Anyone who’s explored getting a home insurance quote before knows it can be a bit fiddly, with a lot of questions to answer. But it needn’t be difficult if you know what to expect.
This is a guide to what you might be asked, and what information you’ll need to give your answers accurately.
What kind of cover do you need?
There are two main types of cover - Buildings and Contents. Buildings Insurance covers the cost of repairing damage to the structure of your property. Contents Insurance covers the cost of replacing the belongings in your home if they are lost, damaged or stolen. Contents cover can also be increased to cover items when you take them outside of the home (such as laptops and phones).
Your insurance company will ask you basic questions
You’ll be asked basic questions about your house construction (brick/stone/wood), roof (slate/tile/thatch), size (number of bedrooms/bathrooms) and type (detached/semi-detached/flat). They will also want to know how much of your roof is flat rather than slanted.
It’s good to have a rough idea of the value of your property. For Buildings Insurance you should be covering for the amount it would cost to rebuild the property in the event of a disaster, rather than the market value.
You’ll need to provide some information about the day-to-day use of your house. Is it your main residence? How many children live there? Is it used for business purposes?
It’s likely you will also be asked the approximate age of your property. If you don’t know you may be able to find out here.
What security do you have?
You’ll need to provide information about all the external doors of your property - including patio doors - and how they are secured. There are four main types of lock that you may encounter. Here’s a video explaining the most common types of lock generally found in UK homes: click here.
You may also be asked a few other questions about the security of your home, such as - do your windows lock? Do you have a working burglar alarm? How many working smoke alarms do you have? Do you have a safe?
What’s the flood risk?
Has your property been flooded in the past ten years? Is it close to a body of water? Is it on a flood plane? You can find out if you’re at risk here.
Are there signs of subsidence?
Subsidence occurs when the ground under your property sinks, taking some of the foundations with it. This can cause serious damage and needs to be treated. The most obvious sign is the appearance of large cracks in the walls, typically running diagonally, about as wide as a new £1 coin and visible both inside and outside. Other tell-tale signs can be wrinking wallpaper and doors and windows starting to stick. If you think you have seen such signs, your first call should be to your current home insurance provider who’ll send a surveyor to check.
Are there nearby trees?
One cause of subsidence is invasive tree roots. If you have a substantial tree (over 10 metres high) within 5 metres of your property you may be asked about it. It’s surprisingly easy to measure the height of a tree, and it won’t involve any death-defying climbs. Find out how to measure a tree here.
How much are your belongings worth?
To prevent under or over-insuring, it’s worth going from room to room making a note of your belongings, and how much it would cost to replace them. You’ll probably be asked to specify any expensive items (over £1000 for most insurers). It can be helpful to have some proof of purchase for these high end items, just in case you need to claim for them later.
How much excess suits you?
This is the amount you need to pay if you make a claim. You can reduce this amount but it will increase your premium.
Do you want any extras?
There are many extras you can add, such as: cover for accidental damage (e.g. a cracked bath or a broken window), legal fees cover, garden cover and bicycle cover. They’re all worth considering if you want complete peace of mind, but they will add to your premium.
When answering these questions, please do your best to be accurate – claims can be easily rejected if these initial answers don’t match the reality.
If you’d like to know more about British Gas Home Insurance you can get a quick and easy quote here.