object is notoriously difficult. It is easy to under or over-estimate the value of something in our possession. Even if you are well-informed, you should get a second opinion and a written evaluation by a professional.

This will give you peace of mind that you are not over or underinsured, as well as offering proof of the value to your insurance company should they need it.

Also note that valuations need to be recent; a valuation from 10 years ago will no longer be accurate. Depending on the item(s) you own, try to have them valued every 1-3 years, even if you never plan to sell them.

This is important regardless of whether your possessions are covered within your contents policy, or within a separate one.

 

What should I do to ensure my items are covered?

  1. Read your policy

Make certain you study your policy to ensure you understand exactly what is covered and for how much. No one likes reading small print but if you don’t want to be disappointed if you should have to make a claim you simply have to do it.

 

  1. Be open and honest with your insurer

Not being quite truthful with your insurer is a mistake. Often this is just an oversight on the part of the policy holder, but accuracy in description and value is paramount. Trying to keep your insurance costs down by undervaluing your possessions will only result in regret when you fail to get the money to replace the item that has been lost or stolen.

 

  1. Keep your policy up to date

Update your policy whenever you buy a new item or when you get a new evaluation. Make sure it’s the first thing on your to-do list when you return home with your purchase.

You should also check (and if necessary revise) you contents insurance each year. We often think that little has changed in a year, but if you do an itemised inventory every time you renew, you may well be surprised. The average value of a UK 3-bedroom home is £55,000, so don’t leave it to chance.

 

  1. Double check any limits on your insurance

It is common to be underinsured. Remember you need cover that would allow you to replace everything, from the knives and forks, to the floor coverings, to the masterpiece hanging on the wall. High-value items have a habit of increasing in value or costing more to replace, so always check your list, without fail.

 

Ensuring that your high-value items are properly insured is not difficult, but does require time and trouble to get right. Insurance may be seen as boring and something we hope we will never need, but disasters happen. When things go wrong, being able to replace what you have lost will significantly reduce the stress involved.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry. One of our friendly team members will talk you through your needs and guide you toward the right umbrella-style cover, or niche policies. We’ll search high and low to get you the very best deal, without sacrificing on your level or quality of cover. To get started or find out more, click here.

Home Insurance Renewal Time? 5 Reasons Why You Need to Review It

Is it time to renew your home insurance? While we’re usually all fairly good about getting the best quote for our car insurance (and getting that no claims bonus), most of us just let our home insurance renewal pass us by.

Why? Because the increase or decrease is minimal – often just a few pounds a month, and we don’t think anything has changed. Besides, searching for new home insurance takes a lot more effort because you need to review all your possessions.

In short, it just doesn’t feel worth the effort. But… it is. Your home insurance isn’t just about getting a cheap deal, it’s about ensuring your covered in case something awful happens, and home invasions, fires, and other natural disasters are among the worst. Here’s why you should take that extra few hours to review it. (Or work with a broker who can do it for you.)

Price Increase

More often than not, when your renewal date comes, you will notice that your insurance company has raised your premiums, despite no change to your policy. In fact, in the last 3 years, home insurance premiums have risen by more than 25%, despite no change.

About a month before your home insurance policy is due to end is the perfect time to look for quotes from other insurance companies. Using a price comparison website is good, but they really aren’t suitable for something as intricate as home insurance, especially when it can be catastrophic if you get it wrong.

A home insurance broker will help you compare different home insurance providers, including those that cannot be found on price comparison sites, and you can talk through exactly what type of cover you are looking for within your ideal budget.

Level of Cover

If you take the time to review your home insurance policy, you may find that the level of cover you are paying for is more or less than you actually need. You may find that you are paying an extortionate amount for relatively little cover, and you may discover that you can find more cover for the same monthly cost with a different provider. Even if you don’t think your premiums are too high for you to afford, it is important that you are getting your money’s worth, and you know exactly what you are paying for.

Changes to Assets

You may have undergone some kind of change to your assets during your policy that calls for a change to the cover you will need in your next policy. This could include selling something, buying a new valuable item, or carried out an important home renovation.

It’s crucial you disclose all information about your home and the contents as home insurance can become invalid if details are incorrect – essentially given them away to avoid paying you when you most need it. It’s horrible to think about, but it does happen.

Changes to your assets may cause an increase or decrease to your home insurance premiums depending on the change that has been made, but an insurance broker can help you to determine all of the assets you need to be covered by your policy while finding the best price for you.

