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Does working from home affect house insurance?

Working from home can affect the validity of home insurance, so it is important to check with the provider in case extra cover is needed. There are a number of features available within home insurance which are either part of basic cover or possible extras that can be added on if needed. The details on home insurance, what is included and how to keep the costs down are all part of NimbleFins’ home insurance guide.

Home insurance is buildings and contents cover combined into one policy.

Buildings insurance, which is sometimes a requirement for mortgage lenders, covers the building itself including the roof and walls, windows and floors. The policy gives financial protection if the property is damaged by a fire or water or other covered events.

Contents cover provides the same protection but for the removable possessions inside the property such as the furniture and clothes.

Accidental damage/loss cover can be added to a policy to cover for accidents where the homeowner or a visitor causes damage to the property or contents. This includes issues such as a broken table or wine-stained carpet.

Most home insurance will cover some electrical items such as mobile phones and jewellery. But for particularly expensive items, extra cover may be needed. It is important to check with the provider if the cover currently in place or the policy offered will cover specific expensive items. In the case of working from home, computer equipment may require extra cover known as higher valuables cover.

Other added features of home insurance can include:

  • Home emergency cover, which gives protection in the event of a burst pipe or boiler breakdown. The cover helps cover the cost of the call-out and repair but also provides a 24-hour emergency helpline with a network of tradesmen.
  • Alternative accommodation, which provides an alternative place to stay if the property is uninhabitable due to an event such as a fire.
  • Public liability, which provides protection if a visitor to the home sues for being injured at the property.

For those working at home, extra features such as these can be invaluable. If there are customers or clients visiting the property for the business, then public liability is an essential cover to have to give protection in case one sues for being injured or their property being damaged at the address. A separate public liability insurance policy for business use may be needed for this, so it is important to check the cover and limits with the provider.

Home emergency cover can be a valuable safety net to help get urgent problems fixed, which otherwise could impact the ability to continue working at the property.

While some features can be relatively inexpensive to add on to a policy, there are a few ways to try and keep the costs down. It may seem like cutting back on the features in the policy will be a good way of slashing costs, but having the most appropriate cover can save money in the long run.

Research and data-driven personal finance site NimbleFins has put together a list of the top ten cheapest home insurance companies in the UK. The website assessed 55 companies and chose the top ten, ranking them for good customer reviews, features and the cost of quotes. Reviews came from Trustpilot, Defaqto, and Fairer Finance.

The top ten companies are:

  • Ensure
  • Swinton
  • Sheilas’ Wheels
  • Swiftcover
  • Hastings Direct
  • Dial Direct
  • Policy Expert
  • More Than
  • Endsleigh
  • Axa

When searching for a cheap home insurance quote, it is firstly important to ensure the level of cover will meet the costs of rebuilding the home and replacing the contents. This can be done using the Building Cost Information Service’s rebuild cost calculator.

It is also important to compare the cost of insurance with other providers, this should be done before purchasing a premium and at each renewal.

The average cost of home insurance is about £300 for policies made up of both buildings and contents cover, but this cost can range significantly. The same size property can have quotes from £123 to £900 a year. This makes comparing prices even more important.

Policies can be paid for annually or monthly, however one way to keep the cost down is to pay the premium yearly as there is often an extra fee added to monthly payments.

The amount of excess on a policy can also affect the cost. By paying a higher excess the premium will likely reduce. The excess is the amount the policyholder pays towards any claim before the provider begins to pay out. If it important to ensure the level of excess chosen is achievable if the need arises.

Whether to claim on a policy or not is another important decision, as it will impact the cost of the premium. The cost increases after a claim if it is deemed the home is a higher risk. There is also the excess to pay, which depending on the amount of the claim may or may not be worth paying if the full claim is not much more. The no claims discount would also be lost if it wasn’t protected.