Author: Sean Callery

Home and contents insurance is a necessary and unavoidable cost for many Kiwis, but there are ways you could be able to reduce your premiums. Canstar explores some options to consider.

The cost of insuring your home and its contents can vary considerably based on factors including where in the country you live, the materials used to build your home and the value of its contents. But there are many other factors providers take into account when pricing their policies, some of which you may be able to use to your advantage to pay less.

Here are eight tips to help you save on home and contents insurance:

1. Increase your excess

A home insurance excess is the amount you agree to pay to your insurance provider if you have a claim approved. Many providers give customers the option to choose how much of an excess they will pay, and you may be able to save on your premium by increasing your excess.

It’s important to note that if you do this you’ll face higher costs if you end up needing to make a claim.

2. Buy online

Many home insurance providers offer a discount to customers who buy a policy online rather than over the phone or in person. If you’re comfortable buying online, providers offering a discount typically snip a little off the cost of your policy.

3. Take advantage of a multi-policy discount

With some providers, if you buy more than one policy (e.g. home and contents cover, plus car insurance), you could get a discount on one or all of the policies, compared to the cost of buying the policies separately. This requires a degree of caution, however, as you need to make sure that buying the policies from the same provider makes sense overall. For example, it may still work out cheaper to pay full price for the policies with separate providers.

It’s also important that each of the policies is suitable for your situation and you aren’t sacrificing the level of protection you’re getting, or adding cover you don’t need, just to get what might be a relatively small discount.

4. Increase home security

When you’re applying for a home and contents insurance quote, some insurance providers ask about the security features at your home, such as burglar alarms, security screens on windows and the kinds of locks on the doors. Taking steps to boost security could mean reduced premiums, as your insurer will see your home as being at less risk of a break-in, and you at less risk of making a claim.

Not all insurance providers necessarily offer discounts based on home security features, so check what you’re likely to save before going ahead with potentially expensive additions to your home’s security.

5. Shop around for a better deal

Another major factor that will determine the cost of your home and contents insurance policy is which provider you choose. If you’re applying for cover, consider getting quotes from a few providers so you can compare costs. And if it’s time to renew your policy, it could be a good opportunity to take a look at what other options are out there that could represent better value for money. Canstar’s Home and Contents Insurance Star Ratings are designed to help consumers shop around based on an expert assessment of a wide range of policies. This could be a good place to start.

Be sure to pay close attention to the inclusions, exclusion, limits, as well as any other terms and conditions of the new policy before you switch. Be sure to ask any necessary questions, and to read over the policy documents carefully.

6. Pay your premiums annually

If it suits your budget, you could save money with some providers by paying your annual home and contents insurance bill in one go, rather than in monthly instalments. Be sure to check what the provider’s policies are for what happens if you have paid for a year’s worth of cover in one go but need to cancel the policy early.

7. Avoid extras you don’t need

When buying insurance, focus on what you need.

When you’re buying a policy, chances are you’ll be offered some bells and whistles on top of the standard level of cover, in return for paying a higher premium. Common examples include cover for the loss of hearing aids or glasses, and for accidental damage to mobile phones and laptops. Think carefully about whether these add-ons are going to be worth the extra cost.

8. Review your policy regularly

If you’ve found a policy that ticks the boxes for the level of cover you need, and is also friendly on your wallet, it’s still important to review it regularly to make sure it matches your circumstances.

If there have been changes, you should inform your provider. But doing this could mean the cost of your premiums change, too. For example, if you have moved home, upgraded your home’s security, or recalculated the value of your home’s contents, your premium could be impacted. But not all changes will result in a premium decrease.

And if your provider informs you that your premiums are increasing, it may be time to look at step five again.

About the author of this page

This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Caitlin Bingham. Caitlin is an experienced writer whose passion for creativity led her to study communication and journalism. She began her career freelancing as a Search Engine Optimiser, before joining the Canstar team.

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