Customer Service

When it’s time for renewal, it’s also a good time to think about the quality of customer service of your current home insurance provider. If you had to deal with them at any point throughout the year, did you have a positive experience? Was it easy to get in touch with them? Did you feel comfortable talking to the representative? How was your problem dealt with?
If you found that you did not get the support you expected, this is a red flag that they are not the home insurance provider for you, and you should start looking at other options. Now, you may not be able to gauge their quality of customer service if you have never had to contact them (which is a good thing!). In this case, it can be beneficial to take the time to look online at customer reviews. Things can change in a year, so it’s worth taking a quick look at recent reviews.
If you work with a home insurance broker, they’ll be able to advise you on which home insurance providers have the best reputation with customers so that you can always get the best service.

Changes to the Insurance Provider

Not only is it important to review your policy, but you should also take the opportunity to review your insurance company as a whole. Some insurance companies will increase the prices of any additional fees they may ask for on top of your policy, such as home emergency cover and legal expenses cover.

They may do this by changing a few figures in your policy documents, so compare important figures from your last policy with your new one. This will ensure you aren’t hit with something you didn’t have to worry about when you signed up with them, but has since come into effect.

Comparison sites do not show all possible home insurance providers and are extremely time-intensive as you enter all your possessions just to get a quote. A home insurance broker will look at every possible option and even be able to find providers that offer specialist cover, should you need it. When you use an insurance broker to find your next home insurance policy, you will get expert advice to find the policy that best suits you and your home at the best possible price.

How to Find the Best Home Insurance: 5 Steps to Ensure You Get the Best Deal

Buying home insurance is something you should never take a risk with – while the policies are relatively cheap to maintain, the wrong cover could leave you seriously out of pocket. And, as you’ll know if you’ve ever known someone who’s had a break-in, fire, or another home disaster, the financial support of your insurance is vital in such a difficult time.

So, how do you go about finding home insurance that provides you with all the necessary cover and is also the best deal? Simply put, by using an insurance broker. Here are 5 steps you can take to ensure you get all the cover you need at a price you love:

Step 1: Make a List

The first thing you should do, even before you look at insurers, is make a list of all the major items you need to insure. You need to know how much it would cost to replace each item should you need to make a claim as a result of theft or damage. You should pay special attention to items like jewellery, electronics, antiques, and anything else that has value to you (Here’s an article that will help you make your list).

By having this list ready to go, you’ll be able to talk through the different aspects of your policy, and your insurance broker will be able to tell you if a standard home insurance would be inadequate for a particular item.

Step 2: Compare Policies

Now you can start the process of searching for the right policy. Most of us are only going to consider two ways of doing this: online or on the phone. While online comparison sites are often fine for a new car insurance policy, they need to be avoided when buying home insurance. Besides the fact that you often get overloaded with phone calls within five minutes of entering your phone number, you aren’t likely to get adequate coverage.

This article posted by Which? Money in December 2019 explains that comparison sites often ask a lot of questions when you are looking at home insurance policies but not often the right ones. Your best option is to call a broker so you can take your time, and they often have policies that will be better suited to you but aren’t easily accessible by the public.

Step 3: Choose a Policy that Suits You

Your broker will guide you through your options and will ensure that you choose a policy that emphasises what is most important to you without breaking the bank.

Step 4: Double Check

Once you have chosen a potential home insurance policy, the next step is to double check that it covers exactly what you need it to. If you are on the phone with an insurance broker this is simple, as they will be able to run through it with you and clarify anything if you need them to so that you can be sure you will get exactly what you need from a home insurance policy. If, however, you decided to find a policy online it is vital that you carefully read through the fine print on your potential home insurance policy in detail.

Step 5: Confirm and Purchase

Now that you know you have found the best home insurance policy for you, you can move ahead with your purchase. When you use an insurance broker, they will be happy to talk to you for as long as you need, regarding any questions or concerns you have regarding your new home insurance policy so that you can make the purchase, worry-free.

The safest way to buy your new home insurance policy is by using an impartial insurance broker who will be able to find you the best deal without applying any pressure to get more than you need. If you are looking for home insurance, we’d love to help you find the cover you need. To find out more about how we can help, click here.

5 Key Reasons You Should Consider Taking Out Home Insurance

Whether you’ve purchased a property to live in, or are letting it, you should think about taking out home insurance. So many people do because it provides them with a safety net in case of an unforeseen situation. And, that’s not the only benefit.

