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Know Your Locks or Invalidate Your Insurance

by Sarah Halloran

If you’re confused about your household locks then it could invalidate your insurance if you give your insurer the wrong information.  It’s important when moving into a new home or renewing your insurance that you give your insurer valid and accurate information and that means knowing the locks on your external doors.

So, can you tell the difference between a multi-locking system and a mortice deadlock?  If your insurer were to ask what front door lock you have, could you answer them correctly?  Many people often take a wild guess when it comes to these questions and this could prove catastrophic if you ever need to make a claim.  Many homeowners don’t realise just how important it is to furnish insurers with the right information.

Insurers need to know how well your home is protected so they can work out the most suitable cover for you.  That doesn’t mean you have to learn all there is to know about locks or turn your home into Fort Knox, but it does mean your insurer will be more likely to pay out if they are happy that your home was adequately secured at the time of a burglary.

The Metropolitan Police security guidelines advise that: “The door should be fitted preferably with a five-lever mortice deadlock, though insurance companies will accept a rim automatic deadlock; both must be to British Standard 3621.”

If you’re having trouble telling your mortice deadlocks from your key-operated multi-locking system you’re not alone!  Many insurance companies are now helping customers by including images of the most popular types of locks on their website.  These illustrations are available during the quote process and give you a good indication of the lock you have and whether it is at an acceptable level of security for the insurer to consider your application.

Head of home insurance at, Mark Gabriel, says: “People often don’t realise how important it is to know their lock type, in fact a lot of people guess and get it wrong.

“But it’s so important to get right. Some are more secure than others, so if you’ve given your insurance provider the wrong information you might be underinsured, which could invalidate your policy. “It’s a detail many people overlook so this new picture system just clears up any confusion.”

As well as locks, the Met security guidelines go further, saying: “Quality locks are only as strong as the doors and frames to which they are attached. Ensure that the frame is sound and the door suitable for external use; for instance, a wooden hollow core door would not be suitable.”

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Getting the Best Home Insurance Deals

by Sarah Halloran

Could you be saving money on your home insurance premiums?  The answer is usually, yes!  Home insurance premiums have risen over recent years, but with a little organisation and know-how you can reduce these premiums dramatically.

Basic Information

The first thing you need to do is shop around for other deals.  This will give you an idea of what you would be paying on a like for like policy.   If you have been with your current insurer for a long time, it’s always good to shop around.  Loyalty doesn’t count for much in the insurance game and most insurers will offer the best deals to new customers.  Renewing your policy with another company could save you money automatically.

Did you know that insurers may have had bad experience with your post code whilst others may not?  Shopping around really does pay and you’ll be amazed at the difference in insurance premiums between companies.

Increasing Your Excess

If you can afford to pay a higher excess on any claims you can usually get a discount from your insurer although you must always remember you will need to cover a higher excess cost in the event of any claim.

Try Not to Over Insure

This is a mistake that many people make.  Try to give an accurate total of the value of your home contents.  Guesstimating could mean you are paying higher contents insurance payments.  This also applies to buildings insurance – you need only insure for the cost of rebuilding your property.

Don’t Use Your Mortgage Provider

When you take out a mortgage, your lender will no doubt try to sell you their own contents and buildings insurance.  Don’t take it!  Unless there is a specific tie-in with your mortgage, you are not obliged to take their insurance and you can always get a better quote elsewhere.

Separate or Combined Insurance?

Taking combined contents and buildings insurance can usually net you a good deal.  However, it can also pay to shop around for separate policies too so use one of the many insurance comparison websites to see what is right for you and your situation.

Paying Up Front

Sometimes it’s much cheaper to pay your insurance off in one lump sum each year rather than monthly instalments so get a quote for both.

The State of Your Home

This is a big one and will determine how much you will be paying each month.  Making a few improvements to safety and security around the home could reduce your premiums significantly.  Fire-proofing your home with smoke alarms and fire extinguishers is one way to do this.  You should also fit secure locks to doors and windows and install a burglar alarm.  The installation of a safe and membership of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme can also reduce your monthly payments so it’s worth asking your insurance company about this during the application process.

Many home insurance companies will give you good guidance when it comes to reducing your premiums.  After all, a safe and secure home will be less prone to theft or damage and therefore represents a good prospect for the insurer.  Shopping around, making a few slight adjustments inside your home and assessing the value of contents and your home correctly will ensure you get a good deal.

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How Much is my Property Worth, and Why?

by admin

Do you have an idea of how much your property is worth?

It is an important and often misunderstood question. Many people assume that they can find the value of their property rather easily, by checking on the value of houses for sale in their local area. While this may give you a rough estimate of what your house could be worth, it is worth remembering that there can be large discrepancies in house prices, even within the same area or even along the same street.

Knowing what your property is worth is important. Many financial institutions will often use the value of the property as the basis for how much money they are willing to lend you. You also need to know the value of your property when it comes to renewing your home insurance. It is worth remembering that home insurance comes in two parts; contents insurance which covers your personal belongings and items that are not physically part of your home and buildings insurance. Buildings insurance can be the bigger challenge as you need to know the value of your home accurately and roughly how much it would cost to rebuild it at current market prices.

So what indicators can you find around your home that may well add, or detract, value from its overall price?

1. Extensions or conversions: If you have extended your home by adding additional rooms, or a conservatory, or perhaps have had the loft converted into a living space, this can add considerable value to your property compared to others in the area. Smaller changes in the home, such as changing a small room from a bedroom into another bathroom can also affect house prices and not always positively.

2. Garden area: In many areas, the amount of gardens the properties have is not always uniform. Obviously, those with larger gardens and more land tend to sell for a tad more than those with less. In addition, how that land is used, whether it is manicured gardens, wild grass or paved to allow for off road parking, can impact on the overall value of your home.

3. Security: The level of security your home has will also affect its value. If your property comes complete with deadbolts on main doors, double-glazed windows with individual window locks and is fully alarmed then it will be worth more than others that do not have these improvements.

4. State of repair: The general state of repair of your home also reflects its value greatly. This can easily be demonstrated by watching any of the TV shows that deal with housing developers who buy run-down properties, renovate them and then sell them on, often at significant profit. The better shape your house is in and the less work that needs completing on it, then the more it will be worth.

5. Issues: If your home has problems, such as damp or subsidence for example, then this can significantly affect the amount your home will realistically be worth.

6. Other buildings: If your property is large enough to include other buildings, such as a shed in the garden or other outbuildings, then this can increase the value of the property markedly too. How much this is depends very much on the location of the buildings, their state of repair and their functionality.

Understanding what your home is accurately valued at is a key issue for homeowners, whether you are seeking additional finance or trying to ensure that you have adequate home insurance cover, finding the realistic value of your property is a crucial step in securing the deal you want.

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