Friday, 14 September 2012

How do you get the best insurance deal for you?

If you own a car, you are required by law to have motor insurance in place. If you want a mortgage, the lender will expect you to have buildings cover in place. As with most things in life, when it comes to insurance, you get what you pay for. It's important to compare what's covered by your policy, and not to just focus on the price.

We all need insurance. If you own a car then you have to have motor insurance in place. If you want a mortgage, the lender will expect you to have buildings cover in place. If you have a house full of valuable possessions it would be naive not to have an insurance policy in place to cover them in the event of theft or damage.
When the subject of buying a policy is discussed, much of the focus is on cost. Most television adverts from insurance providers boast about discounts and undercutting their rivals. It is a strategy that works and that will win over many people. After all, given the economic downturn, most households are feeling the pinch and every penny saved can make a difference.
It is why comparison websites – claiming that they can shave hundreds of pounds off your insurance premiums – have thrived over the past few years. A decade ago there was just one comparison website – today there are more than 20 – and they are rarely off our TV screens. One has even made a meerkat an icon.
There is no escaping that such online sites have revolutionised the way we buy financial products. Let’s face it, shopping around for the best deal, used to be a real pain – if you had the time or the inclination, that is. The power of internet has changed all that. Consumers can now simply tap in their details and the sites trawl the web to find the most competitive quotes.
But this “one-size-fits-all’’ form may not tally with each insurer’s own underwriting process, so the premium could change when you apply for cover.
The sites are also not surveying the entire market, several insurers have deliberately removed themselves from being compared with rivals and are not included on these sites. So the best price on a website might not be the very best deal available.
What’s more the cheapest product will invariably have the most restricted cover and could be with a company you’ve never heard of. Of course, buying a product from a high-street name is no guarantee of value for money, good customer service and transparent terms and conditions.
You may get to “set” this excess you want to pay, but this is just the voluntary excess. So if you stick in £250, a search for motor cover will find policies with a compulsory excess of £300 – meaning the actual amount you’d pay in a claim is £550.
In April of this year, Ed Harley, The FSA’s head of financial promotions said: “Consumers should shop around for the best deal, but it is important that they compare what’s covered by a policy, and not just focus on the price.”
Indeed, you shouldn’t rule out specialist insurance brokers who can tailor policies to suit your needs. For example, many people underestimate their content cover, while in some circumstances the standard cover offered might be too much – and it makes sense not to pay more for what you actually need. Do you want cover for flood and storm damage? If you do, be aware that not all policies include such cover as standard.
There is an adage that in life you get what you pay for – and it goes for insurance too. If you simply decide to opt for the cheapest policy there is a greater chance that your policy claim will be rejected because of its limitations. And that might prove more costly.
Compare quality cover from leading insurers with the Telegraph’s new insurance service. Designed especially for readers, the home insurance and car insurance policies come with generous levels of cover:
  • Legal expenses cover
  • Key care – to protect against lost or stolen keys
  • Flood and storm damage - included in home insurance
  • Rebuild cost calculator to make sure you are adequately covered by your home insurance
  • Up to £2,500 Personal injury - included in comprehensive car insurance
To celebrate the launch of this service, we have 100 free home emergency policies worth £69.95 to give away when you buy your home insurance, and 100 free breakdown policies to add to your car insurance policy. Call 0800 496 1797 for a quote and give the reference “TM100” to claim the offer.

Terms and conditions: The free cover offers only applies to the first year of your policy and is available on a first come first served basis. The free Home emergency cover is only available when purchasing a buildings and contents combined home insurance policy and the free breakdown cover is only available when purchasing a comprehensive car insurance policy. It cannot be used with any other offer. The offer is non-transferable and no cash alternative can be offered. Lines are open 8am-8.30pm Monday to Friday and Saturday 9am-6pm. Telegraph Insurance is arranged and administered by Heath Lambert Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Registered office: 133 Houndsditch, London EC3A 7AH. Registered No 1199129. Telegraph Media Group is an introducer appointed representative of Heath Lambert Limited. Telegraph Media Group is not part of Heath Lambert Limited. Calls may be recorded.

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