In this blog, we explore the reasons why home insurance should be one of your top priorities…

1. Theft

These days, it’s unlikely that your home doesn’t boast expensive technology. Unfortunately, these lightweight high-cost items are attractive to potential thieves. Even if you don’t own the likes of a laptop, TV or tablet, you’ll probably have a smartphone!

If stolen from your home, you can rest easy knowing that they can be replaced through an appropriate home insurance policy. Plus, any other items can be insured too – for example, jewellery or watches.

2. Natural disaster

There’s a lot in the news about climate change, and you can’t ignore the extremely hot temperatures or hard-hitting storms. And nowhere appears to be safe – from the Lake District and Wales to London and Manchester, we’ve all felt the impact.

The weather has more than wreaked havoc in recent times, and the future doesn’t look any brighter. But, you can be prepared. The right policy will generally cover against financial loss caused by storm damage.

3. Damage

A natural disaster isn’t the only way your home could suffer harm. Accidental damage is common – especially if you have children. You could also be at risk of structural damage, or, in the event of a fire, substantial destruction.

Home insurance will not only provide you with protection in terms of covering repairs, but can also pay for accommodation if you need to move out of your home temporarily during difficult times.

4. Water escaping

From burst pipes to leaking tanks, escape of water is one of the most common home issues. Whilst there are preventative measures you can take, like ensuring your heating is on so pipes don’t freeze, there are still ways leaks can trickle through.

However, if you have home insurance in place, you’ll have peace of mind that if something does happen, your property will be protected.

5. Better mortgage rates

Taking out home insurance can also give you access to better mortgage rates when purchasing a new property, or remortgaging an existing one. Being covered will make you more favourable in the eyes of many lenders.

Home insurance isn’t the only type of insurance that’s beneficial. Depending on your circumstances, life insurance protection might also prove worthwhile. But, there will be a lot of research needed to locate the best deals – unless you use Red Star Financial Services.

We’ll not only quickly find you the appropriate policies, but we also provide tailored support and guidance. And, you can have complete faith in our team – we have over 10 years’ experience, and are FCA-regulated. Simply get in touch with our friendly team to have a chat about your needs.

Why Is It Important To Have Life Insurance Protection?

Whatever your age, it never really feels like the ‘right’ time to think about life insurance. But, in reality, it’s the opposite – it’s always the ‘right’ time. And, protecting your loved ones from a financial burden, isn’t the only benefit of having cover.

Here, we outline the key reasons why having life insurance protection is so important.

Support for dependants

If you have a partner who relies on your income to afford to live, or children or other relatives who do, then it’s important to think about how they would cope if you were no longer around.
Whilst there will most probably be some government benefits available to them, these are lower than you’d think. By having life insurance in place, you can ensure they’re financially taken care of.

Lingering debts

Life insurance protection also means your family aren’t left paying for anything you owe. From credit cards to loans, these could be a high expense for your loved ones to cover. And, these debts include your mortgage too!

If your family still live in the mortgaged property, you’ll want to ensure that the roof remains over their head. Not being able to afford the mortgage and being forced to move would be the last thing they would need, in an already tough time.

Funeral costs

The average cost of a funeral is over £3,000 – and this is often overlooked. Although there are ways to cut down this high cost, your family will want to give you the send-off you deserve, and naturally this comes at a price.

Life insurance will either provide your dependants with a lump sum of money, or regular payments, meaning they can use this to cover the high fees associated with funeral care.

Inheritance tax

If you plan to leave inheritance that equals more than £325,000, inheritance tax will be deducted from the total amount. However, it is possible to set up a life insurance policy within a trust, meaning there would be no tax.

Life insurance can also speed up the payouts if you pass away, reducing the need for your loved ones to go through a lengthy claims process.

There are a variety of different types of life insurance protection. The two main ones are:

Term life which runs for a fixed time and only pays out if you die during the specified period or,
Whole-of-life which pays out regardless of when you die.

Figuring out which life insurance protection plan you require isn’t easy, especially if you have unique circumstances such as a long-term health condition. This is where Red Star Financial Services can help. With our tailored guidance, we take the weight off your shoulders. Plus, we can advise on other types of cover too, including mortgage protection cover, income protection, critical illness cover, funeral plans and over 50’s insurance.

We want to make sure you’re best protected, as well as supported. Get in touch with our personable team today to discuss your situation.